Posted on | October 30, 2013 | 39 Comments
Bill Schmalfeldt ranting, 2011. (Image via Thomas Anderson at Vimeo)
“Bill Schmalfeldt doesn’t have principles. Bill Schmalfeldt doesn’t have values. Bill Schmalfeldt doesn’t have beliefs. Bill Schmalfeldt has enemies, and then nothing, a black and dank and empty void of sullenness.”
– Ken White, Popehat, Aug. 6
Arguing with a sociopath is generally a waste of time, and if you dedicated yourself to exposing every malicious lie Bill Schmalfeldt tells, you would never have time for anything else. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t call my attention to Schmalfeldt’s compulsive dishonesty and, while I know many readers have grown weary of hearing about his constant vile behavior, occasionally he does something so hatefully false that I simply cannot ignore it.
Bill Schmalfeldt has a habit of getting himself banned. He got banned from Daily Kos because of his grossly offensive anal rape “satire,” and has been repeatedly banned from the Examiner. In September, Schmalfeldt attempted to sneak back onto the Examiner as “Lester Klemper,” and when his unwelcome presence was (predictably) rejected, he unleashed obscenity-strewn threats of vengeance:
As I said at the time, this is typical Schmafeldt: The Dire Warning of Terrible Consequences — dreadful woe shall befall ye whom he hates.
What followed instead was Schmalfeldt’s complete humiliation at the Oct. 16 hearing on John Hoge’s peace order, and the subsequent rejection of Schmalfeldt’s appeal in the case. Keep in mind that, prior to the Oct. 16 hearing, Schmalfeldt had repeatedly boasted that he would prove Hoge guilty of perjury (!) with the predicted result that Hoge would leave the courtroom in handcuffs.
Threaten, threaten, threaten. Fail, fail, fail. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Meanwhile, however, Schmalfeldt had announced that he would begin writing for DigitalJournal.com. Schmalfeldt’s evident motive was that being published somewhere beside his own blog was necessary to Schmalfeldt’s defense of his harassment as “journalism.”
Of course, this was futile: Maryland’s harassment statute doesn’t have a Journalism Exemption. Schmalfeldt never got a chance to argue this in the Hoge v. Schmalfeldt hearing. Nevertheless, Schmalfeldt was a diligent DigitalJournal.com contributor, writing 56 articles between Sept. 25 and Oct. 27, generating 19,000 page-views. (That’s not bad, really, although by comparison this month I’ve published more than 150 posts with more than 300,000 page-views.)
It looked like Bill had found a home at DigitalJournal.com, but then he screwed it up because, as Ken White said, Bill has enemies.
Vengeance on his enemies is Schmalfeldt’s raison d’être and, after a month of being on his best behavior at DigitalJournal.com, he fell off the wagon and used an Oct. 25 article about the arrest of Alabama smear-blogger Roger Shuler to suggest that somehow Ali Akbar and I were responsible for Shuler’s arrest. That prompted Ali to write an e-mail to DigitalJournal.com publisher David Silverberg, and this false accusation was deleted from Schmalfeldt’s article.
But then in a follow-up article on Oct. 27, after name-checking me again, Schmalfeldt made a nameless reference to Lee Stranahan, which has been preserved by Aaron Walker:
Right wing bloggers don’t even need to have something actually happen to them to get the right wing blogosphere up in arms.
One writer for the extremist right wing blog Breitbart.com claimed a phony rape threat from a man with a progressive neurological disorder who lived 1,400 miles away from him. He sent the police to the man’s house, then cried to whoever would listen that he needed money, lots of money, so he could relocate his family. Right wing bloggers from coast to coast came to his aid, exhorting their readers to raise money for this man, who continued with his claim of death and rape threats from a man who would have to ask his wife to drive him the 1,400 miles to commit this imaginary crime the right wing blogger created in his mind.
I wrote to Silverberg asking that my name be removed from that article, and the above-quoted passage was also removed, so that all that remains of the Stranahan reference in the article is this:
In this climate where a right wing blogger can lie about a threat that never existed and raise thousands of dollars to “move” — and then not even change apartments — the left wing media establishment (such as it is) should be shamefaced over their lack of concern about an older man who is nursing his bruises behind bars while his wife remains barricaded in her house.
