The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Who Tipped BuzzFeed About Weiner’s Cyber-Girlfriend Sydney Leathers?

Posted on | July 24, 2013 | 116 Comments

My friend Donald Douglas this morning was rather shocked at how quickly I jumped onto the Sydney Leathers story, but I explained on Twitter what I said on the blog Tuesday night: Before I ever heard of Sydney Leathers, the BuzzFeed article was already a banner headline at Drudge, so there wasn’t really anything left to debate. Certainly I wasn’t “outing” her. Ezra Dulis at Big Journalism was all “[redacted] this” and “[redacted] that,” as if ignoring the news could make it less newsworthy, but the news business just doesn’t work that way.

What I added to the story — on the basis of tips from a keen-eyed Twitter buddy — was that (a) Sydney Leathers is a former Obama campaign worker and (b) Sydney Leathers authored a 2011 petition that condemned Sarah Palin for “inciting violence.” That’s news.

If anyone wants to criticize BuzzFeed, they ought to ask: Where did they get the ID of Sydney Leathers? Was this just  a case of clever “investigative journalism” or was it — as I strongly suspect — the result of a tip from a source allied with Team Weiner?

This is not to say, however, that BuzzFeed should not have run with the story once they got that tip. Once you know somebody is shopping around that kind of info, you’re confronted with a kind of devil’s dilemma: “If I don’t take this scoop, somebody else will.”

Such dilemmas occur all the time in political reporting, where people with obvious motives offer you oppo-research materials.

Do you really want to turn up your nose at the offered dossier, knowing that if you do, you’ll probably find it reported in all its tawdry glory somewhere else? Remember that in 2008, there were reporters for major news organizations who knew about the reports of John Edwards’ extramarital affair, but wrongly dismissed them as “tabloid gossip.”

I’ve got a particular interest in the question of who ID’d Sydney Leathers because, for months, Ladd Ehlinger Jr. has entertained the possibility that the harassment of Brett Kimberlin’s enemies was somehow being funded by supporters of Anthony Weiner.

Speculation isn’t my business, but when you observe extraordinary behavior, you can’t preemptively rule out extraordinary motives.

One of the bloggers who did the most damage to Anthony Weiner during the 2011 scandal was Patterico who — just coincidentally, FYI — was also a target of relentless harassment by the obscure alliance of forces that we call Team Kimberlin. Today, Patterico returns to the saga with a devastating timeline of how Weiner’s enablers made this latest scandal possible, and don’t miss this:

And, disturbingly for a guy who was talking about “cape and tights” to a high school girl in Delaware — a grooming line he had used with an adult woman with whom he had sexted — Weiner asks Sydney Leathers if her “pussy” is “smooth” . . .

Oh, my goodness. That seems rather weird, eh?

And while the New York Times sees a pattern, they apparently can’t be bothered to notice that pattern.

Do we know anyone else reputed to have a similar interest in young girls? Seems to ring a bell for some reason . . .

UPDATE: Linked at American Powerthanks! — and welcome, Instapundit readers! Since this involves a mass readership who may be unfamiliar with the background to which I’ve alluded, let me briefly rehash what regular readers of this blog already know:

The seeming convergence of (a) Brett Kimberlin’s Enemies List and (b) a number of bloggers — including Ace of Spades and Lee Stranahan — who had written about WeinerGate could be explained as entirely coincidental. But there were reports that Team Weiner, in planning his political comeback effort, had engaged the services of various lawyers, researchers and consultants. Those of us who know how politics works behind the scenes are well aware that money is fungible: If Politician W hires Consulting Firm X for $20,000, this firm may then hire Freelance Researcher Y for $5,000 and Internet Operative Z for $3,000 on a basis of confidentiality, so that the activities of Y and Z cannot be traced to X, and Politician W then has clean hands (and plausible deniability) if Y and Z get caught red-handed.

Also: Progressives into young girls? Probably just a coincidence.

 


Bookmark and Share

Comments