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For the last several years, a trashy political version of the Weekly World News has made a number of salacious and lurid claims about key political figures, mostly George Bush. Capitol Hill Blue originated stories about Bush being addicted to drugs, falling off the wagon, and so on. The allegation that he had referred to the Constitution as "just a G******d piece of paper" came from one of their articles, as did the explosive, supposedly first-person account of Bush being briefed that the Niger claim was bogus before his State of the Union speech. (Interestingly, the Senate's Intelligence Committee later confirmed that the Niger story was true, but that didn't stop CHB.)
What made these stories compelling was that they used sources who put their names on the record. CHB identified two of them: Terry Wilkinson, a former CIA advisor, and George Harleigh, a professor at Southern Illinois University who worked in both the Nixon and Reagan administrations. That sourcing created enough credibility with some on the Left that they bought these stories hook, line, and sinker, and propagated them throughout the blogosphere.
However, it looks like neither one ever actually existed. Eric at Classical Values has an amazing post showing a tremendous effort on his part to identify Harleigh without success at either SIU or within either administration. He also has cached pages from CHB where a Stailn-like process of erasing both sources from these stories has taken place. CHB has no answer despite repeated attempts by Eric to get an explanation for all of these activities.
It looks like CHB has gone into complete meltdown, and along with it the credibility of those who used this material to bash the Bush administration. Read all of Eric's post.
Addendum: This seems a lot more important to me than whether a prominent left-wing blogger engaged in sock puppetry. I understand the initial interest, but can we please keep a little perspective? Mike Hiltzik worked for the LA Times and was paid to act in an ethical manner. If Glenn Greenwald did do some sock-puppetry (and it seems at least possible that housemates may have posted at least some of the comments), then mention it and move on. No one pays attention to commenters that rail on about someone else's resume, anyway.Sphere It View blog reactions
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