The joy of politics

Another reason to avoid a political career:

On Feb. 1, a Virginia blogger named G.M. Heller posted an account of U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada on a Saturday shopping trip, being accosted in a McLean grocery store by a self-described Republican who harassed him about health care.

When the fellow didn’t get the answer he wanted from Reid, he started shouting to other shoppers, drawing attention to Reid’s identity and his role in health care legislation. The Republican kept dogging Reid’s route through the checkout line, where he continued heckling the senator. The crowd applauded, but the blog account did not make clear whether the applause was for Reid or for the lout.

In the next couple of days, a couple of dozen websites published their own accounts of the incident, all based on the single blog account. In some cases the Heller account was lifted whole. Conservative sites cheered the lack of manners, liberal sites defended Reid—though there was never any confirmation that the incident actually occurred. An inquiry to Reid’s office went unanswered.