Please visit the new home of Majikthise at bigthink.com/blogs/focal-point.

« Panda Sex | Main | Cadbury chocolate may have poisoned 40 »

June 24, 2006

Zengerle's sketchy sources

(Update: Welcome, Glenn Greenwald readers, here's my follow-up post on Zengerle's admission that he printed bogus emails.)

Lately, Jason Zengerle of The New Republic has been frantically trolling the blogosphere, insinuating that Kos rules the sphere with an iron fist.

We all need a little extra attention from time to time. Besides, trolling is a central plank of TNR's new business model. Zengerle's colleague Lee Siegel is driving up his hit count by saying of the liberal blogosphere: "It's hard fascism with a Microsoft face", and again.

It's all fun and games until someone starts fabricating sources. Glenn Greenwald notes that Zengerle claims that three sources sent him the same Steve Gilliard email. Unfortunately for Zengerle, the letter turns out to be a fake. Gilliard didn't write that letter and no such missive was ever posted to the Townhouse listerv.

So, how did Zengerle get ahold of three copies of the same fake email? The most charitable explanation is that he got egregiously burned by the same forger who sent him three copies of the fake, purporting to be different people. If so, Zengerle should burn that source, or if he doesn't know the source, admit that he'll publish anything from anyone. The second-most charitable explanation is that he got one fake email and lied about how many sources he had. The most disturbing possibility is that Zengerle fabricated the letter himself. It's time for Zengerle to burn his source, or resign. Somebody's gotta show Jason Leopold how it's done, and it might as well be Stephen Glass's old fact-checker Jason Zengerle.

Update: Jedmunds of Pandagon weighs in, and Steve Gilliard responds.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c61e653ef00d83464879269e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Zengerle's sketchy sources:

» Misunderstanding the Criticism from the Blogosphere from Pacific Views
The Kos-TNR face off provides some real insight into the problem that the blogosphere has with The New Republic. It is clear the TNR has become unhinged with its ever expanding criticism of the blogging world which culminated into a... [Read More]

» Misunderstanding the Criticism from the Blogosphere from Pacific Views
The Kos-TNR face off provides some real insight into the problem that the blogosphere has with The New Republic. It is clear the TNR has become unhinged with its ever expanding criticism of the blogging world which culminated into a... [Read More]

» Misunderstanding the Criticism from the Blogosphere from Pacific Views
The Kos-TNR face off provides some real insight into the problem that the blogosphere has with The New Republic. It is clear the TNR has become unhinged with its ever expanding criticism of the blogging world which culminated into a... [Read More]

» Sunday News and Blogorama from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
There's a lot going on today: Crooks and Liars has finally left Radioland behind and moved to Wordpress. The site looks the same but will be so much easier for us to navigate and John to manage. Jane's sister writes... [Read More]

» Sunday Blogorama and Open Thread from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
There's a lot going on today, feel free to weigh in on these or other topics: Crooks and Liars has finally left Radioland behind and moved to Wordpress. The site looks the same but will be so much easier for... [Read More]

» Protecting the Emperor from SEIXON
Glenn Greenwald attempts to redirect attention from the revelations that Kos is directing a liberal blogosphere coordination effort by concocting strawmen about Jason Zengerle's admission that one of the e-mails he printed was fabricated. [Read More]

» The Ohio Kossola Connection from protein wisdom
The liberal Buckeye State Blog is not at all impressed with the performances of Kos/Armstrong in Ohio nor are they falling in line with Greenwald, et al., and trying to change the subject of the Ko$ola story to the ethic... [Read More]

Comments

Oh, my god, that last line is hilarious. You rock.

Or he could have gotten the same fake e-mail from three different Republican operatives, working in concert.

some guys will pay substantial amounts of money to get beaten like that, lindsey. that's so going to leave a mark.

Zengerle could check out the IBM Selectric typeface in the emails he received.

Nowhere in his original piece does the odious shitpail Zengerle claim that he recieved the "Gilliard" e-mail from three sources.

He quoted from three separate Townhouse listserv e-mails--including one from Glenn Greenwald--and claimed that they were from three sources.

He could have received one of the e-mails each from three seperate sources. AFAIK, only the "Gilliard" e-mail has been declared by anybody to be a bogey.

Thus Zengerle may have only had one bad source.

Effwit, that's not quite correct. Zengerle says:

[...] let me reprint some of the e-mails that were going to the "Townhouse" list, according to three sources, before Kos sent out the e-mail I quoted in my original post on this topic.

