Patterico's Pontifications


Why We Should Be Suspicious Of Mediaite

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 6:44 am

[Guest post by Lee Stranahan]

Somewhere in the #Weinergate story, some people at Mediaite –most notably Tommy Christopher – made a decision that it was their job to actually make up excuses for Rep. Weiner that even Weiner himself wasn’t making. This is not the job of a journalist, really – especially when you take the further step of actually picking on specific individuals. It’s one thing to ask questions and posit theories but Mediaite went way beyond this. The vague suggestions that Mediaite makes turn into full-throated crazy at sites like DailyKos.

And – Mediaite’s excuse factory has made some huge errors. For instance…

If this was in fact a hack, as Weiner claims, then it’s not unreasonable that the alleged hacker would do everything that he or she could do to make the individual look guilty, including retweeting the offending image, and then deleting it. Rep. Weiner is not just a progressive provocateur who has very few fans on the right, but he is also a very public figure with 45,000 Twitter followers. So it is perfectly reasonable to wonder why it would appear that his offending tweet was only retweeted once, by a Twitter user who goes by the handle @patriotusa76:

Sure it’s reasonable – and you’d think with their resources that they would have gotten the answer right.

Weiner’s 45k followers didn’t see the tweet because of the way Twitter works. When you send a ‘mention’ – putting another person @ handle in front, the only people to see that on their timeline are people who follow BOTH parties. It’s explained here.

So rather than 45,000 followers seeing it, it would have been whoever followed BOTH @RepWeiner and Gennette Cordvoa –this number might have been a handful of people. Maybe. Only 100 or so people followed Ms. Cordova.

Now, if people were viewing Rep. Weiner’s page – not the timeline, but his own page – they would have seen it. And that’s exactly how @patriotusa76: saw because he didn’t follow either one.

Mediaite needs to issue a retraction and an apology, ASAP. Why didn’t they check this out before publishing their story? And frankly, they SHOULD do a story on the nature and tone of the criticism over at DailyKos, especially since CNN used DailyKos as an example of counter argument.

Let’s see how objective Mediaite is.

UPDATE: Ezra has more on this here.

– Lee Stranahan

20 Responses to “Why We Should Be Suspicious Of Mediaite”

  1. its this Colby Hall person what seems to be very confuzzled – hes doubling down again today

    Host Randi Kaye asked how Breitbart found out about the story which allowed the aspiring Internet mogul/provocateur to aver publicly that he had no part in an alleged hoax surrounding the still fluid controversy. He did explain what he did know of Dan Wolfe, who is the single Twitter user (who goes by the handle @patriotusa76) who retweeted Weiner’s tweet in questions. Breitbart claimed that he “didn’t know him before” but that Wolfe “has been monitoring Rep. Weiner for quite some time.”

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  2. *it’s*

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  3. As I said to you last night, Lee, if I understand your argument about the mechanics of Twitter I have some questions. With most Twitter applications you need not follow both users to see a mention — only the user sending the message.

    It may be that mentions don’t show up in your timeline on But not everyone uses Why wouldn’t even a deleted message remain on someone’s twhirl, Tweetdeck, etc.?

    Patterico (defe38)

  4. i’m with patterico. i see mentions all the time w/o following both. like numerous mentions of weiner himself, whom i don’t follow.

    my understanding was other people saw the tweet. wolf RT’ed it because this has been his thing for a while. i won’t call him a stalker, but he has been all over the weiner…

    he might have been the only RT, but that is not the same as saying he is the only one who saw it.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  5. but the point also is how many people would want to retweet Weiner penis shots involving college girls?

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  6. The claim by Mediaite is that 45k should have seen it.

    That’s what is false.

    On the Twitter browser and most apps, you don’t see the tweet unless you follow both. You can CHANGE this in some apps, but by default (in Tweetdeck, for instance) you don’t see it unless you follow both.

    I tested this last night — it’s 100% accurate. Ask me on Twitter and I’l demonstrate.

    Lee Stranahan (708cc3)

  7. I think you might be misunderstanding it, Lee.

    I wouldn’t see your reply to Patterico if I didn’t follow you.

    I would see your reply to Patterico if I did follow you. Even if I didn’t follow him.

    From your link “People will only see others’ replies in their home timeline if they are following both the sender and recipient of the update.”

    It isn’t well written, is it? I took it as assuming you were following one of the people; but to see both, you need to follow both.

    I’m less sure about this than when I started typing…

    Mama AJ (e29870)

  8. Weiner needs to learn the Jim Tressel lesson: it’s the coverup, not the crime. He sent an inappropriate image to a twitter follower, yawn. Same as with the Republican representative who sent the shirtless picture. But now lying about it, that’s bad.

    rbj (487e2c)

  9. You’re wrong. Hit me up on @Twitter and I’ll prove it to you. Not trying to be harsh — you’re just factually incorrect.

    Lee Stranahan (708cc3)

  10. then it’s not unreasonable that the alleged hacker would do everything that he or she could do to make the individual look guilty

    why would the evil hacker risk exposure by being the sole retweeter?

    this mediaite person has dumbness in their head

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  11. Sorry, was typing my comment when you were typing yours. I just read at so don’t know if that’s different. I believe your test.
    Looking at twitter now, I see that some people retweet when they are replying so maybe that’s another difference. Don’t know.

    Mama AJ (e29870)

  12. Tommy Christopher has dumbness in the head, happyfeet. Yes.

    JD (318f81)

  13. Careful Lee, you’ll have even more folks that may have been your former allies pronouncing you “dead to them”…

    I mean, who cares about facts? So what if a suprising number of the 200-or-so people that Weiner follows happen to be hot babes. Who cares if his reaction to the whole thing has been strange and dissonant since from jump. It’s all a coincidence, man. Just a distraction. It’s the wingnuts fault; they want to ruin an up-and-coming progressive soopah-staaah!

    Really, haven’t you got the memo? Facts don’t matter, only the party affiliation ID that follows a politicians name.

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  14. Yeh, I looked at and it works like Lee says. I guess all the “replies” I knew I’d seen are from when people use retweet when they are replying. I shouldn’t get technical without sufficient caffine…

    Mama AJ (e29870)

  15. OMG if Kos says that he is advocating murder….Heh

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  16. No real comment on the Weiner debacle, just wanted to say thanks to Lee Stranahan for his presence on this website (and to Patterico, for inviting him here). I’m an avid reader, not an avid commenter (commentator?) so my opinion probably won’t carry much weight, but with Lee, Aaaron and Patterico providing interesting and useful posts has become a must-read every day.


    RWL (455560)

  17. Thanks very much the last 2 comments

    Lee Stranahan (f5eded)

  18. I think people may be confusing mentions with non-secret messages. If I write “That @Stranahan has a great piece up on #Patterico”, that’s a message to the public mentioning Stranahan. If I write “@Stranahan, great piece you have up”, that’s a message from me to Lee, not to the general public, and it won’t be seen unless you follow both of us, or unless you look at my page on twitter’s web site. And if I write “d Stranahan great piece you have up” then it’s a secret message from me to Lee, and nobody else can ever see it. The difference between the first two is whether the @Stranahan comes in the middle of the message or at its beginning.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  19. I just want to say thanks for the explanation of how Twitter works. I dont use it.

    This post really does explain the whole @ thing and where it is placed for who will see the tweet, re-tweet.

    I could of sworn that patriot would of been following both. It was his thing, and I could of sworn he had contacted the Seattle gal on Twitter.

    KOW (1aa9ec)

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