Patterico's Pontifications

6/17/2011

About Mediaite’s Explanation Of Their Fiasco

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 10:38 pm



[Guest post by Lee Stranahan]

Three days ago, I wrote the following…

I had reporters calling me all weekend to try and find Betty and Veronica. These are people from major press organizations with big resources behind them. No sign of Betty or Veronica. Tommy Christopher says he spoke to Betty’s Mom on the phone and did other things to confirm their identities and it would be a fatal career move to just lie about that, so it’s hard to believe that that’s what happened. On the other hand, nobody else has seen this proof as far as I know (perhaps Colby Hall, the managing editor?) and Tommy has been very belligerently defensive about his reporting. And again, reporters have put dozens of hours into searching records and knocking on door with no trace.

Tonight, The New York Times proved that these concerns I and a few others have had for nearly a week were correct – Mediaite is now admitting that they got the story wrong. Managing Editor Colby Hall writes…

Working with other reporters and sources, we have now determined that “Betty,” her mother, and “Veronica” created false identities, and are not at all who they claimed to be.

Except they aren’t really admitting they got it WRONG. Not wrong wrong.

After the story was published, a source close to the story expressed doubts about Betty and Veronica, as did Jennifer Preston in her research and reporting for a story for the NY Times.Christopher shared, off the record, the steps he had taken to verify their identities. Since then, both Preston and Christopher have been independently investigating these sources further.

“Without concrete proof, though,” Christopher says, “we had to proceed under the assumption that these people were who they said they were, and that compromising their identities represented a significant risk of harm.”

Well, wait a minute. A lot more people than that expressed doubts. I did it on the phone last Sunday with Tommy, who yelled at me for 20 minutes. And when I posted my piece three days ago, Tommy showed the same same open, honest attitude with me in private messages on Twitter as he did on the phone.

You want to see why Tommy got the story wrong? Hubris and unprofessionalism.

Lots cursing by Tommy, so it’s after the jump…

Here’s my DM conversation with Tommy on May 15. I don’t consider this sort of abuse to be privileged. I think I was being a friend to Tommy. You can see his reaction, in bold for easier reading.

This is why you and I are no longer friends – challenging me publicly to do something you know I can’t ethically do. tommyxtopher > Stranahan

Dude — lots of people are talking about how defensive you are about your reporting. It doesn’t look good for you Stranahan > tommyxtopher

Fuck you. That was scumbag shit. I told you how I verified, OTR, and you challenge me to reveal privileged info? Fuck you.

And this is from REPORTERS, Tommy. I didn’t challenge you — I said ‘people are saying’ — because THEY ARE

There’s nothing ethical keeping you from telling another reporter. but I don’t want to have this discussion privately, to be honest…

Yeah, asshole, and I HAVE. IN PRIVATE, which you know I can’t reveal. You scumbag.

I don’t know that…

You said I "need to show my work." I can’t, you asshole.

Sure you could…to SOMEONE? Sure you could

Well I told you, I told Patterico. I’m tellihng you now, every reporter who has contacted me, I have shared what I could

you can share an adult’s name. who’s the Mom? Did you tell another reporter?

especially since that source clearly had an agenda and stated things that weren’t true, on the record

Yes, fuckface, I did. It’d be nice if you asked before smearing me.

you’re too defensive. nobody smeared you. I’m done talking to you

She did not, you and Patterico are insane people. Perfectly rational explanations offered, and ignored

Good. Fuck off.

tommy

Tommy is the only person who thought there were ‘perfectly rational’ explanations. When others tried to tell him, he reacted…well, you can see how he reacted to anyone who dared question him.

Colby Hall – do you have an answer for this?

– Lee Stranahan

29 Responses to “About Mediaite’s Explanation Of Their Fiasco”

  1. I’m reposting this because it’s on point for this post.

    On StageRight, they keep on talking about how Tommy Christopher was passionately invested in this story, and in protecting the identity of the two 16-year olds, Betty and Veronica. Options:

    1. He really was concerned for the welfare of what he believed were these two minors.

    2. He was passionately invested in covering for his own journalistic ass about his “sources”!

    Random (543d30)

  2. Tommy needs some chill pills.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  3. Ace just made 2 new hypothesis, neither of which he is wedded to:

    What if a fixer intervened, told the girls to shut up, said he’d make them invisible, and would handle it? And then that fixer impersonates them and gives the story to Christopher — a story which, as JeffB notes, including accusing Breitbart and Loesh of trying to enlist them into lying?

