When the story of the hit and run charge against Troy Farlow emerged, I was contacted by the Farlow campaign. The result of that contact was this post. I’ve known Troy for a while but I treat information fed to me by campaigns (all of them) with a hefty dose of skepticism. Even after the post, I continued to question whether this was the whole story and was assured that it was.To err is human, to retract is being a responsible journalist or blogger. Since I too launched a vigorous defense of Farlow, I am also going to apologize to any of my readers whom I misled. And to Vince at Too Conservative. My one plea to him is that next time he gets a story, please, please source it properly and write a fully fleshed out account. You’d be surprised how much benefit of the doubt we’ll give to a fellow blogger, regardless of which side of the aisle he's on, if his reporting is convincing. Unfortunately, Vince gave a sketchy report, with an inflammatory headline, that was short on facts and long on innuendo. It looked more like a hit piece than a factual description of events. But I’ll give Vince the benefit of the doubt. In the rush to get a story out and with a million competing priorities, it’s easy to report in shorthand and think others will be able to fill in the blanks. But we can’t. Anyway, I am sorry for doubting his integrity in my own rush to judgment.
Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am committed to telling the truth and letting the chips fall where they may. I get information from campaigns all the time and almost none of it ends up on this blog. I’m not into innuendo and gossip. In this case, I reported the “truth” as it was told to me. It appears that it just wasn’t the whole truth.
For that, I apologize to my readers.
And as this newspaper account, from the Daily Press shows, that judgment was wrong:
Democratic House of Delegates candidate Troy Farlow omitted a crucial element when he described his role in a 1999 hit-and-run case, according to the Virginia State Police.Farlow told the Daily Press last week that after having a "crisis of conscience," he went to authorities and turned in his father, who had driven away from the scene of a collision four years earlier. But Corinne Geller, a Richmond-based spokeswoman for the state police, told the Daily Press Tuesday that Farlow did not approach them until after a felony warrant had been issued for his arrest. In addition, a source directly involved in the investigation told the Daily Press that the state police had contacted Farlow repeatedly seeking his cooperation before obtaining the arrest warrant.I can’t say I share Vivian’s outrage, though. I’m just sad at the turn of events. But there’s one important difference between me and Vivian. Unlike her, I’ve never met or spoken to Troy Farlow, so I can’t share her very justifiable anger at having been personally misled. I based my post solely on evidence from an earlier newspaper account in the Virginia Gazette, which seemed to support my belief that Troy was a conflicted young man who was simply the passenger in a car when his father hit somebody else and fled the scene. I believed that Troy wrestled with his conscience and eventually turned himself in because he was committed to doing the right thing.
Based on that, I concluded that he deserved a second chance. I believe everybody deserves second and even a third chance. The catch is they need to prove their integrity by coming clean and getting the entire story out, admitting their culpability and apologizing. And then going on to show they’ve turned their life around. Even if Troy had come forward only after he realized he would be caught anyway, if in the eight years that followed, after paying his fine and making amends, he had proved to have a sterling character, I’d say it was time to drop the incident and let him move on.
But the fact that he is still dissembling and still misleading even would be allies, like Vivian, leaves me with doubts about his character. I think both Republicans and Democrats can disagree on a lot of issues but all of us are united in wanting candidates who are honest, have good character and are committed to the public good.
And like Vivian, I am sorry for anything I did to mislead people. And for shooting a messenger whose message I disliked.