Thursday, November 15, 2012

Proof Jason Leopold still uses socks to smear and pimp

Last October, I left some comments at the Kid Kenoma blog which referred to Jason Leopold, a former colleague of mine at RAW STORY who infamously published a bogus story at TruthOut in May of 2006 about Karl Rove being indicted after he stopped reporting for us. I didn't get promoted to an editorial position at RAW STORY until January of 2007, but because there were obvious flaws in his story, I refused to link to it, and - after arguing strenuously - we never did.

Unfortunately, for many years after, the albatross of Leopold's much maligned story hung around our necks, and we probably should have done more to distance ourselves from him than the December 15, 2005 Editor's Note called "Examining Raw Story's leak reporting."

Along with plagiarism, making up stories, and drug issues which he confessed to in his autobiography, Leopold also has a history of using "socks" to smear critics and pimp links to his stories. Conservatives and liberals have busted him for sock puppetry to promote his work or attack bloggers and journalists who criticize it, and some links to articles about Leopold's socks include "Jason Leopold, Sockpuppet Extraordinaire" at The Last Hurrah, "Because You Can Never Read Too Much About Sock-Puppetry" at Patterico's Pontifications and "Leftist Hate Campaign Against Blogger Gets Deadly Serious" at Newsbusters.

In March of 2006, Leopold admitted that he used at least one sock, and apologized for it:
"I might as well out myself and say that, yes, I am the 'harry shep' that posted comments here that were inflammatory and rude and obnoxious and mean and crude and were directed toward some of the people who run this site. It was a cowardly thing to do and I apologize. I acted impulsively because I had interpreted some of the analysis to be a direct "hit" on one of my stories. However, it became obvious to the people who run this site that my pseudonym was not a good cover because the IP address revealed my true identity. It was a total immature reaction and there was truly no excuse for it. So to the people who run this site I sincerely apologize for being such an immature, thin-skinned prick. I hope you can forgive me."
Not long after that confession, Leopold attempted to blame me as his sock, even though I had once refused his request to post a comment at Daily Kos attacking liberal blogger Empty Wheel for criticizing a story he wrote.

"I'm investigating the recent campaign to discredit Jason Leopold, and whether or not people were impersonating other people," a blogger emailed me in July of 2006. So I called that blogger, answered his questions, and we argued a bit, but he ended up deleting a story based on Leopold's lies.

That same blogger wrote other people at RAW STORY claiming I "had posted all this stuff as Jason," and one editor told me, he "looked at it, and said, '1. Where is the proof? I'm not seeing any., and 2. How did Ron's name even get brought into this?'"

"Upon re-examination, he had no proof, and Jason was a liar," the editor told me in late 2006. "And, he never answered the second question."

A couple days ago, on November 13, after I tweeted that I could prove Leopold smeared me using a sock a year ago, he denied it: "I don't need a 'sock' to smear you. I can and will and have done so easily under my own name. You're pathetic and also a lunatic."

I wrote some harsh stuff about Leopold at the Kid Kenoma blog last October, partly because I'd been getting smeared by conservative bloggers and accused of absurd crimes, and a few bloggers I knew refused to help me, but strangely defended Leopold instead.

However, I used my own name when I left the harsh words about Leopold, and I didn't lie.

On October 3, 2011, someone left the following comments at the Kid Kenoma blog using the name "siouxZ":
"Ron Brynaert is a lunatic who was fired from Raw Story because he is a lunatic and a conspiracy theorist. One only need to read his tweets from the past six months to arrive at that conclusion. No one will ever hire Ron to work for any news organization EVER."
"Ron Brynaert used to work at Kim’s Video in Manhattan and was caught in the bathroom smoking crack and masturbating. He was fired from there too. He’s actually one of the shittiest 'reporters' out there.There’s a reason he doesn’t have friends."
"I am not joking. There’s a reason Ron does not step foot in Kim’s or walks around St. Marks. Guy is a laughingstock. And a raging prick. You will not meet a bigger asshole than Ron Brynaert."
I've never smoked crack and I've never been caught in the bathroom masturbating, and I didn't leave RAW STORY or Kim's Video for any of the reasons "siouxZ" claimed. At times, I can be a "raging prick", and I acted like one when I mentioned Leopold in that same comment section, which I do apologize for.