    Now, flash forward. Three days ago Ginger Lee said she was coming forward from “this nightmare” because SOMEONE THREATENED TO RELEASE A STATEMENT IN HER NAME. presumably, this would be a statement exonerating Weiner.

    What if he made this threat because he’d done it before?

    And:

    >>>I really am becoming enamored of the theory that Weiner was behind the B&V twitter identities, because he saw an opportunity to fuck with/bring down his obsessive enemies (and they did pester him constantly).

    I’m consider a variant: What if he created them to encourage other girls to swoon over him?

    Like Glenn Greenwald’s sockpuppets, who were always around to tell everyone how awesome he was?

    It’s intriguing to ponder, anyhow.

    Random (543d30)

  4. Ace just made 2 new hypothesis, neither of which he is wedded to:

    What if a fixer intervened, told the girls to shut up, said he’d make them invisible, and would handle it? And then that fixer impersonates them and gives the story to Christopher — a story which, as JeffB notes, including accusing Breitbart and Loesh of trying to enlist them into lying?

    Now, flash forward. Three days ago Ginger Lee said she was coming forward from “this nightmare” because SOMEONE THREATENED TO RELEASE A STATEMENT IN HER NAME. presumably, this would be a statement exonerating Weiner.

    What if he made this threat because he’d done it before?

    And:

    I really am becoming enamored of the theory that Weiner was behind the B&V twitter identities, because he saw an opportunity to fuck with/bring down his obsessive enemies (and they did pester him constantly).

    I’m consider a variant: What if he created them to encourage other girls to swoon over him?

    Like Glenn Greenwald’s sockpuppets, who were always around to tell everyone how awesome he was?

    It’s intriguing to ponder, anyhow.

    Random (543d30)

  5. Ace just made 2 new hypothesis, neither of which he is wedded to:

    What if a fixer intervened, told the girls to shut up, said he’d make them invisible, and would handle it? And then that fixer impersonates them and gives the story to Christopher — a story which, as JeffB notes, including accusing Breitbart and Loesh of trying to enlist them into lying?

    Now, flash forward. Three days ago Ginger Lee said she was coming forward from “this nightmare” because SOMEONE THREATENED TO RELEASE A STATEMENT IN HER NAME. presumably, this would be a statement exonerating Weiner.

    What if he made this threat because he’d done it before?

    Random (543d30)

  6. And:

    I really am becoming enamored of the theory that Weiner was behind the B&V twitter identities, because he saw an opportunity to f*ck with/bring down his obsessive enemies (and they did pester him constantly).

    I’m consider a variant: What if he created them to encourage other girls to swoon over him?

    Like Glenn Greenwald’s sockpuppets, who were always around to tell everyone how awesome he was?

    It’s intriguing to ponder, anyhow.

    Random (543d30)

  7. Ace is on Stranahan’s BlogTalkRadio show live now talking about his hypotheses.

    Random (543d30)

  8. “Fake but accurate”

    Tommy Christopher

    Jack (f9fe53)

  9. Ace, Breitbart, and AJ Conservative[sic], a moron.

    Random (543d30)

  10. So are we now to assume that “Betty” aka Nikki Reid aka “who knows” was a sockpuppet?

    This Twitter account was created last September, so there has to be much more to this story

    Joe

    Joe Smith (54c0c1)

  11. Well, wait a minute. A lot more people than that expressed doubts.

    You’re damn right they did…

    TOMMY CHRISTOPHER AND ANDREW BREITBART

    Have you verified that any of the people you talked to in this article actually F******g exist? As in, flesh in bone… they are who they say they are, not a PR company shaping a storyline?

    http://justpaste.it/weinerboner

    That was actually my very last update to that page… and it was 5 minutes after I read that piece… that morning…. I didn’t do any more updates because I lost the ability to.

    That statement from “Betty’s Mom” was just so over the top… it’s interesting how both Betty/Veronica’s statements contain obvious lies and contradictions(Veronica contacted Goatsred, not the other way around/They wanted to be anonymous, not famous) and they followed a “blame the harassers” strategy that was also slyly used by Cordova.

    soren (60aa82)

  12. This Twitter account was created last September, so there has to be much more to this story

    It didn’t do many tweets back in September… and they look very spamish… like an effort which real purpose was to gain followers in order to look legit.