What he is claiming is that three sources delivered to him "some of the e-mails" that he then goes on to print. The obvious implication is that he cross-checked these sources, and therefor the information is trustable. Zengerle may claim he phrased himself poorly in order to arrive at your conclusion, but that would be at the cost of admitting that he misled readers, either by intent or by just happening to be sloppy in a way that did so.

here's a link that talks about the "emails" whecher they are fake or not you decide...

http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2006/06/glenn_greenwald.html

but at least let's act like adults and stop the egregious name calling...it makes you sound less like an intelligent adult and more like a spoiled child.

How about this comment from Gilliard on an earlier post on his blog:


HaloScan.com - Comments

As for having my e-mail quoted in a subsequent piece in TNR, I will only say that someone violated my confidences, and that TNR's ethics are for shit.

steve_gilliard | 06.23.06 - 9:46 am | #



He is complaining about his email being quoted by TNR. The one that you and Greenwald claim he didn't write.

He is complaining about his email being quoted by TNR. The one that you and Greenwald claim he didn't write.

Er, no. But nice attempt at taking it out of context.

TNR only quoted one of Gilliard's emails -- the one that he complained about in that comment. You know, the one that Greenwald says doesn't exist.

How is that "out of context?"

You could, you know, try reading what Steve has to say about it:

Only problem: I have no record of sending such an e-mail to the Townhouse list, Kos, Armstrong, who did not participate in any of the discussions, or anyone else. I didn't send any e-mail with that phrase at all. There's a similar phrase sent to Hubris Sonic a month before on an entirely different topic, and the Greenwald e-mail

To be fair, I told Glenn I disagreed with the characterization of it being false, because I may have express some kind of sentiment close to that. The issue to me is not that Zengerle created it out of whole cloth, but if he got it from a source that he was too lazy and sloppy to confirm it with me. Let me be clear, I didn't deny writing the e-mail. I said that I had no record of writing such an e-mail with that phrase, to the list on that day.

I told Zengerle the same thing and that he needs to provide the provenance of the e-mail so I can confirm or deny it. If it turns out I didn't write those words, I'm going to write Franklin Foer, the editor of the New Republic and demand a retraction and an apology.

I write thousands of words a day between e-mails, IM, posts and comments. It is easy to lose a phrase or e-mail in that, which I why I can't call it a fabrication. It may be taken from another e-mail, or a post, but I cannot find those words in my mailbox

This means he needs to provide me with the entire e-mail in context.

Steve Gilliard is not sure if he sent the eMail or not:

I write thousands of words a day between e-mails, IM, posts and comments. It is easy to lose a phrase or e-mail in that, which I why I can't call it a fabrication. It may be taken from another e-mail, or a post, but I cannot find those words in my mailbox

This means he needs to provide me with the entire e-mail in context.

Now, I could have claimed to have not written it, and then say I forgot if it came up, but I'm not going to play that way. I was taught journalistic ethics at NYU, and I still practice them. I told Zengerle I couldn't find the words, and that Greenwald had a piece up, because I'm not going to sandbag anyone, I'm not going to make shit up and I'm not going to leave anyone unable to respond. Greenwald is unable to post now, so I may not hear from him until tomorrow

Let's wait and see what happens.

How is that "out of context?"

Oh, as others have commented, by being out of context?

You're in much better company at Tom Maguire's circle-jerk, commis-chef. Go stir up the shit there.

The most charitable explanation is that he got egregiously burned by the same forger who sent him three copies of the fake, purporting to be different people. If so, Zengerle should burn that source, or if he doesn't know the source, admit that he'll publish anything from anyone. The second-most charitable explanation is that he got one fake email and lied about how many sources he had. The most disturbing possibility is that Zengerle fabricated the letter himself.

What shocks me is the utter failure of imagination by the same group of people who can conjure such elaborate Cheney-Rove theories.

The consensus seems to be that Zengerle excerpted three authentic emails (Kos, Greenwald, Stark) and one bum one.

Does anyopne really think Zengerle was forwarded exactly four emails, one of which was fake?

Or that he got three, and really felt like he had no story without the fourth (and shortest excerpt)?

How about this guess (and I am not a techno-guy, nor am familiar with this Listserv) - Zengerle got forwarded a longish email containg lots of back and forth from lots of people (I have some like that in my inbox).

The Gilliard excerpt was in that email, but misattributed - it came from someone else, or someone wrote that "I talked to Gilliard, who told me that...", or someone wrote "I emailed to Gilliard that I agreed with him that...".

