Posted on | June 14, 2012 | 28 Comments
Which is to say, he’s got a job at Fox News after having gotten fired from National Public Radio for bluntly expressing his concerns about terrorism, a fight in which bloggers — not “real reporters” — came to Juan’s defense. But this ingratitude for their efforts is something that bloggers have come to expect, eh?
Earlier today, I mentioned that Jen Preston of the New York Times might be one of those “big media” reporters whom Patterico accuses of being afraid to report about Brett Kimberlin.
Whether or not Patterico was aiming that remark at Preston, and whether or not the allegation of being scaredy-cats is fair to reporters who have ignored the Kimberlin saga, part of the problem is that the story may at first glance seem to be one of those silly ginned-up Left-vs.-Right dramas. This is why I keep returning to the same point: Seth Allen (@prepostericity) was the first to be sued by Brett Kimberlin.
With some assistance from Aaron Walker, Allen was able to settle that $2 million suit for the nominal fee of $100. [Please see the clarification in UPDATE III below. -- RSM] It was Walker’s involvement in the Kimberlin-vs.-Allen case that exposed Walker to harassment from Kimberlin (and Kimberlin’s vicious associate Neal Rauhauser), ultimately resulting in the May 29 courtroom farce in which Walker was arrested.
There are many other aspects to this story. The SWATtings of Mike Stack, Patterico and Erick Erickson have gotten the most attention, but the fact that it started with Seth Allen, a progressive who persistently called B.S. on the activities of Kimberlin’s Velvet Revolution, is important to keep in mind.
Seth got banned from site after site because he kept pointing out not just Kimberlin’s criminal record, but also the fact that Velvet Revolution (and Kimberlin’s VR partner, Brad Friedman) kept raising money with bogus allegations of GOP wrongdoing. All those claims of Republican vote fraud in Ohio, the conspiracy-theory stuff that Karl Rove had threatened a Republican operative (who subsequently died in a plane crash), the stuff about the Chamber of Commerce, etc. — nothing ever came of any of that. Liberals kept throwing money at Velvet Revolution, and Velvet Revolution kept failing to prove its accusations.
Seth Allen called B.S. on all that, and even after he was sued for blogging about Kimberlin, he has kept reminding readers at his blog, DFQ2 (named for one of Allen’s progressive blogger heroes, “Dave From Queens”) about what kind of rotten dishonest hustles Kimberlin and Friedman have promoted over the years. In February, citing a post in which Friedman urged his readers to support “the independent, progressive, aggressive, and investigative media,” Seth called attention to Friedman’s relentless hype of the Clint Curtis conspiracy theory.
To make a long story short, Velvet Revolution got a lot of attention in 2005 by offering a reward for evidence proving that the 2004 election had been stolen by Republicans. And as a result, Florida resident Clint Curtis became a celebrity on the moonbat circuit:
Curtis said he developed a program that included invisible buttons on touch screen machines that could alter vote totals, but he does not know whether it was ever used. He said he gave the program to one of his bosses, Li Yang, but did not keep a copy….
Curtis said he wrote the affidavit after reading about a reward for anyone who could verify vote fraud. He didn’t want the money, Curtis insists, but wanted to prove the elections had been stolen. He presented copies of his affidavit to several congressional staffers and testified before a Democratic committee looking at fraud allegations in Ohio.
Curtis’s claims were relentlessly flogged at BradBlog , capitalizing on the left-wing resentments going back to the contested Bush-Gore 2000 recount in Florida. That allegedly “stolen” election helped fuel a million e-mails from MoveOn.org, which spent years demonizing Bush, Cheney, Rove, et al., as Grand Conspirators of an illegitimate “regime.”
Much of the toxicity of our current politics stems from the fanatical mindset of leftists who bought into that misleading rhetoric. The point that Seth Allen kept trying to get across was that the Clint Curtis claims — like all the conspiracy theories promoted by Velvet Revolution — were never proven.
As Lucy Morgan of the St. Petersburg Times wrote in 2005, Friedman and others “fashioned something of a political thriller out of a series of apparently unrelated events they say prove the elections really were stolen,” allegations in some cases clearly contradicted by facts. For example, touch-screen computer voting machines were not in widespread use at the time — 2000 — that Curtis claims a Republican asked him to create the “invisible button” software. Yet as late as 2010, BradBlog was still promoting Curtis as a hero of their so-called “election integrity” crusade.
It’s a free country, and if people want to pay money for snipe hunts and wild-goose chases, that’s their business. Hell, it might even be legitimate political “activism” under IRS 501(c)4 rules. But when somebody starts denouncing such conspiracy-theory stuff as a hoax and a waste of time, as Seth Allen did, it is clearly wrong — if not actually illegal — to try to silence the critic via harassment.
Does a “real reporter” like Jen Preston have any interest in a fascinating story like this? Or will she continue being scooped by “a blogger out in the blogosphere somewhere”? You should ask her: She’s
@NYT_JenPreston on Twitter.
UPDATE: David Horowitz and Jacob Laskin:
Kimberlin’s seamless transition from prison inmate to the beneficiary of left-wing philanthropy offers a stark illustration of the radical course that progressive foundations have adopted.
Hat-tip: The Lonely Conservative.
UPDATE II: We are grateful to Michelle “Out in the Blogosphere” Malkin for reminding us about the real Velvet Revolution, which was a heartbreaker for Stalinist scum everywhere. Please link the Original Velvet Revolution blog — and read their explanation of why this matters.
UPDATE III: Clarification about Kimberlin’s lawsuit against Seth Allen, sent in an e-mail by . . . an informed reader:
First, Seth didn’t settle anything. He had a default judgment against him. Then on November 14, 2011 he had a hearing to determine damages. The $100 plus court costs was a judgment against him.
So he was found to have defamed Kimberlin because… he didn’t show up to fight. Then when he did show up to fight, it was only $100 damages. And the judge made it clear that it was only a nominal sum.
And frankly [Aaron Walker's] slight help contributed almost nothing to that victory. Which makes Kimberlin’s decision to come after [Walker] even more absurd.
There are many absurd things in the world, including the ruling of Judge Cornelius Vaughey that infringes First Amendment rights not merely for our informed reader, but ultimately restricts freedom for everybody else, too.
– Robert Stacy McCain, Whereabouts Unknown