Patterico's Pontifications

6/17/2011

Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher Given Fake IDs

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 8:58 pm

[Guest post by Lee Stranahan]

The New York Times is reporting on a story I discussed a couple of days ago – the mystery surrounding ‘Betty and Veronica’ – with a stunning detail; apparently Mediaite reporter Tommy Christopher was given fake IDs by a woman claiming to be Betty’s mother…

One Twitter user the group observed seeking to interact with Mr. Weiner was called “Nikki Reid.” She started an online campaign to get Mr. Weiner to be her prom date at Hollywood High School in May, using the account @starchild111. Within days after Mr. Weiner started following her, a Twitter user, also using a fake name, Marianela Alicea, and pretending to be Nikki Reid’s classmate, contacted a member of the #bornfreecrew and said she had information about Mr. Weiner, but never provided any.

But there is no evidence that either girl exists. There is no Nikki Reid or Marianela Alicea enrolled at Hollywood High School. In response to requests from a reporter from the blog Mediaite, a woman claiming to be Nikki Reid’s mother provided documentation to substantiate her identity and her daughter’s identity. But records show the street address the woman provided does not list anyone named Reid as an occupant. State officials in California have confirmed that the driver’s license this woman provided to Mediaite was false, as well.

A friend on Twitter just told me..

Tommy has some serious explaining to do.. lecturing everyone while writing a story on 2 people who don’t exist (who he said were beyond question)

Hard to argue with that point

The New York Times piece has a fatal flaw; it gives the impression that these apparently fake people were trying to ‘set up’ Weiner. This fails to highlight a huge repercussion of this revelation – Tommy’s piece ran long statements from Betty / Nikki, Veronica / Maria and Betty / Nikki’s mom. These statements including emphatic defenses of Rep. Anthony Weiner. If all of these people are fake, then Tommy ran defenses of Weiner from fake people. Here’s an example from the ‘mom’.

When Rep Weiner followed my daughter the one and only message he sent her was welcoming her to his twitter followers and suggested he go to his website for more information. My husband and I were delighted with this message as it furthered our daughter’s interest in learning about government. We were very grateful to Rep Weiner for this and saw nothing wrong or inappropriate with this message.

This was the one and only message that Rep Weiner sent our daughter. Our daughter sent a message thanking Rep Weiner for following her and thanking him for the welcome message. This was the one and only message our daughter sent to Rep Weiner.

Soon after she was following Rep Weiner, a group of grown men and a few grown woman who described themselves as “concerned mothers” began harassing my daughter. I can assure you, as a mother, I’ve never heard of such disgusting behavior. My daughter, with our permission, responded to these attacks on Rep Weiner following her with grace and maturity – which is something that cannot be said for these “mothers” and their fellow grown men involved in the attack.

These mothers and their grown male friends attacked the intentions and character of Rep Weiner to our daughter and suggested that he was somehow perverse for following her. This disgusted myself and my husband. They were attacking a man, who has done nothing to them and has done nothing wrong.

That is not only pro-Weiner (and as we know now, patently false) but it also claims people in the #BornFree crew were harassing the (apparently fake) Betty and Veronica. But the New York Times piece continues the meme that the #BornFree crew were a bunch of nefarious conservatives out to get Anthony Weiner by any means necessary.

If Tommy Christopher’s sources aren’t real, then the #Bornfree crew are victims, not only of the Imposter but also of the New York Times and Mediaite.

ADDING: Let’s also remember another detail that’s come to light recently – Tommy told me on the phone several days ago that Betty / Veronica were trying to push a story on Tommy that Andrew Breitbart and Dana Loesch were attempting to force Betty / Veronica to lie about Rep. Weiner. Tommy didn’t run with this story, which had outrageous details but he didn’t report on the attempt to discredit Breitbart and Loesch, either.

If Betty / Veronica / Mom were an imposter, this makes this seem even more sinister. Apparently, a person or persons unknown was trying to discredit Breitbart & Loesch. Again, read the New York Times piece and it makes it seem as though Weiner is the intended victim here and makes no mention of the Breitbart / Loesch angle.

