The Hill: Never mind about that momentum story

On Saturday, The Hill reported that momentum in the budget battle had shifted to the Democrats, in an odd and thinly-sourced story.  The article cited “political experts” twice as the source of claims such as these:

Momentum in the partisan messaging battle over who’s to blame if the government shuts down has shifted in recent weeks to favor Democrats, according to political experts. …

Political experts say the outspoken role of the Tea Party will influence the blame game if there there’s a government shutdown.

Despite the use of plurals in both cases, the article only quotes one person in each instance to support the specific position.  The first time, Alexander Bolton quotes a professor of political science from Rutgers University offering nothing more substantial than a personal opinion.  The source of the second argument is a director from the Brookings Institution, a center-left think tank that is hardly objective when it comes to the Tea Party.  Their latest posting on the subject features a panel discussion on just how fascist the Tea Party might be.

Two days later, The Hill follows up with actual objective poll data that offers readers an Emily Litella moment:

A plurality of likely voters believes Republicans have been more reasonable than Democrats in the negotiations over spending cuts.

A new poll conducted for The Hill showed 41 percent polled said the GOP had been “more reasonable,” while 29 percent said Democrats had been more sensible. Twenty-two percent said neither party was more reasonable than the other, and 7 percent were not sure.

The message is clear: The Hill needs to find more intelligent “political experts.”