Posted on | November 23, 2012 | 35 Comments
“I am here today to again apologize for the personal mistakes I have made and the embarrassment I have caused.”
— Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), announcing his resignation from Congress, June 15, 2011
Two days ago, I called attention to an article by Karoli, a Crooks and Liars contributor, who wrote an article in defense of Neal Rauhauser and Brett Kimberlin. I made this point:
Karoli’s excuse-making amounts to a Rauhauser-influenced conspiracy theory, as she accuses Andrew Breitbart, Patrick “Patterico” Frey, Aaron Walker and others of engaging in a plot against Kimberlin and Rauhauser, which she calls a “Right-Wing Blueprint.”
This is important: Karoli is an intelligent progressive activist, a fluent writer viewed as a serious person, a valued member of the online Left. She is not a clown or a troll. Therefore, to find Karoli parroting Rauhauser’s version of events, including demonstrable falsehoods, is disturbing. Next thing you know, Karoli will be shouting into a webcam like Barrett Brown, ranting about HB Gary and Jennifer Emick.
Humor aside, it is to be remembered that Neal Rauhauser was one of the original “Weiner Truthers,” arguing that Anthony Weiner was the victim of some kind of hacker honey-trap masterminded by right-wingers. Rosie Gray of Buzzfeed, May 26, 2012:
Joseph Cannon describes the “weird subculture of bloggers”that sprung up around Weinergate.
Cannon was a more vocal proponent of the theory when the story broke, but “Their obsession with that scandal soon went way beyond Weiner, and perhaps even beyond conventional left-right politics,” he writes. “A very personal twilight war broke out.”
A major locus of modern Weiner trutherism is BreitbartUnmasked.com, a site “dedicated to unmasking the underbelly of Andrew Breitbart and his crew of rogues, criminals, wannabe journalists, various right wing extremists and the religious intolerant,” per its “About Us” section. Breitbart Unmasked features a large GIF of Breitbart’s face morphing into a mask, and lists the name of everyone in Breitbartworld, from editors of Breitbart.com to people only tangentially related.
One of its related Twitter accounts, @OccupyRebellion, regularly tweets about Weinergate and the alleged conspiracies therein.
Yeah. You criticize Neal Rauhauser, “Occupy Rebellion” is gonna get all up in your face on Twitter. So now look at this from Karoli’s article:
From the moment the Anthony Weiner scandal broke, Neal Rauhauser smelled a rat, and as it turns out, he was right. If you are Andrew Breitbart and information comes to you that there’s a certain loudmouthed New York Congressman who happens to have a propensity to flirt with young women online, you might give serious thought to providing a few “friendly” young women for him to flirt with.
No one doubts Anthony Weiner had a weakness for flirtation. Rauhauser doesn’t deny that. But that weakness was exploited by Andrew Breitbart in order to discredit and ultimately force Weiner into an early retirement. A few sock puppet girls, some provocative tweets, and away we go.
How James O’Keefe-ian. A Breitbart signature takedown with cooperation from the good Congressman himself.
I’m certain the Breitbots expected all left-wing outrage over the setup to evaporate when Rep. Weiner resigned. Remember Andrew Breitbart hijacking that press conference?
Yet. One person wouldn’t let it go, and that one person was Neal Rauhauser, who kept on with it and keeps on with it until this day.
Did you catch that? The article Karoli links as proving Neal was right? Rauhauser’s own Daily Kos diary from July 28, 2011, under his “Stranded Wind” alias, which begins this way:
I’ve been all over Patterico for the last several weeks, as he looks to be a pretty good candidate for the planner/operator behind Weinergate, but the other players have been getting attention, too.
Wow: Rauhauser’s own claim to have identified Patterico as orchestrating the (non-existent) right-wing conspiracy against Weiner is cited by Karoli as proof that Neal was right! So if Rauhauser were to assert that he once worked as a body double for Brad Pitt, Karoli would link that as “proof” of Neal’s muscular physique. This is an invalid circular argument which accepts mere assertion as “evidence.”
However, we can take Rauhauser at his word that he was “all over Patterico” in July 2011, as witness his Daily Kos diaries:
- July 4: Weinergate: Patterico’s Penalization
- July 4: Disingenuous Chart, Dishonest D.A. (Weinergate)
- July 17: Weinergate: Patterico’s Petulance
- July 19: Patterico’s Personal Pipsqueak
- July 23: In Which Patterico Imperils Breitbart
- July 25: Patterico’s Prattling Puppets
- July 27: Weinergate Perps Pay Dearly
Seven posts in the span of 23 days — why? Weiner confessed and resigned in mid-June 2011 and, since then, Weiner himself has never claimed that he was the victim of anything except his own stupidity.
Why, more than two weeks after Weiner’s admission of the unfortunate truth, would Rauhauser still be pushing the conspiracy theory explanation of WeinerGate and implausibly pretending that Patterico was to blame for it? It’s hard to explain by any normal logic. And what was it that made Patterico so peculiarly a target of Rauhauser’s wrath? Remember that on June 4, 2011 — nine days into the WeinerGate scandal — Rauhuser published this absurd claim without offering any evidence:
Congressman Weiner was stalked and set up by a Christian Infowar Militia cell based largely in Oklahoma City.
So, on June 4, Neal stakes his reputation on the (non-existent) “Christian Infowar Militia cell.” A month later, however, Neal is offering a new villain: Patrick “Patterico” Frey. How and why did Rauhauser change his mind? If there was no evidence that any Oklahoma-based “cell” stalked and “set up” Weiner — and Neal never offered anything to support that wild-eyed nonsense — what credibility did Rauhauser bring to his subsequent theory that Patterico was the secret mastermind, a claim for which Neal similarly never produced a scintilla of evidence? What could possibly explain the sudden shift in Rauhauser’s interests? Why should anyone believe anything Rauhauser has to say about any of this?
None of these obvious questions seem to have crossed Karoli’s mind. She simply accepts Neal’s finger-pointing at Patterico, without ever wondering why Patterico was singled out this way. Could it have something to do with “Alicia Pain,” the mysterious character who began cyberstalking Patterico after Weiner resigned? Patterico, June 30, 2011:
The person claiming to be “Jennifer George” who called Lee was a hoaxer.
There really was a person who threatened the real Jennifer George, and that person pretended to be Lee Stranahan.
That person hates Lee, and Breitbart.
I have been very busy and probably don’t know all the reasons why this couldn’t possibly be the case. So tell me.
UPDATE: Point #1 could be wrong, and the theory still holds.
UPDATE x2: I’m feeling better about the theory with each passing second.
“Alicia Pain” shows up in the comments, as do I: Someone linked my blog in the comments, sending traffic to my site that I noticed, so I showed up at Patterico’s to ask why Rauhauser was suspected of involvement in the whole “Jennifer George” incident — evidently an attempt to discredit Stranahan, who had been following up loose ends surrounding WeinerGate.
Three hours after Patterico brought up Rauhauser’s name in connection with “Jennifer George,” Patterico was SWATted.
Probably just a coincidence, I’m sure. Ask the Gaped Crusader.
UPDATE (Smitty): welcome, Instapundit readers!
UPDATE II: John Hoge says, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn up in the comments section.” My apologies to anyone confused by what’s going on down below. I try to avoid the “amateur detective” motif in blogging; I’m a journalist, not a cop or a spy.
UPDATE III: Linked by Patterico — thanks! – and since someone in the comments asked for a brief summary of Who’s Who in this twisted saga, I’ll direct you to Patterico’s July 12 post, “The Kimberlin Story: The Short Version.”
Now a Memeorandum thread.