Bearing Drift Suspends Willie Deutsch For Inaccurate McDonnell Resignation Claims


As promised:

Bearing Drift owes it’s readers two things: (1) an unvarnished and truthful opinion about the facts of the day that (2) does not create context that does not exist.  When Bearing Drift’s reputation — and that of its editors and contributors — is borrowed or stolen to that end, Bearing Drift as a community has been swift to punish and preserve.  Count on it.

We take a great deal of pride in assiduously maintaining the reputation of Bearing Drift, because at the end of the day, our individual reputations — rightly or wrongly — are bound with Bearing Drift as a news source.  When that platform is borrowed or stolen to drive home a point:

The man (sic) who pushed out the RPV chairman (sic)  over trumped up corruption charges while running for governor is currently in the middle of finalizing a plea agreement which includes his resignation as governor.  More to come soon.

Action must be taken.  Therefore, the editors of Bearing Drift have decided to suspend Willie Deutsch as a contributor.

While we can credit Mr. Deutsch with exposing a long-standing rumor that had been circulating for a number of weeks, the allegation was made that Governor McDonnell would resign by July 8th.  This was stretched into the 11th, and finally a week later on Monday, July 15th — with no announcement.

The ethics scandal is bad enough without false news of impending resignations.  Such information being bandied about is worthy of lesser platforms.  What’s worse, as “the source” Mr. Deutsch offered is — as of today — (1) unknown to the Bearing Drift board, (2) has a deep and abiding interest in doing Governor McDonnell harm, and (3) apparently has no small amount of schadenfreude stemming from the ouster of disgraced former RPV chairman Jeff Frederick, this leaves a reasonable observer to conclude that Mr. Deutsch was fed a story based on rumors, innuendo, and an incorrect claim of an impending resignation that never materialized.

While the editors here stood by the story — and indeed, there was a story — the trust between this particular contributor and Bearing Drift was clearly demonstrated to be a one-way street.  In short, our audience and reputations were hijacked by an anonymous source, who gave a story to Mr. Deutsch in the hopes he would publish it without question.

To us, that is unacceptable.

Some will wrongly argue that this now somehow improves McDonnell’s situation.  It does not.  Divorced completely from the ethics scandal Governor McDonnell has embroiled himself in with regards to Star Scientific, Mr. Deutsch’s sources and associates may be guilty of bush-league rumor mongering indeed.  But it does not absolve nor does it bail out McDonnell’s ethical lapses one iota.  McDonnell deserves the scrutiny he has earned today, and frankly, it is no small wonder why another blogger or media outlet had not printed the rumors sooner.

Bearing Drift places a great deal of trust into our contributors to get the story and get it right, and to do so with integrity.  When that trust is violated, the entire system we have so carefully built and maintained here breaks down.  That trust — and our reputations — are worth much more than cheap hits on a Saturday night.

  • Chris B


  • Frank Joyner

    “Despite our best efforts to vindicate our prediction, we couldn’t get Bob McDonnell to resign. We have therefore given the original rumor-monger some time in the penalty box.”

    • Most of us don’t want Bob McDonnell to resign.

      • Paul Blair

        The damage he’s doing to the VA Republican party brand is pretty disheartening, though I’d agree the choice to resign in his final months is his and his alone.

        • MD Russ

          The real damage being inflicted on the RPVA is the liberal rabble-rousing enabled by the Tea Party Trash who want to punish any and all Republicans who vote for a responsible tax plan to fund necessary infrastructure.

          • Paul Blair

            Making it more expensive to drive to work so that more people can take AMTRAK – yes, that certainly is one things that hurts the Republican brand.

          • MD Russ

            Is it more expensive to drive to work if you can get there sooner, wasting less time and gas?

          • Paul Blair

            Sure, let me know when that happens. I won’t hold my breath.

          • Phil Tran

            I am a business man tethered to my books and computer. I can’t work when I drive. I can read, work on my mobile devices, and bill clients when I am commuting on the train or bus. So yes, it IS more expensive to drive even if there is less traffic.

            I would rather take public transportation for 45 minutes instead of drive for 30 minutes because I can work during the 45 minutes on public transportation. I can’t hustle and chase the American Dream when driving prohibits me from working at the same time.

            I have not always been a strong proponent for public transportation, but my business experiences have opened my eyes to the economic necessity of smart growth, New Urbanism, and transit-oriented development for a new generation of mobile entrepreneurs.

            I want to abolish the income tax, cut red tape and onerous regulations, reform land use policies to discourage car-dependent suburban sprawl, and expand and encourage public transportation. Marinate on that combination of political views for a while.

          • Eric McGrane

            land use policies = strip land owners of their property rights, because the government knows better what to do your land, and gosh darnit, its ALL really the govts land anyway.

          • Fauquier Freedom Boner

            Government should not tell anyone what to do with their property. Except if you are a woman and you consider the human body “property.”