Ridiculous. You can read Aaron Worthing’s account and decide for yourself whether the rape threat was “phony,” and you can also read Stranahan’s own account, “Bill Schmalfeldt: The Stranger Who Harassed My Family.” Decide for yourself whether what Schmalfeldt was doing could be described as Ethical Journalism.
What was happening at DigitalJournal.com repeated a familiar pattern: Schmalfeldt was trying use his access to somebody else’s platform to pursue his personal enemies, the unprofessional behavior that got him banned from the Examiner in December 2011:
I am yet again forced to discuss your column after you continued to (1) make your OBN articles personal, rather than talking about what such an organization is attempting to do and its potential implications, and (2) continued to reply in an antagonistic manner within the comments sections / Facebook.
Due to the continued disregard for projecting yourself in a professional manner, I am forced to suspend your access to our publishing platform again.
This was not how I hoped things would work out, but I’m no longer in a position to justify the amount of effort we as an organization have to put in to mitigate the complaints your work is constantly receiving. I wish you well on your blog.-
Director, Northeast & Mid-Atlantic Regions
Bingo: “[T]he amount of effort we as an organization have to put in to mitigate the complaints your work is constantly receiving.”
That was in December 2011, when Schmalfeldt was pursuing his insane jihad against “Operation Burn Notice” (OBN), a Facebook group that opposed the recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
Months before I ever heard of the guy, Schmalfeldt’s habits were making him obnoxious to management at the Examiner. Now, in October 2013, he has repeated the pattern at DigitalJournal.com, recycling his smears against Stranahan, Akbar and me with no legitimate journalistic purpose. And today, apparently in a snit because his articles were being edited, Schmalfeldt announced his resignation by publishing an e-mail exchange with Dave Silverberg:
First, let me express my gratitude for taking me back, I appreciate it very much and have tried very hard to abide by your rules. I have no problem with you or the site, and I will always have a soft place in my heart for you guys.
It is clear that I can’t turn from side to side without being attacked by the trolls who have decided that I have to be denied from doing any writing anywhere for anybody. Nor am I particularly agreeable to having to defend myself to my editor whenever one of these trolls raises a stink with you. This is how they are trying to get me fired. I choose not to grant them that trophy.
So, with great regret, and to save you and your publication any further difficulty with these criminals (not hyperbole), I offer you my resignation. If you choose to accept it, please advise.
And again, I am an appreciative and humble servant.
Thanks again for the opportunity.
We respectfully accept your resignation, and we sympathize with your situation. They are relentless, those people following you around online.
Thanks for your time on the site, and we hope you still check out the news content and vote and comment, as you like.
Note your Digital Journalist status has been removed.
Wishing you the best,
This is such a steaming heap of nonsense, I scarcely know where to begin debunking it. Schmalfeldt was not being “attacked by the trolls.” Rather, he was using his DigitalJournal.com access to make defamatory accusations against three innocent people who just happen, coincidentally, to be targets of Brett Kimberlin’s wrath.
Bill’s version of events is the exact opposite of truth: He was not being attacked, he was attacking. He is not a victim, but a victimizer.
Contrary to his claim that “trolls” want to prevent Schmalfeldt “from doing any writing anywhere for anybody,” nobody paid any attention to his DigitalJournal.com writing until there were specific complaints made by specific people about two specific articles.
As far as anyone “trying to get [Schmalfeldt] fired,” that description fits exactly one person: Bill Schmalfeldt, whose repetition of his previously demonstrated bad habits was the sole cause of the problem.
However, notice — as did Aaron Walker — how in attacking Lee Stranahan, Schmalfeldt referred to himself in the third person as “a man with a progressive neurological disorder.” Were DigitalJournal.com readers informed at any time that the author of that article was the same person who made the “phony rape threat” against Stranahan?
Because . . . ETHICS!
So, having tried unsuccessfully to use DigitalJournal.com as a platform for pursuing his own vindictive obsessions, now Schmalfeldt dishonestly claims victimhood as an excuse for his latest failure.
And isn’t crazy “a progressive neurological disorder”?