One other detail – apparently Tommy DID talk to a woman on the phone. That provides some starting point for uncovering this mystery.

At this point, Tommy REALLY needs to show his work and come clean. Putting the fake IDs up for other people to see would be a good idea, as well.

- Lee Stranahan

69 Responses to “Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher Given Fake IDs”

  1. WTF is going on. To think I defended that idiot TC. Should have known better.

    Molon Labe (dc676c)

  2. Holy Jumpin Jeezers Batman, You got them

    bmertz (d77c52)

  3. No wonder he was going postal on twitter with Patterico.

    bmertz (d77c52)

  4. I was safe in assuming that Tommie Xtopher was a mendoucheous twatwaffle the entire time.

    JD (318f81)

  5. Good thing Tommy’s a serious journalist and not a liberal hack just trying to cover Weiner’s weiner.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  6. This ought to produce another blizzard of f-bombs and name calling from the serious JournoListers.

    JD (318f81)

  7. loves “mendoucheous twatwaffl” that’s a keeper

    Someone is in for it besides Tommy.
    Isn’t it interesting that Patriot turned Nikki’s evidence down, but Tommy did not? Was this group out to trap the bornfreecrew, and when they failed they turned to Tommy to do their dirty work?

    bmertz (d77c52)

  8. A few days later, Mr. Stack said, he was approached by the Twitter user who said that she was Nikki Reid’s friend and that she had “incriminating evidence” against Mr. Weiner regarding private messages with her friend. But Mr. Stack said that she never presented any evidence to him and that the user of the account stopped communicating with him and eventually vanished.

    So Mike Stack did not take the bait. So they took it to Tommy, who apparently is incapable of running a check on a drivers license – a valuable ability for a reporter.

    bmertz (d77c52)

  9. Ooooh! I can’t decide whether it will be better if it’s proved that TC knew about, and was actually a willing participant in, a staged cover-up by Weiner’s “people”–or– whether it will be more fun if he is proved to have so little journalistic curiosity that he swallowed the professionally crafted cover up story that was presented to lucky little him hook, line, and sinker.

    Yeah, those choices are so delicious that it’s almost like being forced to choose between butter pecan or chocolate chip ice cream.

    elissa (0d822c)

  10. the New York Times is to journalism what autism service horses are to the pony express

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  11. Here is the Mediaite explanation

    http://www.mediaite.com/online/mediaites-sources-on-weinergate-betty-and-veronica-turn-out-not-to-be-who-they-claimed/

    I don’t think we should jump on TC at this point. WTF was he supposed to do beyond what he described he did.

    The Betty account was active for, apparently, several months prior to Weinergate breaking. Suggests a honey pot. But why did Mrs. Betty write that exculpatory letter defending Weiner?

    Molon Labe (dc676c)

  12. in what seems to be an elaborate ruse, the Twitter user claiming to be Nikki Reid and then a woman claiming to be her mother contacted Tommy Christopher, a correspondent for Mediaite, the media blog. After first communicating online, Mr. Christopher said, the woman dismissed claims of incriminating evidence against Mr. Weiner and accused members of the #bornfreecrew of harassing her daughter and her daughter’s friend.

    And there we have it:
    First the imposter attempts and fails to get Mike to bite. If he had –she would have burned him and whoever listened to him. Then she approached Tommy with a different story in order to (again) discredit Mike and his group. Clever and it could have worked. Now who benefits– my guess: I think these were Weiner’s people trying to head off exposure.
    Somebody is going to jail.

    bmertz (d77c52)

  13. @12: But Betty had been active prior to Weinergate.

