The "B" is for "Tawana Brawley"

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Yesterday was a banner day for distributed webby journalism. Conservatives, inspired by stories of fake donors like "Doodad Pro" and "Fhhdhh" giving money online to Obama, created their own fake names and tried to lay down some hope. They succeeded.

Erika Franzi, who described herself as conservative and preferring Senator John McCain over Mr. Obama, used the name "Della Ware" and entered an address of 12345 No Way in Far Far Away, DE 78954. Under employer, she listed: Americans Against Obama; for occupation, she typed in: Founder.

To her surprise, she said, her contribution went through in "fewer than three seconds." Then, in order to be fair, she repeated the experiment on Mr. McCain's Web site, entering the exact same information. Three times, she said, she received the message: "We have found errors in the information that you submitted. Please review the information below and try again."

The day's other development was, if anything, weirder. Pittsburgh McCain volunteer Ashley Todd, a 20-year old College Republican, reported that she'd been mugged at knifepoint by a "6'4" 200 pound" black man who then used his knife to carve the letter "B" in her face. The story led Drudge even before it was confirmed by local news. But the story stunk. Michelle Malkin, author of Unhinged—a book all about how Democrats engage in violent, angry behavior—suspected a hoax.

She refused medical treatment after reporting the incident to police. Why on earth would she do that?

Look at her face. What's wrong with the "B?"  Maaaaybe the alleged robber straddled her upside-down while carving it into her face. Maybe. But I've got my doubts.

Like Malkin, I've watched fake hate crimes unfold. I covered the unravelling of one hoaxter on my old college campus. (Apparently, the culprit is now an actor.) But Todd was working in the age of Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, which gave hundreds of people across the web the tools to pull apart the story. Wonkette found her curiously chipper Twitter feed, and commenters found photos of a poster she'd made that bore handwriting that looked a lot like the scarlet (and not even skin-breaking) "B." Also:

Salon was able to find some of Todd's personal Web pages, which we're not linking to in order to protect her privacy. What appears to be her MySpace page, which gives her age as 23 rather than 20, is private. But the quote at the top of it is visible—it reads, "Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her cloths [sic] off, but its [sic] better if you do."

This circumstancial evidence is mostly discouraging conservative bloggers who started off the evening accusing (however tongue-in-cheek) Obama of egging on the mysterious mugger. The real work is being done by local cops, who have heard multiple versions of the story from Todd (one where the mugger was outraged by her campaign button, one where he didn't get angry until he saw her bumper sticker) and are giving her a polygraph. Still, it was the speed of bloggers that cast doubt on the story before it could even lead cable news.

UPDATE: Todd admitted to a hoax.

Investigators did say that they received photos from the ATM machine and "the photographs were verified as not being the victim making the transaction."

This afternoon, a Pittsburgh police commander told KDKA Investigator Marty Griffin that Todd confessed to making up the story.

The charge of "race-baiting" is thrown around in a lot of situations where it really doesn't fit. But telling cops a black person attacked and mutilated you when, in fact, you are trying to concoct a story to defeat Barack Obama… well, there's a word for that, and it's not "enlightened." Even conspiracy theorist Andy McCarthy is eating crow on this.

NEXT: Dept. of Failed Assassinations

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  1. “…and…and then…he made me sign this form with a big ACORN logo at the top…”

    *SOB!*

  2. “Did I mention he was black? Make sure you write that part down.”

  3. joe, c’mon, lets give props to frothing righty Michelle Malkin for being among the first to give good reason to doubt it was true.

    C’mon. You know you can do it.

    And, as is so typical, this idiot has managed to delegitimize the incidents of real violence directed at McCain supporters.

    Love the Brawley shout-out, BTW.

  4. dont this bitch watch CSI?

  5. This is another brutal outing done by the Socialists and their enablers in the MSM, similar to what they did to poor Joe the Plumber.

  6. Oh yeah. DAN RATHER!

  7. Michelle Malkin, familiar enough with the behavior of young women who make up false stories to generate hysteria during a political campaign to recognize when it’s hapening in real time.

    Yeah, props to her.

  8. For what it’s worth, “Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her cloths [sic] off” and “but its [sic] better if you do” are Panic at the Disco songs. The titles come from lines in the play (and film) “Closer.”

  9. Malkin is horrible. But I have to give her some props it.

  10. “joe, c’mon, lets give props to frothing righty Michelle Malkin for being among the first to give good reason to doubt it was true.”

