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May 24, 2011

DouchebagGate: Daily Caller Attempts To Whore For Attention and, Unfortunately For Their Future Prospects, Succeeds

I'm not going to link the traffic-whoring effort.

It's cheap. Do people at the Daily Caller talk smack online? I don't know any of them but of course they do. So does everyone.

This person, Rebecca Mansour, talks smack about a blogger (Erick Erickson), and about Mitt Romney, and about Shannyn Moore, who, I'm guessing from context, is one of those anti-Palin liberals, I guess one who pays to appear on a local radio show.

I don't think Mitt Romney cares that a Palin aide talked about him. Besides, Romney's aides aren't exactly agnels.

I don't think Erick Erickson gives a fig that someone on line called him a "douchebag."

I'm sure that Shannyn Moore will talk about it but she has only one topic so she needs material.

The shittiest thing the Daily Caller does here is publish Mansour's tweets about (I presume) Bristol, which amount to, basically, "Look, she's a dumb kid, a teenager, what are you going to do? But she loves her son."

And the DC published that. For no earthy reason, except to embarrass Mansour and, by extension, Palin.

Let me weigh in: It's embarrassing for the DC.

Let me tell Rebecca Mansour something: I've never talked shit about her in my email or tweets but that's just because I don't know her. If I knew her, there's a 65% chance I would talk some smack about her.

I talk smack about a lot of people. So do you. So does everyone.

We generally rely on the idea that we are not talking to actual creeps-- in the more evocative meaning of the word, pale nasty things that skulk around our garbage and windows -- looking to send some basically news-free but personally embarrassing emails to another creep working in a creep's media outlet.

The other thing we rely on is, even if we were talking to such a creep, no media organization would decide that someone's private, meaningless emails meant a goddamn thing and would tell the creep sending them along to peddle it elsewhere.

Not Johnathan Strong of the DC, of course. He cooks up a desperate narrative to attempt to make this seem newsworthy.

The reason? She lied when asked about the private messages Johnathan Strong was pawing through.

When originally contacted by TheDC about the messages, Mansour lied and said none of them were from her. Mansour said she had already encountered the messages and accurately recalled the Twitter handle for their source.

“I did actually send him one direct message. He was asking for – it was like something really innocuous – he was just asking for information about something. And I just replied and said, ‘no’ or something like that. And then the kid then used that and started to create direct messages. And that was like a real serious thing for me because I realized anyone can do that with like a screencap,” Mansour explained.

TheDC then took steps to authenticate whether the messages were real, including logging into a Hotmail account that received email announcements from Twitter with the content of the direct messages in them. Two forensic computer analysts verified that the emails had been sent from Twitter’s servers after searching the message source code for signs of forgery.

Presented with this evidence, Mansour changed her story from an initial denial to anger (“this is really kind of skeezy”), bargaining (“can I just appeal to you to leave the Bristol stuff alone?”), and sadness at the consequences of her words (“this is going to destroy my reputation simply because people will say, ‘why were you sending a direct [message to a Palin activist]?’”).

In some instances, Mansour admitted to sending the messages and recalled additional context about what she was thinking when she sent them.

“If you’re asking whether I called Erick Erickson a douchebag once? Absolutely, I probably did, because he’s written some nasty things about my boss.” Minutes later she said, “I believe at the time when I wrote that comment about Erickson he had written a snotty piece about Palin.”

Finally, rather than answer questions about the context of the messages, Mansour sent a short statement saying the messages were part of “personal private conversations between myself and someone who I thought was a friend.”

Gripping shit, that tick-tock. It's like an exciting version of All the President's Men, you know, like that, but with the sweep of importance and relevance.

Follow the douchebag.

Nice work, Johnathan Strong! You caught someone I never heard of calling someone I did hear of but only a few times a "douchebag."

Calling someone a douchebag.

On the internet.

Why if that don't take all!

Kind of skeezy? Yeah... just a little bit.

So who is the party that should be ashamed and embarrassed here?

Mansour, for doing what everyone in the world does?