    Molon Labe (dc676c)


  14. ==But why did Mrs. Betty write that exculpatory letter defending Weiner?==

    Molon–While nobody at the time had a clue what was going on, many of us here who know something about PR and crisis management immediately recognized Mrs. Betty’s perfect defense of her “daughter”, and the profuse praise for Weiner, to be too over the top to be anything but a crafted PR statement. Weiner already had a cover-up crew at work because he knew about the bornfreecrew.

    elissa (0d822c)

  15. Lee – did you ask JournoLister Xtopher for a response?

    JD (318f81)

  16. Molon — elissa has it
    What is the timeline for when the bornfreegroup began tailing Weiner and when Betty’s account opened up. Weinergate started at what official point?

    bmertz (d77c52)

  17. When Nikki’s group are dug out of whatever hole they hide in – Mike and crew have a lawsuit .

    bmertz (d77c52)

  18. So Lee, that was real special for the NYT to credit where they picked up most of their insights about Nikki’s non-existance/ Not

    bmertz (d77c52)

  19. Yea, the NYT gives most of the credit to Gennette and the writer Jennifer.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/18/nyregion/fake-identities-were-used-on-twitter-to-get-information-on-weiner.html?_r=1

    So the quesiton for this thread, who broke this update to the Weinergate story first: Lee, Mediate or the NYT?

    Joe

    Joe Smith (54c0c1)

  20. Molon–While nobody at the time had a clue what was going on, many of us here who know something about PR and crisis management immediately recognized Mrs. Betty’s perfect defense of her “daughter”, and the profuse praise for Weiner, to be too over the top to be anything but a crafted PR statement. Weiner already had a cover-up crew at work because he knew about the bornfreecrew.

    Comment by elissa — 6/17/2011 @ 9:50 pm

    I don’t think that is at all unlikely.

    However, if you have you have to seed a cover-up crew with two 16-year old girls to cover up your dealings with other underage girls … then … anyone find that a tiny bit suspicious?

    Random (543d30)

  21. A very interesting update:

    Fake Identities Were Used on Twitter in Effort to Get Information on WeinerBy JENNIFER PRESTON
    Published: June 17, 2011
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    LinkedinDiggMySpacePermalink. At least three months before the revelation that former Representative Anthony D. Weiner was sending lewd messages and photos to women online, a small group of self-described conservatives was monitoring his exchanges with women on Twitter. Now there is evidence that one or more people created two false identities on Twitter in order to collect information to use against him.

    Multimedia
    Interactive Feature Milestones: Anthony D. Weiner. Timescast | Weiner Resigns
    Timescast | Weiner ResignsClose VideoSee More Videos » .Related
    Weiner Resigns in Chaotic Final Scene (June 17, 2011)
    Times Topic: Anthony WeinerA Twitter user employing a fake name posed as a 16-year-old California high school girl in May and tried to get Mr. Weiner to be her prom date, according to people with knowledge of the communications and a review of documents. The person behind another Twitter account created under a fake name claimed to be her classmate and offered to provide the group with incriminating evidence about Mr. Weiner.

    Mr. Weiner, who resigned on Thursday after admitting he had sent explicit photos and messages to multiple women on social media sites, had already been the subject of intense focus on Twitter by the conservative group, which calls itself the #bornfreecrew.

    One Twitter user the group observed seeking to interact with Mr. Weiner was called “Nikki Reid.” She started an online campaign to get Mr. Weiner to be her prom date at Hollywood High School in May, using the account @starchild111. Within days after Mr. Weiner started following her, a Twitter user, also using a fake name, Marianela Alicea, and pretending to be Nikki Reid’s classmate, contacted a member of the #bornfreecrew and said she had information about Mr. Weiner, but never provided any.

    But there is no evidence that either girl exists. There is no Nikki Reid or Marianela Alicea enrolled at Hollywood High School. In response to requests from a reporter from the blog Mediaite, a woman claiming to be Nikki Reid’s mother provided documentation to substantiate her identity and her daughter’s identity. But records show the street address the woman provided does not list anyone named Reid as an occupant. State officials in California have confirmed that the driver’s license this woman provided to Mediaite was false, as well.