    Too bad for Malkin, she missed a great opportunity to advocate rounding up the blacks and putting them into internment camps.

  11. Michelle Malkin, familiar enough with the behavior of young women who make up false stories to generate hysteria during a political campaign

    You say that as if Malkin has made up false stories etc. Is that the case? As ever, joe, linky?

  12. The B is for Barr.

  13. Are you asking joe for a link where Malkin has made up a false story? Something joe didn’t claim.

  14. You say that as if Malkin has made up false stories etc. Is that the case? As ever, joe, linky?

    joe does links rarely. It somewhat damages his credibility, but that’s our joe. Maybe a href= is just too damned hard to type.

  15. I just read that Crystal Gale Magnum was gang-raped by plumbers wearing McCain stickers!

  16. man i wish the partisans would take up knives and carve each other up like pumpkins. do the gene pool a fucking favor or eighty.

  17. /insert snide joke about relying on the state to do their violence for them, lazy bastards…

  18. Northwestern, eh?

    I think I am correct about Wiegel being a guy that went to Tattnall* and living in Centerville (where the DuPont estates are), while sneering at George Bush as being born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

    *Tattnall is a very expensive Wilmington, DE area private school, though I don’t know if it is as expensive as that blue-collar Joe “six-pack” Bidden’s Archmere Academy, which IS the estate of a former DuPont treasurer.

  19. TrickyVic | October 24, 2008, 1:02pm | #

    Are you asking joe for a link where Malkin has made up a false story? Something joe didn’t claim.

    No, I didn’t, but it is interesting how RC Dean immediately leaps to the defense of Michelle Malkin’s credibility and honesty.

  20. Here’s Michelle Malking making up a story about Ron Paul being a 9/11 truther.

    http://belowthebeltway.com/2007/05/19/john-gibson-and-michelle-malkin-lies-about-ron-paul/

  21. Shockingly, Weigel immediately casts doubt on the authenticity of the crime.

    Shrug. We’ll see. She could be really really crazy. Last word from the police is they are treating it as credible.

    No word on whether Obama will apologize for using the Secret-Service debunked “Kill him!” fraud in the last debate. And of course, Weigel hasn’t mentioned it.

  22. I find it amusing and infuriating that the intentional fraud being encouraged and perpetrated at the Obama – and Noriega and Murtha, to name at least two – websites, where the address verification system has been intentionally disabled to allow people to donate under false names and nonexistent addresses, is completely ignored.

    If the McCain website were committing such blatant fraud, I think there might be a story or two about it. If an Obama supporter reported that a scawy, scawy rural-looking person attacked her and scratched an M on her cheek, there would be news vans lined up and down her street and we’d be getting hourly updates on every news channel.

    I eagerly await getting schooled by Joe about why the credit card scam is not really fraud and about how the likely hoax says something really profound, and frightening and disgusting, about all Republicans everywhere. Please try to include a sports metaphor. I always feel like something’s missing if you don’t.

  23. TallDave, why don’t you go back to Little Green Footballs where you belong and sop pretending to be a libertarian?

    And for the record, I live in Tampa and personally heard somebody yell “Kill him!” while watching a Sarah Palin rally in Clearwater on television.

  24. Police psychologists will tell you these alleged carving attacks are invariably self-inflicted, the handiwork of attention-seeking neurotics. The “victim” is typically an adolescent or post-adolescent female. There are never any witnesses, and the marks don’t show struggle and don’t appear where the “victim” couldn’t reach.

  25. The Todd girl has confessed, BTW. Why do people think they’ll get away with this? Like the professor at NYU (or Columbia?) who reported a noose on her door, or any other case like this. Tawana Brawley was a young girl – can’t recall how old, but she obviously had problems – and she was hideously used by Sharpton and his cronies. But adults who pull this stunt – what on earth makes you think you won’t be found out?

  26. One more thing – Todd had a black eye. I always thought it was really hard to give yourself a black eye.

    And Asharak – I don’t believe you.

  27. Are you asking joe for a link where Malkin has made up a false story? Something joe didn’t claim.

    Not directly, of course – he’s too clever for that. But unless his snarky reply is completely devoid of content, I can’t imagine what else he could have been implying.

    And for the record, I live in Tampa and personally heard somebody yell “Kill him!” while watching a Sarah Palin rally in Clearwater on television.

    I thought it was “Tell him”, which in the crowd noise could be easily misconstrued. Just sayin’.

