Scoop of the Year

Article excerpt

Byline: Howard Kurtz

David Corn gets a victory lap.

David Corn knew he had landed a big scoop last summer when he obtained a video--surreptitiously recorded at a fundraiser--of Mitt Romney deriding the "47 percent" of voters who "believe that they are victims" and feel "entitled" to government benefits. But it still stunned him how quickly the "47 percent" remarks came to dominate the presidential campaign. And he has a theory about that: "Who gets to go to a $50,000-a-plate dinner and hear a candidate speak candidly?" says the Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones magazine. "It had a voyeuristic side to it."

Corn, whose scoop was back in the news this week, when it was recognized with a George Polk Award for Political Reporting, is best known as a fiercely liberal MSNBC commentator, a mile-a-minute talker who can be relentless in ripping Republicans. But when we spoke the other day, he told me that he wants to be known above all as a reporter. "I have an almost naive belief that the best way to win an argument or improve the world is to put more truth out there," the 54-year-old explains. Corn says he tries to bring facts to the table when discussing, say, National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre on MSNBC--"not just yelling that I think he's a psychopath."

Mother Jones co-editor Clara Jeffery believes that Corn's secret is "manic energy and a real nose for a story. …