    It remains unclear who is behind the fake Twitter accounts, why anyone was trying to pretend to be a 16-year-old high school girl looking for Mr. Weiner to be her prom date or why the user contacted members of the #bornfreecrew. As an increasing number of politicians and elected officials use social media tools to engage with constituents and deliver their message, the prospect of people not using their real identities presents potential pitfalls and opportunity for political opponents to play dirty tricks.

    The @starchild111 Twitter account, which was deleted two weeks ago, was created in September. There were very few posts on the account until March, when the fictional Nikki Reid began posting comments about admiring Mr. Weiner, including:

    “Tweeps my progressive idol @RepWeiner is following me. Today is the best day ever!”

    “Today also marks day one of my campaign to get @RepWeiner to be my prom date.”

    “Will you be my prom date @RepWeiner.”

    “Everyone please please follow @RepWeiner and tell him to be my prom date.”

    The Twitter user also sought to interact with at least three other women Mr. Weiner was communicating within the weeks and months before he sent a sexually suggestive photo to a Washington state college student. The women included Gennette Cordova, 21, the college student; Ginger Lee, 24, a former pornographic film actress from Tennessee who exchanged over 100 e-mails with the congressman; and a Delaware high school student, 17, whose family said she exchanged five private messages with Mr. Weiner that did not include indecent or explicit material.

    In an interview, Ms. Cordova said she was contacted on Twitter by “Nikki Reid,” who said she admired one of her posts and then began exchanging private messages with her almost every day for three or four weeks starting May 5. “There was something weird about it,” Ms. Cordova said. At the beginning of their exchanges, Ms. Cordova said, there was no mention of Mr. Weiner. Then the user began to ask her for advice saying, “I’m a fan girl too,” and “How did you get him to follow you?”

    When Ms. Cordova saw that Mr. Weiner was following “Nikki Reid,” she said, she expressed her suspicions about the girl’s identity to him in a private message and he stopped following the account.

    So it appears that Genette was looking out for Rep. Weiner and maybe was having more requent DM communication before the May 27 package shot!

    Joe

    Joe Smith (54c0c1)

  22. Somebody needs to find out if his clean up crew was from Weiner’s own taxpayer paid staff, or if they were the same people he claimed to have hired later to “find out what happened here with this prank, and make sure it never happens again”.

    elissa (0d822c)

  23. Colby Hall of Mediaite is on StageRightShow now

    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/stagerightshow

    Molon Labe (dc676c)

  24. Why I am not surprised that Genette managed to weasel herself into the credits. She still trying to manage where the story goes.

    bmertz (d77c52)

  25. Its hard to believe that even Weiner would be dumb enough to use his own people. He might have access to Clinton’s people

    bmertz (d77c52)

  26. @24 – Makes sense, since he’s married to someone with Clinton connections…

    Professor Why (0df1b4)

  27. Wow Colby Hall is getting very defensive on StageRightShow!!!!

    Joe

    Joe Smith (54c0c1)

  28. Molon, that Mediaite women looks ready to crack on– stageright.

    bmertz (d77c52)

  29. Colby Hall is certainly going on the offensive, Joe Smith.

    He has a point if they were genuinely duped after acting for fake IDs … but … they damn well owe a very detailed, convincing explanation. Aggression is not a substitute for an explanation.

    Random (543d30)

  30. Colby Hall – Capital “J” Journalist, Step Off everybody else!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  31. I’m listening to the show now. Colby’s nervous, inarticulate, and defensive. He’s used the trite phrase “you know what?” about 72 times while he’s vamping. Also, they’re arguing about “what is journalism”.

    elissa (0d822c)

  32. “what you do is more opinion analysis” Oh that one was rich

    bmertz (d77c52)

  33. However Colby is trying to cover for Tommy C. They did not vet the key individuals that spoke to them so they don’t get to claim Capital J status. They simply did not validate the identities of the Mrs. Betty, Betty and Veronica!!!

    They failed!

