Punk the National Review
February 3, 2004 2:09 PM   Subscribe

Punk the National Review - a potentially-petty exercise in journalistic credibility. The National Review has recently engaged in printing anonymous e-mails from readers who "used to know" the Democratic candidates and just happen to have damaging stories about them. Blogger Ted Barlow is offering a $10 Amazon gift certificate to anyone who can get their anonymous story published. "If you possess an email address and an eye-opening story, you've passed the rigorous fact-checking that has made National Review and the Penthouse Forum world-famous."
posted by XQUZYPHYR (26 comments total)
Is that the same rigorous standards that made Stephen Glass of the New Republic famous?
posted by Pollomacho at 2:19 PM on February 3, 2004

I know a girl who's sister-in-law's cousin twice removed used to sell pot to Ted Barlow in reform school.
posted by Fupped Duck at 2:19 PM on February 3, 2004

We do realize that Penthouse's "Letters" and "Forum" are actually written by staff members, don't we?
posted by clevershark at 2:24 PM on February 3, 2004

Associate editor is a staff position.
posted by Pollomacho at 2:27 PM on February 3, 2004

What amuses me are the fans of the NRO who came to defend their turf in the comments on Crooked Timber. It's like they don't understand that the entire point of this is not to actually fool the magazine's editors, but to make obvious the absurdity of their printing anonymous e-mails.
posted by moonbiter at 2:28 PM on February 3, 2004

PUNK NR? [ Jonah Goldberg ]
A blogger called Crooked Timber of Humanity thinks that he's going to slip fake emails into the Corner. Of course, it's always possible. But I'd like to make a few points. First, contrary to his insinuations, you'd be amazed at how many juicey emails I don't post precisely because they have that too good to be true feel to them. Second, while the posts in the Corner may be anonymous, they are virtually never anonymous to me. People sign their names and give their addresses and I choose to withhold them. Third, the vast majority of emails are expressions of opinion not reportage of facts. Last, at this point you'd think most bloggers -- and Corner readers -- understand that some emails should certainly be taken with a grain of salt on the off-chance a correspondent is embellishing. Besides, we run corrections to our own posts and reader emails all the time. But, let "Crooked Timber of Humanity" have his fun. I'm sure he thinks he's being very clever.
Posted at 01:16 PM
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:42 PM on February 3, 2004

My favorite comment:

Dear National Review,

I never believed the letters you print until one day my girlfriend and I met Joe Lieberman and his wife, Hadassah …

posted by SisterHavana at 2:52 PM on February 3, 2004

A blogger called Crooked Timber of Humanity thinks that he's going to slip fake emails into the Corner.

I see, so the source of my amusement is Mr. Goldberg, who also seems to be missing the point.

I note that in his explanation he never once mentions that he actually goes to the trouble verify any of these letters as factual, just that he knows their names and addresses. I also note that by using phrases like "off-chance a correspondent is embellishing," he is implying that for the most part he believes (or pretends to believe) the letters that he sees fit to print, and that there is only an "off-chance" that they are lying.
posted by moonbiter at 2:53 PM on February 3, 2004

update: send blind CC? I'm sorry, but isn't this a rather old game? ;)
posted by dabitch at 2:56 PM on February 3, 2004

And of course these emails are anonymous to the National Review staff as well.

posted by MrAnonymous at 3:04 PM on February 3, 2004

The National Review isn't fit to wipe my backside with.

On a side note, I've never met any of the Democratic candidates but I bet I could whip up a good story to send the NR. Like how Howard Dean once lifted a flipped over car off a mother and her child. Or how Joe Lieberman once tipped 18% on a lunch bill. Or how John Kerry let me borrow his scalp rug to use as a decoy when I was out squirrel hunting.

Maybe it would be better to send in utterly glowing stories about the Dems? That'd mess with their heads some.

Or cut and paste long excerpts and just overload them with volume?
posted by fenriq at 3:17 PM on February 3, 2004

Maybe it would be better to send in utterly glowing stories about the Dems? That'd mess with their heads some.

This was actually suggested by one of the NRO's defenders (hank) in the comments on Crooked Timber. Of course, one would be quite surprised if a letter like that actually got published.
posted by moonbiter at 3:23 PM on February 3, 2004

Perhaps the most absurd part of Jonah's response is his steadfast ignorance in (1) failing to correctly identify the blogger as Ted Barlow, one of a group of quote thoughtful and erudite bloggers at Crooked Timber, and (2) failing to recognize "crooked timber" as part of a famous Immanuel Kant quote. Must be that echo chamber effect I keep hearing about.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:35 PM on February 3, 2004

Yep it would be surprising, moonbiter, but it would also just be fun knowing that they were reading these nasty emails and then come upon a cache of glowing emails. They might just self destruct because of it!
posted by fenriq at 3:42 PM on February 3, 2004

What's the matter with the repubs? They can't afford to do real opposition research?
posted by amberglow at 3:49 PM on February 3, 2004

another letter: In the late summer, this kid shows up, looking like shit, wild-eyed, thin as a rail. It was Bush, strung out on coke. When he first came, he was trembling with the shakes and almost hallucinating. (He wasn?t my patient, so I am not violating any therapeutic relationship by revealing this.) Current news reports indicate that he was supposed to be in Alabama, working on some political campaign. He wasn?t in Alabama, he was in North Carolina going through rehab.
posted by amberglow at 5:22 PM on February 3, 2004

"Punk"? Is this now a verb?
posted by davidmsc at 9:15 PM on February 3, 2004

yup--"We were really ripped off. We were punk'd by Janet Jackson," Freston said, referring to MTV's reality show that makes celebrities the butt of practical jokes.-- from Miami Herald
posted by amberglow at 9:30 PM on February 3, 2004

The National Review is obnoxious. The campaign to punk the National Review is also obnoxious.
posted by inksyndicate at 10:14 PM on February 3, 2004

Getting "punked" goes back a lot farther than Kutcher's ragtag collection of celeb circle-jerking ;)
posted by The God Complex at 12:29 AM on February 4, 2004

I ran into George W Bush in the Houston airport years ago (1988 I think it was) - suffice it to say he doesn't give very good head, at least while coked up (we had just done lines in a stall).

The full story will have to wait until later this year.
posted by lathrop at 8:13 AM on February 4, 2004

one time bush tried to buy pot off of me, and when I told him that I don't do drugs and that I'm not a dealer he called me a faggot!
posted by mcsweetie at 8:23 AM on February 4, 2004

"Punk"? Is this now a verb?

You've never been to jail, have you, david? Let me show you my corncob collection... :)
posted by jonmc at 8:40 AM on February 4, 2004

Here's my story. GW Bush one time told me this bad guy in some other country had a nucular bomb ready to use against America, so can I attack him? And I'm like, sure, whatever, and so he did attack him and all, and guess what -- no nucular bomb, no bomb-makins, nothing. And he's all like, well, he was a bad guy, so? And I'm like, yeah, but not as bad as you said -- dude, you totally just lied to me so you could attack him!!!! He was like, laughing.

This happened to me around 2003. I have other stories.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:47 AM on February 4, 2004

"Punk"? Is this now a verb?

This was always a verb its just recently that the term that meant rot (both noun, verb and adjective form [rotten]) has come to mean what we think of now.

How about this story that seems too good to be true:

John Kerry saved my life by diving through VC fire to pull my lifeless and wounded body to safety out of a Vietnamese river. Oh, yeah, that one's been used...
posted by Pollomacho at 12:34 PM on February 4, 2004

"Punk"? Is this now a verb?

The MTV kiddies don't know it just means candid camera .
posted by hama7 at 7:35 PM on February 4, 2004

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