  28. Crystal Mangum.

  29. http://kdka.com/local/attack.McCain.Bloomfield.2.847628.html

    POlice are saying hoax now. Oh well, I always said that was possible.

    I expect it will get a lot more media coverage now that it doesn’t make Obama look bad.

  30. I thought it was “Tell him”, which in the crowd noise could be easily misconstrued. Just sayin’.

    That could have been it now that I think about it, so I apologize if I misheard anything.

    Mouth-breathers like that are really out there, though. Just check out Free Republic.

  31. The backwards “b” should have been the first indication that something was amiss.

    And I love how TallDave thinks that anyone who doesn’t agree with him is pro-Obama. Typical.

  32. Just as there are mouthbreathers out there carrying signs with a drawing of Sarah Palin and a big hairy fist striking her chin and knocking out a tooth. Cause she’s a MILP.

    And people wearing Sarah Palin is a Cyouknowtherest.

    There are actual photographs of those people, but strangely enough they don’t show up on the news. I can’t imagine why.

  33. How did this make Obama look bad? Was he in Pittsburgh and low on cash? You really are an idiot. The only thing it ever did was make this girl look like a pathetic fool who needs help.

  34. stubby,

    Your tears are so yummy and sweet, but really, this episode speaks for itself.

  35. And also, hey look over there!

  36. BTW, stubby, all the kool Republicans stopped talking about voter registration fraud a few days ago, when a McCain campaign contractor was arrested (for the second time) for voter registration fraud, and when the McCain campaign went silent on the issue after the Obama campaign wrote a letter to the Special Prosecutor investigating the US Attorney firings scandal.

    You know, the one that grew out of bogus prosecutions – and non-prosecutions – of voter fraud cases before the 2006 elections.

    I guess you missed the memo. The other usual suspects didn’t.

  37. The B is for Barr.

    I thought it stood for “BlackZorro”.

  38. No, I didn’t, but it is interesting how RC Dean immediately leaps to the defense of Michelle Malkin’s credibility and honesty.

    And its even more interesting how asking joe to back up an insinuation is leaping to the defense of his target.

    Here’s Michelle Malking making up a story about Ron Paul being a 9/11 truther.

    Hey! A link from joe. I will treasure this moment. Was that so hard?

    FWIW, I don’t read Michelle Malkin. I just don’t like seeing unsubstantiated smears on anyone.

  39. The backwards B indicted exactly nothing. From what we didn’t know, there was no reason to presume anything about the position of the “attacker” in relation to the “victim”. The nice rounded edges of the B are suspect, as anyone who has ever carved lettering on anything knows. That would take time and precision – unlkely when carving up a frightened person on the ground.

    If its OK with ya’ll, I’m gonna maintain that one of Obama’s thugs rose to the challenge to get their knives up in people’s faces.

  40. Me too!

  41. Joe:

    Don’t read this.

    It’s written by a Republican so it can’t possibly be true. And multiple people have tested both the Obama website and the McCain website, and it works on one and not the other.

    Your tears are so yummy and sweet

    You’re such a dork.

  42. stubby writes: I find it amusing and infuriating that the intentional fraud being encouraged and perpetrated at the Obama – and Noriega and Murtha, to name at least two – websites, where the address verification system has been intentionally disabled to allow people to donate under false names and nonexistent addresses, is completely ignored.

    Write Michael Luo of the NYT and ask him what impact he thinks covering up for BHO about this matter is going to have on his career.

  43. The “B” is not for Brawley, but for another b-word. Rhymes with witch.

  44. Oh, I’m sure the impact on Luo’s career will be nothing but positive. Everyone in the tank will be sitting pretty.

    I’m a lot more worried about the Fairness Doctrine, and bloggers who don’t fall in line after Jan. 20.

    And my 401(k). I think our 401(k)s are the biggest worry right now. My husband will likely have to let a couple people go when his taxes get hiked, but his (small) business is actually kind of recession friendly.

  45. Oh, look, another magic bullet. Barack Obama’s web site doesn’t collect donor data that it isn’t required to collect.

    But Bullwinkle, that trick never works!

    Loosen up my sleeve…

  46. Joe, are you trying to say that card holder information is not required when using a credit card online? Of course it is. Are you saying that the website is not required to turn on the verification system that checks the cardholder information? That’s true – they turned it off.

    Have you ever tried to pay for something online and accidentally put in the wrong address or zip code or misspelled your name? Was the transaction rejected? I’ve always had the transaction rejected when my information did not match my card.

