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Clint Dempsey “linked” to Manchester United? Let me show you how that works

Britain Soccer Premier League

Fulham’s Clint Dempsey acknowledges the fans after the final whistle during the English Premier League soccer match against Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton, England, Saturday April 7, 2012. Fulham won the match 3-0. (AP Photo/PA, Martin Rickett) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE

AP

One of my favorite lines from Stephen Colbert has the Comedy Central parody king sitting across from a congressman. Colbert begins one query: “Now, you’ve been linked to big cuts in educational spending and …”

The congressman looks baffled and says, “Wait a minute, I haven’t been linked to those cuts...”

At which point Colbert says dismissively, “Well, I just did … so let’s move on.”

See, that’s how my business works too often, for better or worse. All it takes to be “linked” is for someone with microphone or a URL and a logon to make the first move. See? Then, everybody else with a microphone, or a URL and a logon can gleefully glom on, piggy-backing on the original “link” – never mind if there’s any actual substance to it.

So, when it comes to Clint Demspey and a summer transfer, expect it be a high “linked to” zone.

In a better world, none of us would play along. We would require corroboration or substantiation from one or, even better, two sources. But we’re clearly past such a quaint notion now.

I have yet to see anyone attribute any alleged Manchester United interest in Dempsey. Nor have I seen attribution to the £10m (about $16 million) transfer fee speculation that seems to have materialized out of nowhere.

But it’s out there. From a respected outlet, no less, in The Guardian.

At least they label it under “Football Transfer Rumours.”