Whenever I want hyperbole, I turn to Greg Palast. This means I don’t turn to Greg Palast very often, but I run into him on a regular basis through the newsletter he somehow keeps shoving into my e-mail inbox. Along with information I feel the need to verify elsewhere because it’s occasionally incorrect, each newsletter features a list of accolades describing Greg Palast right at the top. Tonight’s accolade for my e-mail inbox can be also found online at gregpalast.com:
“Greg Palast is the most important investigative reporter of our time.” – The Guardian
Wow. The Guardian says that about Greg Palast? That’s a pretty impressive endorsement, isn’t it? I wanted to read the rest of what The Guardian has to say about Greg Palast, in context, so I hit google, guardian.co.uk, and my library’s newsbank (which carries the full text of The Guardian going back all the way to 1992). According to these three searches, there are only two places in which The Guardian carries the text “most important investigative reporter of our time.” One is a 2006 blog post by Guardian contributor Jon Henley mocking Palast for using the phrase before Henley questions the veracity of a claim made by Palast about NY Times ex-columnist Thomas Friedman’s underwear habits. The other is the profile page for Palast (a sometime contributor to the Guardian), which says this:
Greg Palast is an investigator of corporate fraud and racketeering turned journalist. Tribune magazine called him “the most important investigative reporter of our time” and he is best known in his native USA for his investigative work on how thousands of black people were not able to vote in the Florida ballot at the 2000 election in which George Bush was elected president.
That’s not The Guardian saying “Greg Palast is the most important investigative reporter of our time.” That’s The Guardian saying that Tribune magazine said that about Greg Palast, which means something quite different, not least because The Guardian and Tribune magazine are different. The Guardian may have some left-leaning editorial tendencies, but it is primarily a fact-based newspaper. Tribune magazine reports facts but is at its heart a left-leaning political journal with the goal of agitating for a left-leaning political platform. I can see why Greg Palast would rather have the Guardian quoted as declaring this, but it just isn’t so.
And yes, in case you were wondering, I have had trouble finding any reference by Tribune magazine to Greg Palast being the “most important investigative reporter of our time.” If you can find the original source for that quote, I’d appreciate a note about it in the comments here.
This sort of thing reminds me to look for a second source to confirm whenever I see Greg Palast making a controversial claim. It’s why we should look for a second source when any journalist or writer makes a strong claim. Yes, we writers at Irregular Times are included in that set.