Yesterday I posted a call-out diary accusing Tommy Christopher and Andrew Breitbart of lying about the ages of "Veronica" and "Betty" of the #twitterhoax fame.
Today I deleted that diary in the interest of protecting the identities of two minors. This is the postscript.
I spoke on the phone to Tommy Christopher and he convinced me beyond the tipping point that I ought to follow suit and redact the diary. Notice I didn't say "beyond the shadow of a doubt."
Here are the facts as I see them.
The players involved here bragged about the impending scandal weeks before it happened. Comparing Rep. Weiner to Chris Lee, saying that "a good deed" was about to be done has me convinced that Rep. Weiner did not accidentally post this photo to yfrog nor did he tweet about it. But Andrew Breitbart broke this story and continues to maintain this story, that Rep Weiner posted this photo from his blackberry to his yfrog account, even though the photo contains no blackberry metadata. Also, given the awkward fumbling and phrasing of the things that Weiner has said, it looks like he's engaging in extremely careful word parsing in order to not say a lie. And he has said vociferously that he did not post that photo.
Therefore, it looks like someone has engaged in something very unethical against a seated U.S. Congressman. The level of audacity and sociopathy involved rises to extreme levels. Nearly unimaginable levels, but that is the trick here - to imagine the levels of audacity that went into this scheme.
When someone begins to carry water for Andrew Breitbart it raises red flags with me. Supposedly there was some mild criticisms lodged between Tommy Christopher and Breitbart, but not enough IMO to outweigh all the defending of Breitbart's character that Christopher has partaken in. Christopher has really gone to bat for him lately. Now, all Christopher has done is ask that people give Andrew Breitbart the benefit of the doubt, but I'm of the persuasion that this is an egregious request.
Tommy Christopher claims he was contacted by "Betty" as a result of a public back and forth that he carried on with Breitbart on Twitter. I am admittedly not very good with using twitter's advanced search. I think I got it working, tweets from this person mentioning that person during this time frame, but I wasn't seeing some tweets that I knew existed so I'm chagrined by the twitter. Anyway, I couldn't find any such exchange between the two. You can delete all the tweets you want, but you can't insert tweets into your timeline. If the tweets exist and he can point me to them, then it will go a long way toward proving "Betty" sought out Mr. Christopher. Otherwise, it appears as though "Betty" magically chose Mr. Christopher to carry this exclusive. This raises another red flag for me.
Also, in kind of a sidebar, @PatriotUSA76 has granted an exclusive interview to "FilmLadd" who, like Tommy Christopher, was mildly critical of his subject while in the end carrying water and providing a platform for anti-liberal propaganda. Two convenient "critical allies" who unleashed a barrage of anti-liberal, anti-Markos sentiment. And another red flag gets raised...
"Veronica" has a very unusual name. First time I'd ever seen it, and it was coupled with an equally unusual last name. Then I found a girl, who already graduated High School, with that exact same name. I've thought about contacting this other "Veronica" to ask if she's the same "@Veronica" twitter user, but there's no way I can get a "yes" answer. If it's not the same girl, she'll say no, and if it is the same girl, she'll definitely say no.
So here I am, faced with a paradox: I believe someone in this game is a bald-faced liar, and it's not Weiner. Breitbart published the story which I believe is predicated on a lie, he has published stories in the past which were definitely predicated on lies, and lately Christopher has gone to bat defending Breitbart's honesty.
And today I spoke with Tommy Christopher and believed the things he told me. There are liars involved here, liars of unimaginable audacity, and yet there I am taking the word of a stranger who assures me what he's saying is true. Someone who is putting his own reputation on the line to defend a man who publishes known lies. So I'm left with the bitter realization that I've waded into waters too deep for me. We would all like to think that someone who might otherwise be lying would break down and tell us the real truth. But the fact is, when someone's in for a penny, they're in for a pound. The same paradox that applies to asking my Veronica if she's the notorious twitter user also applies to believing the word of Tommy Christopher. Sigh. I feel like I'm the one who's being played now.
One thing he told me which I believe unequivocally is that there are no traces of this other "Veronica" in her community. No newspaper honor roll listings, no sports teams highlights. Nothing I could use to confirm for myself that the other Veronica existed. In short, nothing would satisfy my doubts other than to have direct contact with Veronica and her parents, and I can see where wanting to chat up a 16 year old will get me. So I'm kind of at the end of the road, unable to confirm what Tommy Christopher assures me to be true, with logical indicators that tell me I ought to have reservations about what Mr. Christopher is telling me. The man I spoke with today was pretty cool, and very believable. I never got the direct impression that he was lying to me. But still, there's this doubt lingering in the back of my mind. I guess 20/20 hindsight is what it will take to sort this all out someday. All I think I can do is keep my eye on Tommy Christopher's career to see if his integrity stands the test. I'm afraid that as in the case with the best known Breitbart scoops, the truth will come out eventually but by that time the damage will already have been done.
During this time I accused a fellow dkos diarist of succumbing to intimidation. Now that I've followed suit, do I want to change my tune? Not really, because in the end I still feel like I've been intimidated. My fear of doing the wrong thing exceeds my belief that I'm doing the right thing.