In my entire life, I have never seen a rumor mill as frenzied as this one regarding Attorney General Troy King has been in the last week. People I have not heard from in many months are calling and emailing to tell their version of the latest, or asking what I know. Like fireworks left over from last week, this rumor has exploded and lit up the state. Some of the blogs have run with it, there is interest on a national level, and it is all over. One friend told me his mostly apolitical neighbor had called to ask about it because the neighbor’s girlfriend had heard it on the tennis court. Alabamians who don’t even know who Troy King is are perking up.
The astonishing consideration from my perspective is how widespread this is relative to how thinly sourced it is. The information I have found in the best places I know to dig has been widely conflicting. In fact, the assertions I heard that have been made to this point that are most easily verifiable have shown not to be true: he’s resigning today, the Advertiser/Tuscaloosa News/other media will have a story tomorrow, he already resigned!, no the media story is actually coming tomorrow!, and so on. I hear adamant claims that one version is true, that another version is true, that it is all false, that it is 90% false, and so on.
Is this a case of where-there-is-smoke-there-is-fire? Or are we in an amplified feedback chamber where a kicked pebble quickly becomes a loud roar? While most of us are in no position to know, I think we can recognize that it is the sensationalism of the story that drives it rather than its demonstrable veracity to this point.