          • Phil Tran

            Yes, I would like to break it to you that your land really is the government’s land. Government policies purposefully limit what you can do on your land for various reasons. Many times, the government restricts the “highest and best possible use of land” to appease community desires and neighborhood continuity. You might own your land, but you can’t build a factory in a residential area and you can’t build a farm in downtown DC. Your property rights are not absolute.

            Let us say for example that I want to build a scenic mid-rise, mixed-use development on the Occoquan River in Clifton, VA on five acres I own in fee simple. My market research tells me that I can profit greatly from this venture. However, Clifton has been downzoned to “preserve its rural character.” I can’t build my mid-rise, mixed-use development to create wealth, create jobs, and generate revenue. The government just stripped me of my “property rights” through downzoning to protect rural areas.

            Some people cite Houston, TX as an example of a city that can flourish without zoning laws. As a person who went to school for a time in Houston, I can tell you that I have seen strip clubs located near churches. Maybe that is what you want because you want to cut your commute between your Saturday night and Sunday morning?

          • Eric McGrane

            I have no problems with land being properly zoned prior to property ownership. In that scenario, you knowingly buy into that situation. I’m talking about regulations being crammed down after you’ve purchased the land and rezoning.

          • billbo_66

            Paul I take it you’ve never lived in an area with a viable public transit system. When I lived in Europe I never drove a car. Didn’t need it. The train went everywhere you needed to go, One might need a bus or taxi to get to the train but in the long run it was cheaper then owning a car. Look at it this way, 300$ mo car payment, 100$ mo insurance, 100$ mo in gas(if your really lucky) oil changes, tires, Misc. So yes Public transit makes sense.

          • Paul Blair

            I currently live in DC, so you’re wrong on both fronts.

          • Eric McGrane

            lol ^^^

  • Daniel Cortez

    Responsible actions by Bearing Drift for irresponsible actions by a hack with little credibility to begin with.

  • Bob Wilson

    …as if Shaun Kenney, the soon to be former chairman of the Fluvanna board of supervisors (for good reason) has any integrity himself to speak of. Gotta love hypocrites!

    • Not Ralph Northam

      For good reason? You mean because he’s not running again? That’s a pretty good reason to be former…

    • …says the guy working for GXS.

      • EisenhowerGOPikegop

        Well said, Shaun.

  • A 57 word, hastily drafted, unnamed sourced post containing a “long-standing rumor” has severely damaged the reputation of this outlet. The contributor should have been suspended after demands for identification of the two people independently verifying the story were left unanswered. (If Mr. Deutsch was never asked, that is a much bigger problem). And no, Mr. Deutsch, if McDonnell resigns, even today, you have not been vindicated.

    It is important to note that it is only the severity of the repercussions of the rumor that landed Mr. Deutsch in hot water. Had this been a local official, I doubt it would receive any scrutiny. Nonetheless, if BD wants to be a news source, and not merely a rumor mill, verifiable sources will have to be provided in even less high profile coverage.

  • MD Russ

    Shazam. You guys must have some fascinating staff meetings.

    • They are loud.

      • MD Russ

        I wasn’t talking about Kirwin.

        • MD Russ

          Damn. Someone down-voted my comment? Kirwin has friends? Who’da thought it?

  • EisenhowerGOPikegop

    It was evident that the author of the post had an axe to grind with Governor McDonnell. Its time to move on from 2009…

  • Jake Garret

    You can’t effectively report or blog the news when you end up being the news.

  • Willie is a good man and has contributed a great deal to Bearing
    Drift. Most of us in the political blogging loop hear a lot of things.
    We get “tips” by email, word of mouth or from those we know and trust.
    And there is a fine line we all try not to cross. I have written words
    to the effect that it looks to be a race against time whether Bob
    McDonnell completes his term or not. The events surrounding McDonnell
    are overwhelmingly bad.

    I , too, heard the rumors. A lot of
    people did. And the fact that Bearing Drift waited for the dates to pass
    is proof positive that these were not wild accusations, but entirely
    within the realm of possibility. Even probability.

    And truth be
    told, it is most likely in the best interest of his party for him to
    step aside and I am sure there is a good bit of pressure within the GOP
    on Bob to go. Privately.

    And unless you are a Democrat, there is
    no recovery from the things the McDonnell’s have been accused of doing.
    And it is a double standard. We all know that.

    But I believe that
    Bearing Drift made the right move in suspending Willie, but the
    Integrity of Bearing Drift has never been a question in my mind.
    Newspapers simply print a retraction and TV news apologizes for the
    error. But often, the Mainstream Media intentionally puts out bad
    information to sell papers or ads. Or to drive the narrative.

    That is simply not the case with Bearing Drift or Willie Deutsch.

    I have always endorsed Bearing Drift as a reputable source of news for Virginia. And I trust their reporting.

    They made a boo-boo. They corrected it appropriately. Journalism is still alive and well at Bearing Drift.

    And yep. They’re human after all. And I’m still a reader.

    Tom White, Editor

    Virginia Right!

    • Thank, Tom.

    • Much thanks, Tom.

    • williedeutsch

      Appreciate the support Tom.

