The strange scoop at Daily Caller

Call it … vaguely Shakespearean.  The Daily Caller’s Jonathan Strong reports today on a string of direct messages on Twitter from the account of Sarah Palin spokesperson Rebecca Mansour that is filled with the unguarded opinions of … Rebecca Mansour.  There’s no denying a certain voyeuristic intrigue of looking in someone else’s mailbox, but in the end, it’s hardly a journalistic scoop to find out that one of the top aides to one potential candidate doesn’t think much of the other candidates or those who criticize her boss.  The piece is almost literally filled with sound and fury that signifies … nothing at all:

A series of messages forwarded to The Daily Caller show a top aide to former Alaska Gov. and possible presidential candidate Sarah Palin mocking top political figures and even her boss’s own daughter, Bristol Palin.

Red State Editor-in-Chief and CNN contributor Erick Erickson is “a total douchebag,” wrote Palin speechwriter and domestic policy adviser Rebecca Mansour in a May 22, 2010, message. “Greasy dumb ass with a talent for self-promotion. He threw himself in at the Gov’s SC rally. Self-promotion.” (Erickson said South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley invited him to the rally).

Mitt Romney supporters are “wacky as hell,” Mansour wrote, but usually Romney’s presence online is just an “AstroTurf brigade.”

I guess this would be a scoop if Rebecca was running for the presidency.  Since she’s not, it’s more of an oversold “meh.”  Even the messages about Bristol Palin are less than advertised.  Mansour was responding at the time to the announcement that Bristol and Levi Johnston had decided to get married, an announcement that certainly caused heads to snap in more places than Palin Central.

Also, these messages were not intended for public consumption.  Whoever turned over these messages to Strong had Mansour’s trust, at least at one time.  I suspect that Mansour has learned a lesson about supposedly private communications in the political world, but that’s about the biggest news scoop in this story.  Otherwise, the messages themselves are little more than gossipy, transient thoughts.

I asked Jonathan Strong, whose work I normally like, to comment on the story, and he responded:

The messages reveal information about Palin’s political plans and interaction with other campaigns, and also show the judgement of one of her top aides, and by extension, Palin herself. They show a Palin aide leaking damaging information about an enemy in the media. They’re also of interest to readers, who can judge for themselves how well Palin is being served by her staff.

Well, having been around a few election cycles, I can attest that every campaign likes to push negative information about their opponents.  I’ve probably received a couple of those types of messages already this morning, and I’m sure I’ll get more by the end of the day, too.  “Leaking damaging information” is what they do.  Being shocked by that, or even considering it news, is approaching Captain Louis Renault territory.

Judgment, of course, is a different matter.  Clearly Mansour chose to trust the wrong person in this instance.  And if Rebecca was running for President or Congress, that might be a story.  This is only pertinent to whomever might consider Mansour for her next position.

Note: I want to add that I’ve been in contact with Rebecca for at least a couple of years and she has always handled communications professionally with me, for whatever that’s worth.

Update: Ben Smith at Politico reports that someone has been attempting to peddle these messages for a few months, although in the end, it appears that no money changed hands.