Monday, May 30, 2011

(Yes, yes, I know -- I fell for this)

Look, I don't want to talk about it. After Clinton, after Spitzer, after Strauss-Kahn, after a long series of Republicans, I thought Anthony Weiner might have been foolhardy enough to tweet a sexting photo and reveal something illicit in his personal life -- as I put it in a comment, I could believe that he was "sex stupid," which is something a lot of famous people seem to be who aren't otherwise stupid. As an online guy, I guess I'm the last person you want assessing evidence like this -- my blog isn't important enough to hack, and I have very little familiarity with social media (I joined Twitter a while back and abandoned it, and I'm still not on Facebook). So I was an idiot to offer an opinion -- especially the opinion that there might be any truth whatsoever to anything connected to Breitbart.

But I'm struck by the fact that this bit of fakery seems to have fallen apart a lot faster that Breitbart's previous fakes. It seems to be falling apart before doing any real damage -- which is a serious deterioration of Breitbart's power to destroy. Breitbart himself seems to be reduced to acknowledging evidence (summarized here by stef at Daily Kos and here by Medaite's Colby Hall) that a wingnut named Dan Wolfe, who's been obsessed with Weiner, planted the photo in an act of hackwork (in both senses of the term), having hinted beforehand that a Chris Lee-style scandal involving a Democrat was about to be ginned up.

If Breitbart's scandal-generators can't sustain the fakery anymore long enough to hurt the people they're trying to hurt, then the Breitbart machine is breaking down. It occurs to me that trying to gin up a phony scandal that's completely Net-based is a fool's errand: idiots like me might fall for it, but it's not like a video-based scandal with the videographer in exclusive possession of some of the evidence -- if what you're doing is 100% Net-based, all the digital breadcrumbs are there to be tracked down, and if you're lying, you almost certainly will be caught.

Let's hope I'm right about Breitbart's diminished power. And now I'm going to wipe the egg off my face.

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