In any of those cases, it was an error by Zengerle, but a lot smaller than even the most charitable guess above, which involved a nefarious forger.

Gilliard: "TNR quoted my email .. violated my confidence."

Beyerstein: "Still fake."
Greenwald: "Still fake."
ahem: "circle jerk shit"

The Left prevails again in yet another reasoned blogosphere debate.

Nicely argued, Commie. Way to address the counter-arguments.

Oh wait, did I say "address"? I meant "ignore."

Tom

If someone did a gmail sort on Gilliard, that email would come up, whether or not Gilliard sent it. Unless, of course, it was on the same server where Karl Rove keeps his super secret emails about leaking spy's identities.

There may be a logical explanation. I, like a lot of other people, do think Zengerle owes his readers that explanation. Though his silence, amid the din of folks like David Brooks who seem to be working from the exact same talking points, is deafening.

On the 22nd of June, Zengerle wrote:

At the risk of engendering more charges that I'm violating the off-the-record nature of "Townhouse" (which, by the way, I'm not, since I am not a member of "Townhouse" and therefore am not bound by any off-the-record agreements, in the same way that any reporter who's leaked "confidential" documents is not bound to protect their confidentiality), let me reprint some of the e-mails that were going to the "Townhouse" list, according to three sources, before Kos sent out the e-mail I quoted in my original post on this topic. . . .

Also on the same day [June 18], the blogger Steve Gilliard wrote to the "Townhouse" list:

I dont see how this can be ignored. We should all write in defense of this once we know the facts. Jerome?

Zengerle published two real emails that actually appeared on Townhouse, correctly attributed to their authors. Glenn confirms that he wrote the email that Zengerle published and that Mike Stark's belonged to the same exchange. Steve Gilliard, Glenn Greenwald have searched their inboxes and confirmed that the third email never appeared on Townhouse. Nobody posted those words to that forum. Not Steve, nor any other Townhouse member.

Now, maybe Zengerle is playing fast and loose with the scope of his "three sources" claim. Maybe he got three sources to authenticate the Greenwald and Stark emails and only one (or zero) sources to vouch for the email falsely attributed to Gilliard-on-Townhouse.

Anyone on the listerv is in a position to search their inboxes and establish definitively whether those words were ever posted to the listerv, and, if so, by whom.

If Zengerle has any sources at all who belong to Townhouse, he was incredibly sloppy not to ask them to confirm all three emails, which any actual member could do with a few keystrokes. If his sources don't belong to Townhouse, they're not in a position to authenticate the emails.

So, Zengerle has a lot of explaining to do.

And, of course, if Gilliard had written the email to some other addressee, then that invalidates everything, everything, that Zengerle has written on this and makes him a pure Rovian shill.

You offer three explanations in your post, all focused on some evil liar somewhere. Maybe the addressee was mis-identified. Then again, only a wingnut troll like me would suggest such a far-fetched, explanation.

I know how to figure out what happened.

Let's consult an astrologer.
http://www.astroworld.us/archives/000026.html

There may be a logical explanation. I, like a lot of other people, do think Zengerle owes his readers that explanation. Though his silence, amid the din of folks like David Brooks who seem to be working from the exact same talking points, is deafening.

I am all in favor of an explanation as well.

As to the "deafening silence", I see two posts at "The Plank" today - one might almost think it is a weekend in the summertime and on one is home.

And Brooks picked up the Kos email, the authenticity of which does not seem to be in dispute.

My horoscope says "Lindsay Beyerstein is a credulous ass."

What shocks me is the utter failure of imagination by the same group of people who can conjure such elaborate Cheney-Rove theories.

Wow, the pot makes a flying visit to call the kettles. And brings in a few suppurating potlets as well. (Really, commis-chef, you can just get a letter from your poppa next time, instead of bringing him over.)

And Brooks picked up the Kos email, the authenticity of which does not seem to be in dispute.

Yes, and I'm sure that there was no backchannel co-ordination involved. Uh-huh. Sounds like Zengerle went running in tears to his daddy as well.

'Lee Siegel is driving up his hit count by saying of the liberal blogosphere: "It's hard fascism with a Microsoft face",'
He also won the award for redundancy.

It's a concerted effort to smear, swiftboat if you will, Kos. Did you read Brooks babbleing today? He calles Kos a Kingpin. It's so rediculous.

The comments to this entry are closed.