They actually pay reporters to do this and call it journalism
Here is the ultimate example of the Village kewl kidz indulging themselves in a little bit of public masturbation:
The evidence suggests that until Obama had access to a shooting range as president, he never went skeet shooting. He certainly did not speak like a politician who had once used a firearm.
But it is also curious that the White House refuses to provide any documentary evidence that he actually used the shooting range at Camp David, since he claims he uses it “all the time,” or that a presidential friend has not come forward to confirm the president’s comments.
We live in suspicious times and the president lives in a media fishbowl. That’s the way it is. In the meantime, we do not have enough information to make a ruling one way or the other. We are eager to see a photograph, or hear from someone who saw him at the skeet range, to put this matter to rest.
Unfortunately, not even this photo was not enough to put the matter to rest:
The White House released this photograph of the president at the Camp David skeet range on Aug. 4, 2010. We are pleased the White House has become more forthcoming about this matter, though it does not quite answer the questions concerning the president’s “all the time” language. What do readers think? (Also, given some of the controversy this column generated, we refer you to a negative critique that appeared on Mediaite, which certainly reflects the views of a number of readers who are upset that we thought this was even an issue.)
That's because it's ridiculous. The president says he goes skeet shooting at Camp David. The White House produced a photograph. The end.
But that isn't really the end of it, naturally:
UPDATE: A reader notes that because Obama said he does skeet shooting “all the time,” perhaps our standard of proof should be higher--such as several photographs. That’s a reasonable point. We have also been asked why we did not immediately award Pinocchios, such as when Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made unproven claims about Mitt Romney’s taxes. We try to avoid using “verdict pending,” but in cases of self-aggrandizement, we are willing to be a bit more patient. Obviously, if the White House is not forthcoming with additional evidence, then the claim becomes increasingly doubtful.
For those of you who weren't following politics in the 90s, this is the utter bullshit we were all complaining about. Petty, manufactured "scandals" were constant, with the press taking it upon themselves to act as arbiters of the president's "integrity" by parsing his every word about inconsequential matters and pronouncing him dishonest when he was unable to demonstrate the veracity of his claim in ways that satisfied the Mean Girls. There have been many examples of media perfidy since then, but this is the first time I've seen this particular form of kewl kidz journalism in quite some time. God help us if they've decided to dust off their old school uniforms for the second term.
To fully understand just what a snotty, middle school "reporting" style this is, you have to look at the original pictures Kessler posted:
On Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said he did know how often the president has gone skeet shooting and that he has not seen a photograph. “When he goes to Camp David, he goes to spend time with his family and friends and relax, not to produce photographs,” Carney told reporters.
Of course, this did not stop the White House from releasing these photographs in 2011. (Obama is shown at Sasha Obama’s birthday party at Camp David; the second was taken the same weekend of Vice President Biden, but that is not at Camp David)
I'm sure they all snickered and snorted with delight when they came up with those.