Or Johnathan Strong and the Daily Caller, for doing what no one else in the world would think to do?

I just met Tucker Carlson and he seemed like an okay guy but I gotta tell ya, I gotta think he signed off on this, and... why?

This wet little fart of a story? Is traffic really that low?

Part of the reason a story like this runs is that Palin emotion is way too high. On both sides. And I say that, knowing full well I melted down a bit today. Four fingers are pointing back as I point the finger.

And that means that a story like this, which would literally never be published regarding anyone else, because it's too filthy and not nearly interesting enough (hey, Johnathan, quick tip: One time Patterico and I were talking and we called some guy we know a "heel"! A "heel," can you imagine that?!) to justify the filth, gets the okay.

Because all the anti-Palin sites will link it, and all the pro-Palin sites will link it, or at least read it.

But this is not a story. The fact that Palin generates heat does not transform non-newsworthy stories into scoops.

It turns the DC into a joke. A bottom dweller. I'd say "Like TMZ" but TMZ breaks actual stories that are kind of interesting about people we've heard about.

The DC breaks them about Rebecca Mansour, who I'm sure is a nice person but isn't even a major behind-the-scenes player in Washington.

Just for hits, they publish someone's tweets. Tweets that contain nothing at all unusual or interesting or newsworthy.

Then they strain to spin them as topical (despite the fact that most of them are from a year ago).

Information added to the world: Yes, it's true. People talk shit about other people in emails, when they think such emails are private. They call some people "douchebag," for example.

For the love of God they didn't even catch her saying something unexpected.

You know what would have been newsworthy? "I don't think my boss knows what she's doing."

Newsworthy. Worth, I think, exposing someone's private emails for.

Trouble is...? Said nothing of the sort. Called a blogger who annoyed her a douchebag, vented at a rival of her boss, offered some gossip about her boss' non-entity persecutor.

This is what we now know. Thanks to Johnathan Strong, super-sleuth, and the Daily Caller, which has decided that being a shit website that no one cares enough is a good enough ambition.

And she should be embarrassed, huh? And Palin should be scandalized, huh?

Nah I don't think so.

Because the Daily Caller apparently really needs hits, I'm dashing off an email to DrewM. right now calling Erick Erickson a dirty word.

What word?

Not saying. You'll have to wait for Johnathan Strong's next expose for that.


The Medium Is The Message: Let's consider the news value here.

Consider, hypothetically, that Rebecca Mansour had said something actually newsworthy.

The DC wouldn't make the story a tick-tock about how they heroically checked tweets against a Hotmail account, that they courageously verified that some creep had (likely) flirted with a girl and then outed her private chats.

No, if she said something interesting, the interesting thing she said would be the story. Like, hypothetically:

THE DAILY CALLER has learned exclusively that Todd Palin is "very against" a run by his wife for the presidency.

See, when you actually have a scoop, you report that scoop. That scoop is what we call "the story."

There is no story here. There is nothing they can put in a headline, nothing they can put that they've "exclusively" learned.

The story is just we hacked some girl's Twitter account, check it out!

The "story" is just the story of how they got the tweets, with a link to a dump of them.

The story isn't anything in the tweets. Oh, they pretend. They really jack up the news value of someone calling someone else a douchebag on line.

That's the "story," to the extent there is one. And, unfortunately for the Daily Caller, this story is about the Daily Caller, not Rebecca Mansour. Not Sarah Palin. Not Mitt Romney and not Erick Erickson.

This is a story by Johnathan Strong, published by Tucker Carlson, that is essentially a confession about a shady panty-sniffer named Johnathan Strong and his pimp Tucker Carlson.

The medium is the message here. All that happened here is that the Daily Caller hacked someone's twitter account, and bizarrely, they want you to know this fact.

Personally, I would have shut the fuck up about the whole thing, but that's just me.

Explanation: The article calls them "tweets" but I assume this means the private, hidden "Direct Messages," which are like emails through a twitter account.

Normal tweets are public, of course, so... none of these are her tweets. We'd already have seen those.


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posted by Ace at 02:43 AM

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