    The first interesting tweeting from Veronica was in March IIRC… when she was chatting up ginger lee for some reason…

    soren (60aa82)

  13. Correct, Betty Retweeted Ginder, Ethel and others in what appeared to be a concerted effort.

    Joe

    Joe Smith (54c0c1)

  14. This is what got the attention of Gennette Cordova. Which she claims lead her to DM Rep. Weiner with her concerns.

    Joe

    Joe Smith (54c0c1)

  15. That statement from “Betty’s Mom” was just so over the top…

    Emphasize…

    http://www.mediaite.com/online/andrew-breitbart-did-not-run-weinergate-evidence-which-turned-out-to-be-fabricated/5/

    We would also like to express our disgust at the harassment of Rep Weiner and hope that everyone remembers this man did nothing wrong. Look at your own behavior and your own mental hang-ups and ask yourself why you find certain things so perverse — it says more about you than it does about the person you are accusing.

    And concerning a certain adult actress, we would like to add that this girl did nothing wrong. If you actually read her blog it is about politics and chronic illness. My husband and I read it together with our daughter. Again, ask yourself what your own personal prejudices and hangups are before you make accusations.

    Bwahahahahahahahahah

    soren (60aa82)

  16. Soren – Just the facts baby, no speculation!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  17. Now they got a new story.

    Who were behind the fake IDs and why.It’s not trivial.

    Temper Tantrum (02fe1b)

  18. Christopher, is hacktastic, enough to work for Media Matters, some of us, discovered this two years
    on another matter, and just when you thought he
    had learned something, Tucson confirmed our suspicions, Verum Serum, has a big file on him.

    ian cormac (72470d)

  19. Tommy Xtopher is a weiner. Still do not know why anyone gave him the benefit of the doub.

    JD (85b089)

  20. Until he proves otherwise, Tommy Christopher stands indited. Colby Hall’s 6/17 article reveals that “Christopher provided the (Betty’s mother’s) driver’s license to (Jennifer) Preston, who confirmed with California state officials that it was a fake.”

    If Jennifer Preston could so easily unmask the impostor, it’s certainly reasonable to accuse Christopher of publishing a defense of Weiner before he’d verified the identity of his source.

    Colby admits, “…Christopher and Jennifer Preston have now verified that the driver’s license produced by Betty’s mother was fictitious. The identities of Betty, her mother, and Veronica are still unknown, as are their motivations.

    Get that? Identities and motivations are still unknown. So, what do Tommy Christopher and Colby Hall plan to do about these impostors and their “unknown motivations?

    One thing that is clear from this entire episode is this: there are individuals involved in this story who remain unidentified who are taking extraordinary measures to create or influence this story and the way that it has been reported. The reasons why individuals would conspire to effect the news is anyone’s guess, but we will leave that specific speculation to you, dear reader.

    Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, Tommy Christopher and Colby Hall just can’t bring themselves to question why anyone would conspire (with them?) to protect Anthony Weiner. They’ve done all the initial dirty work so now it’s up to someone else.

    Now, isn’t that special.

    ropelight (d7236d)

  21. Doubt.

    Let me guess, tommy xtopher’s response to this is “f@ck you. You are an irresponsible reckless lunatic”

    JD (b98cae)

  22. Christopher got played and Colby Hall thinks he did nothing wrong. Good standards there Mediaite.

    MU789 (69b6ac)

  23. weiner is tearing us apart

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  24. in Christopher’s case, you can’t rape the willing.

    papertiger (e55ba0)

  25. Guy sounds just like Olbermann when faced with criticism.

    harkin (1e4085)

  26. Has Tommie Xtopher had an actual response to any of this, beyond cussing at everyone, and hiding behind his Capital J journolistism?

    JD (b98cae)

  27. Tommy will be on radio tonight with Larry O’Connor

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/stage-right/2011/06/21/monday-news-and-guest-tommyxtopher

    midnight

    koam (0a6089)

  28. Larry O’Connor was great last time, but the audio issues were greatly annoying.

    Have they resolved the latter?

    Dustin (c16eca)

  29. Oh, in another thread Molon said the audio issues were not present in a more recent show.

    I’ll have to give it a listen.

    Dustin (c16eca)


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