    Joe

    Joe Smith (54c0c1)

  34. “you are your own worst enemy”– oh the irony

    bmertz (d77c52)

  35. lee just so i stop getting headaches about this…

    why don’t we give the official names of betty and veronica from now on?

    i understand holding back on ethel, because she is a real person. but betty and veronica should lose the alias, because they are not even real people, apparently.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  36. Btw, any word on whether either of these girls are chris hanson?

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  37. He doesn’t believe in news objectivity — at least thats honest

    bmertz (d77c52)

  38. Meredith’s line–hahahahaha “could you fax me over some ID?”

    bmertz (d77c52)

  39. Lee is trying to get into the show to confront Colby about the statements that Tonny made about Lee.

    Joe

    Joe Smith (54c0c1)

  40. I’d like to know what if anything the fake IDs & fake address had in common.

    These folks wouldn’t have needed IDs in setting up the bornfree crew, so they had to come up with it quickly for Tommy Christopher…

    Most people’s minds don’t do “original” well, they work with what they know or is familiar to them.

    Yeah, they had the Hollywood High location,but wouldn’t have needed anything else before the interview. Except for any location/place mentions in the Nikki tweets beforehand to be close to being correct. If as I think several of you are suggesting that the Nikki group was “with” or covering for Weiner, they have to be in NY or DC, not California.(It’s stretching the imagination to think they came from nowhere and had/have no connection to Weiner other than wanting to cover for him) Yeah, they could grab a street name off of google maps, but not the house numbers; four digits, or maybe six, even or odd. Making that up quickly could give the game away fast,if it wasn’t a believable number/zip for the area.

    Obviously the last name is a lie, but somebody in the Weiner/Nikki group(s?) was familiar with the area. Why else pick it in the first place when they could pick anywhere in the country to pretend to tweet from??

    Yeah(cover your ears Patterico), you can buy fake ID all over LA, but to be believable again, it would have to be on a street somewhat near the school, and a type of number that matched the street.

    They had a matter of days to pull together the fake IDs, and have them look believable.

    flicka47 (ae99cd)

  41. I’m actually starting to feel sorry for Tommy. As long as he was Not playing along with them– if he is innocent of doing so , then he has been played in a terrible way with very lethal price.

    bmertz (d77c52)

  42. 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)

  43. Random – Passion generates accuracy. They teach that in Capital “J” Journalism School, or so I’ve been told.

    Plus Capital “J” Journalists are experts at examining identification.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  44. I don’t think we should jump on TC at this point. WTF was he supposed to do beyond what he described he did.

    Um no… we should… the guy is either complicit or an idiot.

    soren (60aa82)

  45. Weiner may not go to jail for attempting to seduce a minor but he could find himself in a court over this bombshell.

    bmertz (d77c52)

  46. “I don’t think we should jump on TC at this point. WTF was he supposed to do beyond what he described he did.”

    Colby Hall f*cked up, he trusted liberal hack Tommy C.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  47. daley- that sounds like lyrics from the Music Man: that’s a Capital J, that rhymes with lay …….. that means

    bmertz (d77c52)

  48. Yea Tonny missed the fact checking on his sources.

    Very easy to do with public records and less then $50. I bet he only started looking after Wednesday’s StageRight Show when Paterico was asking the details on Betty and Veronica!!!

    Joe

    Joe Smith (54c0c1)

  49. B-but Chris Chrstie has millionaire friends.

    Never mind that the NJEA’s shill is a billionaire who will never give up his money.

    BTW Tommy Lee is a word that rhymes with Blunt.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  50. This is BS. As if any of you would have done more to verify these people than TC did.

    A huge mystery devolves into a pissing match and partisan bickering. Here and on StageRightShow.

    Molon Labe (dc676c)

  51. Sorry for the off topic.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  52. This is BS. As if any of you would have done more to verify these people than TC did.

    Than Tommy Christopher says he did.

    Random (543d30)

  53. why is the first thing weiner does is go frolic in the hamptons I thought he was all about the little guy but he’s not, is he?

    It was all a lie.

    It was all a damn lie.

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  54. This is BS. As if any of you would have done more to verify these people than TC did.