      • billbo_66

        Willy I defended you too, You didn’t thank me. You to good to thank a democrat? LOL…..Really Willy you all purge the nuts in the GOP you should be ok in a few yrs, However you guys really need to silence the loons. We try not to allow our loons positions above activists.

    • Constitutional_Reset

      There is a way that is best for VA, best for the VaRP and best for Bob McDonnell.

      Improbity that skirts the laws is WORSE for all than a guilty conviction because the matter would be ended by a conviction and as I quote Cicero:

      1) “Knowledge which is divorced from justice, may be called cunning rather than wisdom.” and
      2) “What is permissible is not always honorable.” which brings McDonnell to
      3) “Take from a man his reputation for probity, and the more shrewd and clever he is, the more hated and mistrusted he becomes.”

      This series of large unreported gifts are initiating a storm of HATE for McDonnell. It is a hate that energizes non-republican activist and dispirits Republican activists.
      If not quenched this hate will cause Republicans to damn the memory of McDonnell. And the hate storm will bring up other matters for which McDonnell may justly be tried and convicted – McDonnell could easily end up leaving the governorship without his honor, his retirement, and his freedom.

      Instead Gov. McDonnell could declare his disability to our Lt. Gov. Bolling so as to be pardoned and restored under the virtue of McDonnell’s parole
      oath – a parole oath that penitently addresses the customary and particular VA18.2-482, VA18.2-481(3 & 5) felonies of EVERY member of the VA judiciary, meaning EVERY member of the VA bar which includes ALL federal judges in VA.( w/ 10th Amendment consequences )

      Such an action would begin a gentle, orderly and unstoppable cascade of
      ‘Constitutional Reset’ wherein

      1) the Constitutional basis of our governments are restored,
      2) the causes for alienation and sin in VA to naturally expire at a dramatic rate which will increase our liberty, prosperity and felicity at an equally dramatic rate,
      3) legislation will no longer be viewed as a substitute for justice,
      4) law suites will no longer be viewed as a substitute for good, clean, honorable business practices,
      5) the honor due Virginia among the states will cause large corporations
      to flock to Virginia, bringing their headquarter with them, so that those corporation may benefit from the large reduction in government
      induced business risk – a risk reduction brought by and sheltered
      by the strength of Virginia’s citizens

      In this fashion McDonnell could leave the Governorship with
      his honor cleansed and strengthened,
      his retirement intact, and
      his freedom enhanced by the respect of the people and their corporations -who now would be pleased to have McDonnell on their board of directors.

      To achieve this McDonnell must only do what is necessary to purge HIMSELF of his customary felony and other wrong doing. This is easily done.

  • Wally Erb

    Interesting use of the word “integrity”. For a concerting organization, especially one which has contributors who provide their acts of beneficence pro gratis, one would expect a modicum of loyalty. Yet Bearing Drift chooses to irreverently ostracize one of their own by publicly announcing his dismissal. Disavowing Bearing Drift’s editorial credibility consensus is well within the organizational parameters; however, the dissemination an individual’s dismissal for his act is not only in poor taste and dishonorable, but displays inferior leadership.

    • No, it doesn’t. Had we silently let him go, we would have been called cowards and the accusation would be that we were trying to sweep the whole situation under the rug.

      We gave far more than a modicum of loyalty to Willie. But we must also be loyal to our readers and we owe it to them to admit when we are wrong. The story we reported was inaccurate in its primary fact. When an organization gets something that big that wrong, there has to be consequences.

      • Fauquier Freedom Boner

        Is it a suspension or did he get utterly shit canned? And btw, is Deutsch a German surname?

      • Daniel Cortez

        Accurate Brian….Willie’s actions is indicative sadly of modern day hacks who have forgotten the old time principles of journalism in an effort to promote social justice.

  • James Young

    I agree with this response, much though I share the distaste of many for McDonnell’s actions against Jeff Frederick. And I may not know much about journalism — my experience with newspapers has always been as an opinion columnist — but I am unfamiliar with any journalistic standard by which someone reporting on news can hide his source or sources from ANY editorial control or oversight, however minimal.

  • reluctant activist

    Gosh you folks are awfully snarky with one another.

  • Rural Conservative

    A lot of folks in the GOP are giving the state’s leader a pass. WD is not the one to be chided for wreckless decisions that continue to hit the press daily. Who with a moral compass would ask for rent payments from a paid appointee? And the Kennys have never reported information with rumors as their “reliable source”?

  • Guest

    McDonnell Is hiring MORE lawyers. Willie could still be right, Just late. Im a liberal that reads this blog. Main reason is your lack of crazy-ass teapariers. If you bring in new writers that are nuttier then a almond joy, you guys going to lose readers. Willies not a fruitloop keep him around

  • billbo_66

    McDonnell Is hiring MORE lawyers. Willie could still be right, Just late. I’m a Blue-Dog Democrat that reads this blog. Main reason is your lack of crazy-ass teapartiers. If you bring in new writers that are nuttier then an Almond Joy, you guys are going to lose readers. Willies not a fruit-loop keep him around.

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