NYT: We came across the Democrat-accessed Rubio traffic scoop "on our own," okay?

A likely story:

If you’re joining this Scandal of The Century already in progress, read Ed’s post for all the background, which includes an update on the Times‘ dubious denial.  Speaking of which, let’s examine it for a moment:

Times Washington bureau chief Carolyn Ryan denied that the information came from an outside source. “We came across this on our own,” she wrote. “Steve Eder and Kitty Bennett noticed it on Tuesday while looking into something else – it is almost all on line. Eder planned to do it for First Draft next week. On Wednesday, another reporter, Alan Rappeport, got wind that others were looking at the same thing. He mentioned it to Eder, so we decided to get it in now. We hired a document retrieval service in Florida and got copies of the paper records ourselves. They came back yesterday.”

It seems to have taken the Times several hours to come up with its response to questions first raised by the Washington Free Beacon; when they finally had their story straight, they shoveled it to Politico’s Dylan Byers, rather than the outlet that made the inquiry.  If that story sounds strangely familiar, it should.  The Free Beacon noted in its original story that Democratic oppo-research group American Bridge accessed the Rubios’ traffic records on May 26.  Last week.  Does the Times actually expect us to believe that their reporters just happened to dig up and print the exact same, obscure, frivolous Rubio “scoop” a few days later by pure coincidence?  C’mon.  Byers says he’s asked the paper to identify the Florida “document retrieval service” its reporters supposedly deputized in this matter, which might explain why none of the journalists’ names appear in access records (unlike American Bridge, I’ll remind you).  We should all be eager to hear the Times‘ answer, in light of this little wrinkle — also via the pesky Free Beacon team.  Uh oh:

Just one new record request, and it’s from American Bridge. Maybe the Times has been waiting to blow the lid off of this story since 2012? But that doesn’t jibe with the timeline described in the Times‘ statement. Perhaps the online record hasn’t been updated to reflect another entity seeking this information just yet?  Also recall Ms. Ryan’s assertion that one of her reporters “got wind” that “others” were also looking into Mr. and Mrs. Rubio’s traffic tickets since 1997.  This suggests that American Bridge was the latecomer to this party — even though they apparently ended up beating the Times to the actual evidence by several days.  Again, what are the odds of any of that being true?  Occam’s Razor would dictate that the New York Times and American Bridge colluded in some fashion on the discovery and publication of this (profoundly stupid) story.  That wouldn’t be a scandal unto itself; as others have noted, partisan operatives feed items to media sources all the time.  What makes this scenario interesting is the Times’ failure to disclose the (suspected) provenance of its reporting, and its subsequent insistence that Times reporters just happened to be chasing down the exact same red hot scoop at the exact same time as American Bridge’s hit squad.  Okay.  As we breathlessly await the Paper of Record’s latest clarification, please enjoy the #RubioCrimeSpree Twitter hashtag, enumerating additional unspeakable sins committed by the Florida Republican:

Even Team Marco is in on the act:

It’s almost entirely satire from conservatives, but a handful of liberals are taking it seriously, which is precious.

UPDATE – One piece of the Times’ story checks out: