The Other McCain

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Skepticism, Balance and Error: A Brief Note on Kimberlin-Rauhauser Apologists

Posted on | November 20, 2012 | 21 Comments

Brett Kimberlin could have been sentenced to 230 years in federal prison

Evil Blogger Lady calls attention to Charles Johnson’s endorsement of a rather elaborate defense of Brett Kimberlin and Neal Rauhauser. CJ links a 3,200-word post by Crooks and Liars contributor “Karoli” that is perhaps worthy of a point-by-point fisking, which I have neither the time nor the inclination to provide at this point. However, I will briefly note four points:

  1. Karoli’s purpose is to exculpate Kimberlin and Rauhauser, and she willfully ignores evidence of their wrongdoing.
  2. Karoli replicates the Kimberlin-Rauhauser “accuse the accusers” strategy, publishing negative information (including falsehoods) about the targets, which is (a) irrelevant to the truth of what Kimberlin and Rauhauser have done, but (b) serves to undermine the credibility of the witnesses and victims of wrongdoing by Kimberlin and Rauhauser.
  3. 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.”
  4. To justify her defense of Kimberlin-Rauhauser, Karoli cites previous defenses of them by unreliable sources.

On this fourth point, let’s cite two examples. Karoli quotes what she calls “a really well-done post” in July by Salon’s Alex Pareene:

Basically you have a large group of people who receive a great deal of joy from pretending to be the victims of unprovoked and terrible persecution, and they are united against an incredibly litigious narcissist — possibly because he is attempting to block them from exposing his past through intimidation, or possibly because they’re attempting to block him from exposing malfeasance by the activist right. Or maybe a little of both.

Pareene did zero reporting on that article, although he easily could have. I had been on the story for six weeks at that point. Pareene knows me personally and could have contacted me, and I could have put him in direct communication with those whom he accused of “pretending to be victims.” Instead, Pareene glibly dismissed the whole thing as a bunch of silly people squabbling on the Internet.

If her citation of Pareene’s dismissive non-reporting served Karoli’s exculpatory purpose, still more did she reveal her motives by quoting an August post by Matt Osborne:

They made Neal Rauhauser into a left-wing supervillain because they wanted and needed one so badly. And for a moment, right wing bloggers seemed to finally be picking on someone their own size, because no one could find Rauhauser to engage him in “lawfare.” So they wrote with what little information they had, embellished and inflated it, and called the whole fiasco their finest hour.

This is what poker players would call a “tell,” because Matt Osborne is an active accomplice of Neal Rauhauser. It was Osborne who, in order to serve Rauhauser’s goal of portraying himself as the victim of a conspiracy by associates of the late Andrew Breitbart, created an audio file claiming that Brandon Darby was responsible for the “SWATting” of Patterico. This claim is a deliberate lie, as absurd as it is implausible and if — as Patterico has suggested — Rauhauser was himself involved in the July 2011 SWATtings of Mike Stack and Patterico, then Rauhauser’s promotion of this false accusation against Darby amounts to obstruction of justice in that investigation.

Furthermore, Karoli seems not to realize that much of the “evidence” that she cites in support of her conspiracy-theory explanation is the product of Kimberlin and Rauhauser’s own unlawful action. This “evidence” comes from a vast trove of e-mail communications supplied by Aaron Walker in his Virginia lawsuit against Brett Kimberlin, Neal Rauhauser and Ron Brynaert. The judge in the case ordered this evidence sealed and yet Kimberlin — who himself has failed to comply with Walker’s discovery requests — provided these documents to Rauhauser, who then selectively released portions of e-mails, falsely claiming that they prove his own conspiracy theories.

A journalist must be skeptical, to keep in mind that there are always things he doesn’t know, and avoid false assumptions about these “known unknowns.” Having spent months engaged in this story, and having seen extensive evidence of Kimberlin and Rauhauser’s manipulations — of which I’ve published a scarce fraction — my skepticism prevents me from ruling out any speculative claim anyone might make against them. But I don’t repeat every wild-ass claim made by others, just as I don’t publish all of my own suspicions.

It is a false journalistic “balance” that lends credence to the self-serving defenses offered by wrongdoers, especially when those defenses amount to claiming that the victims were deserving of wrong.

Knowing far more than Karoli of what has transpired in this case, I consider every claim made by Kimberlin and Rauhauser to be a deliberate lie until proven otherwise. Kimberlin is a convicted perjurer who has been described as a con man, and Rauhauser’s habitual dishonesty is so easily demonstrated that I do not hestitate to say of him, as Mary McCarthy said of Lillian Hellman, that every word he says is a lie, including “and” and “the.”

The motive for Rauhauser’s deceit is obvious enough to anyone with common sense, but as a journalist, I am content to let the wheels of justice continue turning slowly, knowing they grind exceedingly fine.

Al Capone finally went to prison for tax evasion, you know.

As Rauhauser is himself a co-defendant in Walker’s lawsuit, his publication of e-mails obtained from the discovery in the case almost certainly exposes him to a contempt of court charge. As reported yesterday, Walker’s attorney has filed a motion for a default judgment against Rauhauser, and has also given notice that Kimberlin has breached the court-ordered seal on discovery in the case.

The next hearing in that case is scheduled Dec. 4, and what Karoli is evidently attempting to do is to assist Kimberlin and Rauhauser in their effort to falsely malign Walker and others — “to try the case in the media,” as it were — in advance of the court’s judgment. Whatever purpose that might serve Kimberlin and Rauhauser, I doubt it will ultimately prevent justice from being done, and it does not deserve to be called “journalism.”

Karoli has made an error in trusting unreliable sources. Kimberlin and Rauhauser have also made an error in thinking, as Glenn Reynolds says, that they can out-crazy Stacy McCain. Their repeated attempts to scare me away from this story only confirm my original hunch, the product of more than a quarter-century in the news business, that this is a story of tremendous significance.



21 Responses to “Skepticism, Balance and Error: A Brief Note on Kimberlin-Rauhauser Apologists”

  1. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    November 20th, 2012 @ 11:58 am

    Thanks for the link. Great rebuttal.

  2. JeffS
    November 20th, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

    Karoli has made an error in trusting unreliable sources.

    Likely because she herself is unreliable.

  3. Monitor2112
    November 20th, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

    Great coverage. I’ve been following this story since just before the big post by Aaron Walker….and I will take court transcripts, actual motions filed and honest testimony over speculation and selective release of emails any day.

  4. Stephen Michael Kellat
    November 20th, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

    I am waiting for the full *printed* book to come out on this. I’d buy such.

  5. Bob Belvedere
    November 20th, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

    A big ‘Thank Your’ for keeping on this story, Stacy.

    And high praise for John Hoge for his dogged work and analysis.

  6. robertstacymccain
    November 20th, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

    People keep telling me, “You should write a book,” but none of the people telling me that are publishers waving five-figure checks under my nose.

  7. robertstacymccain
    November 20th, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

    Indeed, Hoge’s patient labors are praiseworthy.

  8. Adjoran
    November 20th, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

    Do publishers still do that? One might suspect they had learned their lesson after the whole Barrett Brown affair . . .

  9. Adjoran
    November 20th, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

    You can skip the whole dead-tree thing with Amazon’s e-books, which sell cheaply and cut out the thieving middlemen

  10. Dianna Deeley
    November 20th, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

    Keep going; this is great reporting (with some clearly identified opinion).

  11. Dianna Deeley
    November 20th, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

    Sorry, I don’t have that kind of money, or I’d wave my checkbook at you.

  12. WJJ Hoge
    November 20th, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

    Thanks, but I’m just a blogger who can easily get to the courthouses to follow the action.

  13. richard mcenroe
    November 20th, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

    Meanwhile, while you’re being too smart to write an e-book, Kurt Schlichter is raking in the shekels off them, as is FrankJ.

  14. egd
    November 20th, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

    How about 2 figures? I could be tempted to go as high as 3.

  15. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    November 20th, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

    WJJ, You Rock (in a good way).

  16. Bob Belvedere
    November 20th, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

    It’s much more than that and we know it.

  17. richard mcenroe
    November 20th, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

    Stacy: all those old posts just sitting there sucking up blogspace? Not posts. Chapter drafts. Shekels. Raking. Them. In.

  18. Zapem ?
    November 21st, 2012 @ 1:22 am

    derp, wrong page.

  19. Dustin
    November 21st, 2012 @ 10:03 am

    Standing up to these people, telling the truth about them, means putting yourself at risk of being harassed or attacked.

    You had a choice and decided to stand against what’s wrong. I believe all good men would have done the same in whatever way they are able, but I also think good men are a rare commodity.

  20. @Karoli: Weiner Truther? And Other Questions of Remaining Interest : The Other McCain
    November 23rd, 2012 @ 12:30 am

    […] 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 […]

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    December 4th, 2012 @ 10:48 am

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