I got mad at Leopold the other day because he gave a hat tip to another former colleague at RAW STORY for something she obviously saw on my Twitter timeline. And I was probably behaving like a "raging prick" when I did so, but Leopold just won't stop smearing me. And I think it's shameful that a person who has been fired for plagiarism, drug abuse and making up stories still is trusted by many liberal bloggers, who ignore work I do, because I go after both sides.

I have no idea who is behind the Kid Kenoma blog - but whomever it is - was kind enough to send me the IP address attached to the defamatory comments left under the name "siouxZ", after I sent him or her links to other posts on the web that suggested it was Leopold's sock.

On March 2, 2011, siouxZ left a comment at Cafe Whispers noting, "No one here in Australia seems to realize that David Hicks gave an exclusive interview to Jason Leopold to weeks ago," and left links to the interview and the story, with a short excerpt.

On March 23, 2011, siouxZ complained at the American Everyday blog, "Please IMMEDIATELY remove the pictures you re-posted without permission from the TO article," after a blogger criticized a story by Leopold.

The blogger "Willy Loman" aka Scott Creighton argued back that "there are NO pictures taken from the TO article without permission," and added "sioxZ, if you want to claim you have sole rights to a photo handed over by your Manchurian candidate, I would suggest you tell the guy to take it off his open sourced information sharing Wikipage…"

"See these stories by Leopold that the Australian mainstream media ignored, which inspired the SMH reports," siouxZ wrote at Neil's Final Decade on August 23, 2011 and included links to three of Jason's articles.

All those comments were left on blog posts that mentioned Jason Leopold, and the IP address Kid Kenoma sent me is from where he lives in Los Angeles, California.

But the most damning proof that Jason Leopold is "siouxZ" can be found on his own Wikipedia page, where he has apparently broken the rule against self-editing.

There were only 4 contributions attached to that IP address, and all were done on November 7. 2011 to Leopold's Wikipedia entry.

The first contribution was the subtraction of the following two sentences:
"According to a Washington Post report, the press release for Leopold's unpublished book 'Off the Record' stated that 'He says he was fired by the Los Angeles Times 'for threatening to rip a reporter's head off.' Leopold says he quit Dow Jones Newswires in a dispute over his beat but later learned the news service was planning to fire him because of a correction to one of his Enron stories: 'Seems I got all of the facts wrong.'"
The second contribution centered on two paragraphs referring to Leopold's book:
"Prior to the publication of 'News Junkie', Leopold's book was titled 'Off the Record'. The book's publisher, according to the Washington Post report, said the book has been dropped for 'business reasons.' The Post wrote that it was canceled following reported legal threats from Steven Maviglio, the press secretary to former Governor [[Gray Davis]], who, according to the manuscript, invested in energy companies using inside information. The author of the Washington Post story about Leopold's book, Howard Kurtz, was featured in News Junkie. Leopold called him 'lazy.'

In the book, Leopold also revealed many secrets about his life such as a prior [[drug addiction]], bouts with mental illness and suicide attempts. He also disclosed how he lied to employers about a criminal conviction for larceny that took place when Leopold was in his 20s and working in the record business."
Those two paragraphs were edited into a single, shorter one:
"Prior to the publication of 'News Junkie', Leopold's book was titled 'Off the Record'. In the book, Leopold also revealed many secrets about his life such as a prior [[drug addiction]], bouts with mental illness and suicide attempts. He also disclosed how he lied to employers about a criminal conviction for larceny that took place when Leopold was in his 20s and working in the record business."
The third contribution just cleaned up a section dealing which referred to him "as a senior editor and reporter" who had "returned to 'Truthout' as Deputy Managing Editor."

