Note: This diary was written in response to the questions drational posted this weekend and is not a response to the apology drational issued this morning. The apology has been noted. Greg is currently on his way to DC for the BBC.
First of all, I never received a single email from you -- just a notice from a friend that I was being attacked on Daily KOS by you. It would have been nice of you to at least to contact my office and ask me about your concerns before performing a full fledge public attack on one of my stories. A story that I have spent a ton of time, money, and resources on. I do not have much time but typically I have no problem answering questions that are asked of me and my work. With that said, I will answer your questions below and then must move on to other stories and pending deadlines.
I'll also point out on the offset that while you've spent, as you say, 10 minutes looking into this, my team has been following this particular aspect of elections research for over three years now and it is not our policy to hand over sources or publicly disclose documents related to our ongoing investigations -- that is just basic journalistic ethics and standards that is perhaps foreign to the blogosphere but is something you should consider before contemplating future attacks on journalists.
Who at BBC can confirm the 70,000 names on 50 caging lists that you described on your 5/23/07 press release?
My producer, editor and lawyer(s) whose contact information is not public other than what you will find at BBC's website.
Although this statement from your DailyKos diary of May 23, 2007:
BBC obtained 50 'caging' lists with 70,000 voters including large groups of servicemen. Was available on your website at the above address until this diary appeared, the content has been archived throughout the web, e.g. here, and here.
I've been having site issues -- not sure why it isn't available ... any suggestions?
In another of your website pages, Still alive link, you also talk about the 500 emails and note 50 have caging lists attached. You then comment about 70,000 voters caged in Florida, making it appear that the 70,000 names came from the 50 lists attached to the 500 emails.
Yes, a certain number of caging lists were attached to those emails but there were also many other emails that have not yet been made public.
Since the original BBC article based on the "500 emails" reported this:
Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called "caging list".
It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida.
It may help to point out that following the report you cite, our research continued and many, many more emails were uncovered.
a. Are these 500 emails to which you presently refer the same as the 500 emails on GeorgeWBush.org?
No, not all of them were from GeorgeWBush.org
b. If so, where are the 50 caging lists to be found?
Actually, our team uncovered more than 50 caging lists from throughout Florida as well as from around the country. They can be found in my files and are not public at the moment for various reasons including, again, basic journalist standards requiring me to not only protect my sources but to never publicly disclose documents related to a pending investigation we are undertaking.
c. If not, can you document your source or explain why you cannot?
All I can say in this matter is that these documents were obtained from a combination of local election officials, campaign volunteers, lawyers and even local political candidates -- again, many of whom passed the information to us in confidence.
Why did you manipulate the caging lists as described above?
I didn't. The image that appears on flickr was manipulated merely for illustrative purposes and was put together by someone within my publisher's art department. Any other "manipulation" of the data that may have occurred was for basic, practical, statistical analysis that took place based on basic statistical standards and practices.
Why did you not disclose the manipulations to the caging list image?
I didn't realize the columns on that particular illustration had been re-sorted for that illustration until a few days ago -- thus I wasn't hiding anything as you suggest -- rather, I didn't know that had taken place with that particular illustration.
These are the main questions I have that leave me feeling the most mislead.
Well, hopefully, you no longer feel "mislead" and hopefully you got all of your questions in as I do not have any more time to answer questions -- I'll be on deadlines for BBC and for print the rest of the month.
In response to the journalist's diary today:
I am holding an updated (purchased) copy of Armed Madhouse in my hand right now, and I see on page 204:
More confidential RNC caging lists poured in:
But it does not say where these poured in, nor where the existence of 48 missing caging lists and 68,000 names can be confirmed today.
Again, these came from various sources that my research team and I cultivated via basic investigative and journalistic practices. They have not been made public, cannot be found through "googling" or internet research and many were from confidential sources.
The book also does not say WHY or HOW the journalist manipulated the image on page 207.
Again, this was put together by someone within my publisher's art department (reference above).
I am not attacking the journalist's BBC reporting or his credibility on any other issue. BBC stood behind the 2 lists and 1886 names (Although I count 1834). But this is far different than 70,000 and 50 lists that the journalist's website gives the impression are from the "500 emails" of the 2004 BBC report.
That's because, at the time of the specific report you are citing, those were the two lists that we had statistically analyzed and investigated up until that point -- as I've said, more lists and emails came in / were obtained following (and perhaps even as a result of) that particular report which we then went on to analyze and further research.
If the BBC stands behind these sources listed in Armed Madhouse and in public comments, then my concern is: why can't this be explicitly stated?
The BBC has stood by my reports and continues to -- if they did not I would not be working for them. You should note that libel laws and journalistic standards in the UK are much more intense than in the US. Even if I wanted to, I can't report crap or I would not only be fired right off the bat, but I could potentially face jail time. Who else at BBC do you want to state support of it? My producer, my lawyer(s)? I'm sure they have better things to do ...
If the journalist could answer these simple questions without resorting to attacking me for using my sister's iMac in my pajamas, the reality-based community might have faith in his journalistic methods.
So you were in your jammies when you logged on using your sister's iMac?