    FU

    I’ve been calling BS on these two girls since the very beginning…

    Check the top of this..

    http://justpaste.it/weinerboner

    Check the comments of the original story…

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

    And all Tommy Christopher has done is stonewall and BS… he is either complicit or a complete f’n idiot… there are no other options. Those statements were so incredibly phony that it’s disgusting that they were printed.

    soren (60aa82)

  55. BTW, what’s hilarious is that in the original story Tommy Christopher says he spent 5 days trying to verify their account… and it took 14 days later(when peopled called BS immediately) for us to finally find out that they’re fake…

    Come on…

    soren (60aa82)

  56. On several occasions I believe both Lee and Patterico have suggested that Tommy was very ugly toward them in recent Twitter exchanges. I’d love to know more about that if either are willing to say more about it now that the (partial) story is in the NYT.

    ==the guy is either complicit or an idiot==
    @soren

    I’m having trouble finding much sympathy for TC either.

    One of my fav movie lines of all time is from Casablanca: “out of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world why did she have to walk into mine?” I think Tommy might have benefited from asking himself a similar question, such as, “out of all the news organizations in all the world why did Betty, Veronica, and Betty’s mom choose mine?”

    elissa (0d822c)

  57. “This is BS. As if any of you would have done more to verify these people than TC did.”

    Molon Labe – Sure, even though Tommy’s reporting was slanted from the start to insinuate conspiracies were afoot, press perfect statement came out of participants and inconsistencies popped up, Tommy could not have done more.

    Stick with that story. It’s a winner.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  58. elissa – See new post.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  59. “why is the first thing weiner does is go frolic in the hamptons I thought he was all about the little guy but he’s not, is he?”

    Mr. Feets – It sounds like the weiner will rise again. Maybe more than once.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  60. daley…the key TC article defended Breitbart.

    The larger point is TC got used. There’s a major conspiracy going on and all anyone can do is launch partisan BS attacks.

    Molon Labe (dc676c)

  61. Molon,

    The title of the article may be

    Andrew Breitbart Did Not Run ‘Weinergate’ Evidence Which Turned Out To Be Fake

    However that was not the real focus of the article.

    Joe

    Joe Smith (54c0c1)

  62. “daley…the key TC article defended Breitbart.”

    Molon Labe – I made no claim it did not.

    “There’s a major conspiracy going on and all anyone can do is launch partisan BS attacks.”

    Hey, everybody just wasted three weeks which could have been used to figure out what happened based on sh*tty work by Tommy. No reason his work had to be sh*tty due to partisan reasons. I’ll admit that could be a bad assumption.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  63. The larger point is TC got used. There’s a major conspiracy going on and all anyone can do is launch partisan BS attacks.

    Yeah, and when Cordova and her boyfriend immediately followed TC on twitter he got her statement he was “used” again…

    soren (60aa82)

  64. Breitbart calling in to Stranahan’s BlogTalkRadio NOW

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/stranahan/2011/06/18/weinergate-the-betty-and-veronica-mystery

    Molon Labe (dc676c)

  65. OK, 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)

  66. The thing to do is decide who it is in this story that we still have faith in.

    My vote would be the #bornfreecrew.

    Let’s ask Red about the genesis of “Betty & Veronica”.
    How long had they been following Weiner activity? When did they first take an active roll in warning the Congressman’s targets?
    How soon could it have been that one of those “targets” inform Weiner that he was under surveillance?
    Was there a window for AW to set up a cover of sock puppets? How long would that window of time be?

    papertiger (e55ba0)

  67. anthony weiner
    Betty and Veronica
    make weiner JugHead

    ColonelHaiku (1fff77)

  68. 66.The thing to do is decide who it is in this story that we still have faith in.

    My vote would be the #bornfreecrew

    I answer a lot of these questions in the “Weiner,Reid and Timing Post” at the Beginning of this page. But I invite you to tweet me the q’s or email to me at mscart2000 at hotmail dot com (throwaway email acct ) for trolls

    goatsred (b20383)


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