Correction retracts entire story on Quist’s draft registration

Democratic candidate Rob Quist, shortly before his guitar was repossessed

Tomorrow is the last day to vote in Montana’s special election. That means opposition researchers have only 24 hours to reveal one more embarrassing detail about Rob Quist’s personal life on the internet. For a second it looked like the photo finish would go to Brent Scher, who published an item in the Washington Free Beacon today claiming that the National Archives had no record of Quist registering for the Selective Service. But it turns out Scher filed the records request wrong. I quote his correction:

After publication of this article, the Washington Free Beacon obtained a copy of Rob Quist’s Selective Service System registration card, which was filed on January 10, 1966, five days after Quist’s 18th birthday. The registration card was indeed held at the National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri, but could not be located for the below referenced records request because not enough information was initially supplied [emphasis added] to locate a record from Montana, where the registrations are organized by local board, according to an archive supervisor.

A-plus use of the passive voice in that second sentence, bro. It turns out no one could find Quist’s draft card because Sher asked for it wrong. This correction retracts the entire story. Instead of pulling the article, though, the Washington Free Beacon has left it up, but with the correction at the top saying none of it is true. It’s almost as though the Beacon were not a responsible news organization. It’s almost like it’s a propaganda site that was founded by a dark-money group and then spun off into a for-profit news venture.

Such outlets are everywhere, and they find no shortage of ethically flexible young people to write for them. You may remember Scher from this report that Quist had genital herpes, which cites his former urologist, whom the candidate sued for malpractice. Those are the kind of sweet moves you get when you use a PR flack instead of a reporter, but the downside is basic screwups like the one above. Kombat! Kids: Remember to tell the truth, or you won’t know if you’re becoming evil later.

Friday links! Correlation vs. causation edition

When you get right down to it, everything that happens happens because of everything else. Sure, I took the kettle off this morning because it was whistling, but I also did it because Dowager Empress Cixi’s resistance to reform slowed the pace of industrial development in China, leading to a 21st-century state where it’s still profitable for kids to make housewares. Of course, I wouldn’t have bought that kettle at Montana Target had I not gotten into grad school many years ago, caused in part by a story I wrote about a person born with his heart on the outside of his body. So thank you, Kids In the Hall, for this morning’s coffee. It’s not so much that correlation is not causation as everything is causation, and correlation is therefore not that special. Today is Friday, for some reason, and our link roundup is full of startling forces that may or may not determine the course of our future. It’s all in how you look at it. Plus some of it is in immutable truths that could easily kills us no matter what we believe, but those will only be discernible in retrospect. Won’t you look back with me?

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