The Daily Caller exposes Jack Conway as a "serious, affable and kind of boring" college student

Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

The Daily Caller offers this morning a staggeringly lame gotcha attempt aimed at Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway. Reporter Jonathan Strong intimates that Conway is a hypocrite for highlighting Republican opponent Rand Paul's bizarre "Aqua Buddha" college stunt because Conway's Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at Duke "had its own share of notable moments while Conway was studying public policy in the late 1980s and early 1990s." But Stong's article is all about the comparatively tame antics of other members of Conway's fraternity, including some scandals that happened long after Conway graduated.

Strong begins the article by strongly suggesting that Conway has some college-era skeletons in his own closet:

When Democratic Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway started attacking his opponent for the Kentucky Senate seat, Republican Rand Paul, for college-aged hijinks that involved smoking pot and "praying" to a god named Aqua Buddha, Conway's old classmates took notice.

"Can you believe he opened that door?" classmates wondered in e-mail chains, regarding why Conway would have invited scrutiny on his college days.

The reason? Conway, in his undergrad years at work hard, play hard Duke University, was a member of the school's then-most exclusive fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), which had its own share of notable moments while Conway was studying public policy in the late 1980s and early 1990s, albeit of a very different sort than the NoZe Brotherhood, Paul's group.

But the "notable moments" Strong highlights either have nothing to do with Conway, or aren't even that "notable." He writes of a 37-year-old Texan who pledged Conway's frat by pretending to be a college-aged French aristocrat, the "garden variety" pledge "hazing" the frat engaged in, and the fact that SAE had a series of scandals between 1994 and 2002 (Conway graduated in 1991).

Strong also quotes a variety of people describing Conway as a boring, non-controversial college student:

The frat held a kegger every Thursday night. Its members sometimes smoked pot and snorted a little cocaine, but nobody could say whether Conway was part of that. "He kept his nose clean," a source said.

In interviews with around 25 classmates, Conway's peers painted him as a quiet leader -- serious, affable and kind of boring.

More than ten classmates repeated variations of the theme that Conway was a "nice guy." "He was a real nice guy, didn't have any enemies," said one. "He was somebody who was mature in his thinking and his demeanor...like the grown up in the room," said another.

Conway was a good basketball player and loved horse racing. He could name off the winners of the Kentucky Derby -- horse name, jockey and owner -- going back decades at a second's notice.

Few could remember anything very memorable about him.

"I don't think Jack's all that interesting of a person," said a classmate.

"He always looked perfect. He knew people would be looking up his college pics and what would bring him down. There were a few like that at Duke," said another.

This style of bait-and-switch reporting seems to be Strong's hallmark. Strong was the Daily Caller reporter who filed a seemingly endless series of articles on the "Journolist" email listserv -- articles that boasted sensationalist headlines and accusations but lacked any real evidence to back up their claims.

Person
Jonathan Strong
Show/Publication
The Daily Caller
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