Saturday, August 27, 2005

College newspaper running fake anti-war letters 
This story comes courtesy of Nothing But Static from the MSM:

For two years, Carbondale residents have been riveted by the writing of a little girl imploring her father in Iraq: "Don't die, OK?"

Only now are they learning there was never any danger of that.

The Daily Egyptian, Southern Illinois University's student-run newspaper, today will admit to its readers that the saga - of a little girl's published letters to her father serving in Iraq - was apparently an elaborate hoax perpetrated by a woman who claimed to be the girl's aunt.

In fact, the newspaper will report today, the man identified as the girl's father was never in Iraq, and it was the woman who apparently wrote the letters and regular columns that were published under the little girl's name - and even impersonated the girl in telephone interviews.

Such is the state of the antiwar movement. They even produced a photograph of the nonexistent little girl.

They were also pondering how it was that the girl and the woman became so close to newspaper staff members that no one thought to check out their story - even after the woman once showed up in the newsroom claiming to be not herself, but a twin sister.

But, but, but...we're TRAINED JOURNALISTS!

The apparently fictional Dan Kennings at one point visited the newsroom on what he said was a furlough. Staff members recall a large, crew-cut man who looked the part.

Oh, he looked the part. So it must be true! Here's a tip for journos: Every soldier in the Army is required to have an AKO address. That's a quick way to check somebody out...write to their AKO address and see if they can respond, and if it's the same guy. It's not a foolproof method, because any soldier can also set up a guest AKO account and use that to perpetrate a fraud. But you can also call the unit's rear detatchment or PAO and verify a soldier in the unit by that name, and verify that he's been deployed to Iraq.

As the old saying goes, "if your mother says she loves you, check it out."

(That's why I haven't written up the people protesting in front of Walter Reed yet. There's some nagging feeling in the back of my mind that's telling me they might be ringers.)

But in hindsight, several staffers said Thursday, the girl was painfully shy in person, and would seldom talk. Yet when she called the newsroom on the phone, said current student editor Zack Creglow, "she talked so much that we'd pass the phone around the newsroom."

"That part creeped me out so much last night that I couldn't sleep," Creglow said Thursday. "No one really knew what Kodee's voice sounded like, she was so shy (in person). Now it looks like it was this woman (on the phone) talking in a little kid's voice."

Nice. Somewhere there's a young girl who's been taught that it's acceptable to be paraded around a newsroom while the adults in her lives are telling lies about her, and being turned into an accessory to fraud. This lady is pathological. The proof:

The story began unraveling this month, when the woman contacted the paper and said the girl's father had been killed in Iraq.

Hell, I would have killed him too, had I found out his whole existence had been fabricated. And no jury in the world would convict me.

Staff members began gathering background for a story on the girl's father's death - the kind of backgrounding that hadn't been done in the two years the paper had written about Kodee and carried her column. They quickly discovered that the military had no record of Dan Kennings.

Already suspicious, several staffers and former staffers - including Brenner, the former reporter, and Creglow, the current editor - attended a memorial that Kodee's "aunt" arranged in the Carbondale area. At the small, informal event, they looked at photos of a man presented as Kodee's father - but who, they noted, looked nothing like the man they'd once met in the newsroom.

Now that the hoax has been exposed, the aunt is telling the press that she had cooked up the story with the newspaper editor himself in 2003.

I hope the newspaper goes back at her with charges of fraud and defamation. It would not be hard to show genuine economic damages, and she'd have no safe harbor in the truth-as-absolute defense, unless she can show evidence that she and the editor DID conspire to deceive the newspaper and its readership.

My gut tells me the editor was genuinely had, though. Nothing But Static is more suspicious. Much more there.

Hat tip: Radio blogger

Splash, out


Update: Buzzflash.com is describing the hoax as "pro-war." (link highly perishable)

(That's why I haven't written up the people protesting in front of Walter Reed yet. There's some nagging feeling in the back of my mind that's telling me they might be ringers.)

How so? Did you watch the video? Isn't that Luke guy on the interview the same one Smash had a run-in with in CA during a counter-protest against Code Pink? I seem to remember either a pic or a statement from Scott about that guy from about a year ago.

I could very well be mistaken but I've seen that guy from somewhere else Code Pink protested. Got sort of a lisp and is about as manly as half the population of Mykonos! ;-)
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