The fourth contribution was related to an article written by Leopold that Salon removed from its website after accusations that it had been plagiarized. Originally, the Wikipedia entry stated,
"According to Salon, Leopold's article 'used seven full paragraphs amounting to 480 words, virtually verbatim, from the FT. There were two attributions to the FT within the passage, but they appeared to apply only to the specific sentences that contained them, not to the full passage.' Leopold later admitted that he had been careless by not providing the 'FT' with additional credit, but insisted that Salon's editors had all the relevant documents, including the disputed White email, before the story was published.'"
But it was changed to:
"According to Salon, Leopold's article 'used seven full paragraphs about a specific contract amounting to 480 words, virtually verbatim, from the FT. There were two clear attributions to the FT within the passage.' Leopold later admitted that he had been careless by not providing the 'FT' with additional credit even though he had already credited the publication twice. He insisted that Salon's editors had all the relevant documents, including the disputed White email, which he later posted online on the New Zealand website Scoop, before the story was published."
The following lines were also removed:
"Commenting on the case, Kerry Lauerman of 'Salon' said that 'Leopold definitely represents the dark side of the web ... he became this sort of hero for throngs people online.' {{cite book|last=Russell|first=Adrienne|editor=S. Elizabeth Bird|title=The anthropology of news & journalism: global perspectives|url=| and New-Media Professional Journalism Culture|year=2010|publisher=Indiana University Press|isbn=0253221269|pages=278-€“9}}"
"Reverting possible vandalism," a Wikipedia editor wrote in response to the edits on November 7, 2011, and added some of the deleted parts back to Leopold's entry.

There are other interesting things at Wikipedia's revision history page for "Jason Leopold" connected to California IP addresses including the July 1, 2010 claim, "I am Mr. Leopold's attorney and Wikipedia has a complaint citing recurring defamation in this article with regards to the stated claims about Salon. A show cause order was issued as well."

Another comment by that same IP on June 21, 2010:
"I am Mr. Leopold's attorney. The passage BONEWAH included on Salon contains defamatory and libelous information. The context of this passage is wholly taken out of context. Mr. Leopold sued Salon in 2003 for false statements the organization made about this episode. It is covered in great detail in his book, News Junkie, as well as a legal letter to Columbia Journalism Review on this discussion page. Mr. Leopold ultimately prevailed and Salon apologized. In fact, a simple lexis search will show this article is still available from Salon. User BONEWAH has waged a war against Mr. Leopold extending several years now and have gone above and beyond to malign my client. You state that Mr. Leopold is only known for the Karl Rove episode. Perhaps that is true for you but not for the tens of thousands of people who read Mr. Leopold's work on a daily basis and invite him on television and radio to discuss his work. Your commentary is evidence of bias and in cherry picking passages to fit your agenda you have defamed Mr. Leopold and in doing so caused him serious harm. I demand this passage immediately be removed as it does not state the true nature of the facts. Moreover, this entire article is nothing short of a hit job by a select group of individuals who have made a career of sorts of defaming and libeling my client. There is absolutely no balance to this entry and the authors seem to have knowingly avoided including the accolades, particularly on issues related to Mr. Leopold's work in other areas as well as an award he received from The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an organization nominated for a Nobel Peace prize for 2010. A simple search of this organization's website will provide you with the information you need. By continuing to keep this passage intact wikipedia is now a party to defamation. I would advise all interested parties to read the letter on the discussion page. My contact information can be found on the letter cited above to Columbia Journalism Review."
But on July 29, 2010, the same IP address argued, "I am not a representative nor associated with Mr. Leopold and you have no basis to suggest that I am. I am simply trying to add balance to this article that has long been biased and the neutrality questionable. The village voice story is relevant and must be included, particularly the quote from Paul Krugman."

In August of 2010, that IP address was blocked for "Block evasion: Disruptive editing: and long-term edit-warring on Jason Leopold."

Normally, I don't allow anonymous smear comments on my blog, but since they might be left by Jason Leopold, I'll make an exception for this article.

PS: "Cities in Dust" is the best song ever released by Siouxsie & The Banshees, and these lines sound appropriate: "We found you hiding we found you lying/Choking on the dirt and sand/Your former glories and all the stories/Dragged and washed with eager hands."

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