On the heels of ABC's "GOP Leadership Talking Points" scandal, ABC's Chicago affiliate stepped in it when trying to make hay out of an innocuous, polite comment by retiring Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL).
During a wide-ranging interview in which Hyde and reporter Andy Shaw discussed Hyde's long career in Congress that will end next year, Shaw asked if the Clinton impeachment was "pay back" for Nixon.
What Rep. Hyde did not say was "You idiot, why would you ask such a stupid question? Some people may have thought that, but in Congress we just went on the facts of the case."
Instead he politely replied "I can't say it wasn't, but I also thought that the Republican party should stand for something, and if we walked away from this, no matter how difficult, we could be accused of shirking our duty, our responsibility."
In this way, Hyde made his best effort to diffuse that part of the conversation, ignoring the stupid question and allowing the interviewer to get back on track.
The funny thing is that the ABC7 Chicago website had a headline this morning that blared "Clinton Impeachment Was Retaliation For Nixon, Says Retiring Congressman." This was, of course, completely untrue.
At some point today, they pulled down the story, according to the Drudge Report. Now it is back up with the story re-written and the headline changed to "Rep. Hyde Reflects on 30 Years of Office."
I guess they were hoping no one would notice their effort to turn bad journalism into an embarrassment for a Republican.