    What is it that you don’t get about this?

  47. I eagerly await getting schooled by Joe about why the credit card scam is not really fraud

    Um – you do realize that if the address entered doesn’t match the credit card’s billing address, the credit card company won’t actually give Obama the money, right?

    So this clever conspiracy to commit credit card fraud or allow excessive contributions or overseas contributions or whatever it’s supposed to be wouldn’t work?

  48. Um – you do realize that if the address entered doesn’t match the credit card’s billing address, the credit card company won’t actually give Obama the money…

    Aw, man! I just came up with a foolproof plan…

  49. “””And its even more interesting how asking joe to back up an insinuation is leaping to the defense of his target.”””

    You mean your insinuation. joe made a statement, be it true or false.

  50. Fluffy – wait a sec – before I pull an Emily Latella – that makes sense. Is it certain?

  51. “”””I thought it was “Tell him”, which in the crowd noise could be easily misconstrued. Just sayin’.””””

    Easily. I wonder if this election is going to be king of wierd hoaxes. But there’s always next election.

  52. I’m a lot more worried about the Fairness Doctrine, and bloggers who don’t fall in line after Jan. 20.

    For the same reasons that the FCC does not regulate cable TV, satellite radio, or blogs, the Fairness Doctrine would not have anything to do with them, either. Not to mention the extraordinary technical difficulty that would be associated with attempting to regulate blogs in that manner.

  53. Um – you do realize that if the address entered doesn’t match the credit card’s billing address, the credit card company won’t actually give Obama the money, right?

    Fluffy, that would fall under the category of expert internet misinformation that sounded good but is not true. Retailers create these restrictions to protect themselves from charge backs by the credit card company per their merchant agreement. Accepting orders without complete validation is risky to the retailer, but that is all. Not illegal, not disallowed.

  54. bigbig – that’s what I was wondering, b/c it’s been years since I worked in retail and restaurants and I don’t remember how the merchant agreements worked. But the retailer – in this case, Obama’s campaign – has to pay the credit card companies for every transaction that’s rung through, right? So if the credit card company ultimately rejects the charge, does it cost the retailer?

    Obama’s campaign said something like “oh, don’t worry, if the charge was fraudulent we’ll promptly refund it” – I think they were referring to a lady (and there’s been more than one person) who reported her credit card number being used in a donation without her approval.

  55. And I don’t think the false name/false address is illegal vis a vis using the credit card – it’s illegal under federal election laws because – if the card is actually charged, and the campaign gets the money – then people can donate above whatever the limits are (and I don’t know what they are, cause I currently don’t have near enough money to contribute to politicians.) And people outside the US can donate, which they’ve been doing, a lot.

  56. A friend of mine entered a merchant agreement recently. I’ll check with him. The above was my understanding – I don’t want to spread a myth, so I’ll verify and repost if that is incorrect.

    I did have a “company” (den of thieves) misuse my card data to make charges back in 1998. When I spoke to the fraud department, they informed me the charges made without proper verification would be losses to the merchant who failed to verify per the procedures they were required to follow. One item was software purchased and downloaded online. The other was for items mailed to an address in Germany. That second charge illustrates the reason why many vendors refuse to ship to addresses that do not match up. They lose a legit few orders that way (people who are borrowing a friend/relatives card or shipping to a work address), but they do not ship products out at a total loss. In those two cases, the retailers lost out for lack of due diligence. The card-issuing bank and myself (aside for like a $10 fee) were off scott-free. Had I not reported the abuse, the trancsactions would have posted and been paid.

  57. Now that I think about it, it was probably 1999. The software was an anitvirus package, and to my delight the items shipped were from Victoria Secret! Hope they enjoyed those bras.

  58. I apologize to R C Dean but a link to reality is no longer available.

    But hey, that Sarah Palin is one hot diggity dog!

  59. Last word from the police is they are treating it as credible.

    Which is more than anyone should treat the crap Tall Idiot spouts.

    Isn’t there some Grease Monkey script we can use to Ignore Davemonkey?

  60. Isn’t there some Grease Monkey script we can use to Ignore Davemonkey?

    The Indisputably Non-Coercive Idiot Filter for Hit & Run: INCIF is a script that allows you to filter out unwanted posts/posters while reading Reason’s Hit & Run comments secion by utilizing GreaseMonkey for FireFox.

  61. LOL @ TallDave.

    (I know it’s a bit late.)

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