Another anonymously “sourced” Washington Prowler story implodes

Yesterday, my colleague Kate Conway pointed out that the American Spectator blog Washington Prowler had published another of their trademark anonymously “sourced” hit pieces on progressives, this time speculating why Colin Crowell -- a senior adviser to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski -- is leaving his position. Kate warned that readers should consider the Prowler's report skeptically due to the Prowler's past record, and it looks like she was right: their story is quickly unraveling.

According to the Prowler piece -- based on unnamed “sources,” “FCC staff,” and “speculation” from the “telecommunications industry” -- Crowell is leaving because Genachowski has decided not to regulate broadband networks, which would have “left Crowell's many friends on the extreme left very angry” and put Crowell “in an untenable position and unable to defend it, and thus forced to resign.”

Prowler's claim that Genachowski is planning to leave broadband unregulated was based on an anonymously-sourced May 3 Washington Post article that reported that Genachowski was “leaning toward” such a decision. And -- wouldn't you know it -- Prowler has “sources” saying that “Crowell or his allies may have been the sources for the Post piece.”

And then today's Wall Street Journal hit the newsstand, and the Prowler piece dissolved.

The Journal reported:

In a move that will stoke a battle over the future of the Internet, the federal government plans to propose regulating broadband lines under decades-old rules designed for traditional phone networks.

The decision, by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, is likely to trigger a vigorous lobbying battle, arraying big phone and cable companies and their allies on Capitol Hill against Silicon Valley giants and consumer advocates.

Breaking a deadlock within his agency, Mr. Genachowski is expected Thursday to outline his plan for regulating broadband lines. He wants to adopt “net neutrality” rules that require Internet providers like Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc. to treat all traffic equally, and not to slow or block access to websites.

Genachowski coming out in favor of regulating broadband pretty much annihilates Prowler's report that Crowell resigned because Genachowski was going to come out against regulating broadband, don't you think?

It's funny how, considering how good Prowler's “sources” are at the FCC, Prowler ended up getting blindsided by the Journal report. You'd think that at least one of the “sources” Prowler consulted on why Crowell was leaving would have been able to tell Prowler that Genachowski was not, in fact, about to come out against regulating broadband. Maybe Prowler and the “sources” had some sort of miscommunication?

As National Review's Jim Geraghty puts it, “Putting faith in a Prowler report requires caution and assessment of risk, much like handling flammable materials or giving up three draft picks to get Tim Tebow."