Posted on | June 3, 2011 | 24 Comments
A sentence you won’t see me write very often: Tommy Christopher has done some excellent reporting.
Tommy’s story about @PatriotUSA and a 16-year-old girl who (falsely) claimed her friend was involved in Twitter “sexting” with Rep. Anthony Weiner is an absolute must-read. (BTW, Mediaite has posted Tommy’s story as five different pages, without a “single page view” or “print all” function, which annoys me, but that’s not Tommy’s fault.) One quote that stood out to me was this:
Yeah. The desire to get fame for fame’s sake — fame without talent, fame without achievement, fame you don’t actually have to work for — is one of the great evils of our age. Nowadays, I’m often reminded of a line from Gone With the Wind, where Scarlett O’Hara says of one of her envious rivals: “She’d walk down the street naked if she thought anybody would look twice at her.” But we’ll save Ginger Lee for later . . .
I should probably write an essay about the underlying lesson here: How inexperienced, irresponsible and unscrupulous people, trying to play citizen-journalist, muck things up for everybody else in the “Army of Davids.” On the other hand, maybe we wouldn’t have this problem if the regular media could be trusted to do their job with minimal competence and fairness.
The statements from the girls and one of the girls’ parents are, I think, subject to criticism, but I will leave that to others for now. The failure of Markos Moulitsas to respond promptly to Tommy Christopher’s e-mail warnings is also likely to get enough criticism from others without me jumping on the dogpile.
Responsible reporting requires a sense of news judgment, even if that sometimes means foregoing a possible scoop.
Last Saturday, when the WeinerGate story first broke, some people sent me DMs or e-mails with phone numbers for Gennette Cordova and I thought to myself: Should I call?
Well, I didn’t call. It seemed likely to me that many other reporters would be contacting Cordova soon enough. While I didn’t hesitate to publish her name once I was certain of the ID — she had, after all, publicly declared herself Weiner’s “girlfriend” on Twitter — the last thing I wanted to do was to be cold-calling a complete stranger merely to get a few hours ahead of a story that I knew would be breaking anyway without my further assistance. And, by the way, the New York Post has an interview today with Cordova:
“I’m just collateral damage,” Gennette Cordova, 21, lamented . . . .
“I just want this to be over,” she told The Post yesterday during an exclusive photo shoot and interview near her Bellingham, Wash., college campus.
Cordova thinks the package-hugging picture — which Weiner “can’t say with certitude” isn’t his — was meant for somebody else and landed in her Twitter account by mistake. . . .
Cordova offers the theory that Weiner meant to send the now-notorious picture to stripper/porn star Ginger Lee instead of to her, both their names starting with “G,” and perhaps some sort of bizarre auto-complete malfunction explaining the mix-up.
You don’t have to buy that theory, of course, but just add it to the pile of potential explanations for how and why that picture of Weiner’s junk ended up on Twitter. Nor do you need to have any theory of that incident to conclude that Weiner is kind of skeezy:
On Thursday, liberal pundit Jonathan Chait of the New Republic recalled previous accounts of Weiner’s womanizing reputation. “Understanding Weiner’s character makes it very easy to believe that he would tweet a lewd photo to a young woman,” Chait wrote, concluding that “it’s hard to generate much sympathy for the man.”
UPDATE: Ladd Ehlinger Jr. informs us that the Twitter account of @PatriotUSA76 a/k/a “Dan Wolfe” has now been deleted. And, having promised to “save Ginger Lee for later,” I am pleased to inform you that “later” will be an update within an hour or so.
UPDATE II: Now, for Ginger Lee the . . . er, adult entertainer who boasted of exchanging Twitter DMs with the congressman. Ms. Lee is a somewhat more sympathetic figure than you might otherwise suspect. She suffers from lupus, and has written at some length about her nightmarish experiences with stalkers.
A keen-eyed reader sent me a file with scores of Ms. Lee’s public Tweets about Weiner, including this:
Which links to her March 8 blog post feature this artwork:
And then there was this March 20 Tweet:
So it seems to have been, at least in part, Weiner’s support of taxpayer funding for America’s largest abortion provider that helped win Ms. Lee’s admiration. Better be careful there, Ms. Lee: Lots of creepy people in the pro-abortion movement.