I’d like to believe that the recent uncovering of Bob McDonnell’s graduate thesis was a smart act of investigative sleuthing, if only because watching people shoot themselves in the foot this badly makes me squirm. But it wasn’t. How did the Washington Post get their hands on the thesis that has likely ruined McDonnell’s political career in one day? He simply told them about it. OOPS.
In an online forum earlier this afternoon, WaPo reporter Anita Kumar had this to say when asked how the paper found out about McDonnell’s decades old thesis:
We recently obtained the thesis. Bob McDonnell mentioned the thesis a couple weeks ago when we were interviewing him for another story. We then went to find it. As we indicated in the story, it is available at the Regent library and has likely been there for 20 years. We did not wait to publish the story until Labor Day. We published the story after we finished our reporting, which included receiving comments from his campaign.
In my mind, this reveal negates his “It was 20 years ago” excuse. Why openly bring up something you think is dated and inaccurately reflects your current political views with members of the press? It’s like exposing yourself to a cop, and then acting shocked when your picture ends up in the paper.
Photograph of Bob McDonnell’s signature on his master’s thesis is a screenshot.