Opening Act: Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 25 2012 8:27 AM

Opening Act: Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day

CORRECTION: This post originally included a flawed, false reference to Mark Singer's work on Brett Kimberlin. I wrote that Singer was misled by Kimberlin and wrote a "bogus" story before exposing the source's lies. Kimberlin told a bogus story; Singer wrote about what subsequently happened to the story-teller. Subsequent reporting by Singer revealed just how duplicitous Kimberlin had been. The details are in Singer's original story and his book, Citizen K. My sincere apologies to Singer.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

Today, the right side of the blogosphere is trying out a fascinating crowd-source experiment. For months, a few conservative writers -- most of them using pen names -- have been in a pitched battle with a convicted felon-turned-activist named Brett Kimberlin. By any reasonable definition, Kimberlin is a public figure. After he claimed to have sold marijuana to Dan Quayle, New Yorker writer Mark Singer investigated him and made him the subject of a book. When Kimberlin resurfaced in the world of "black box voting" activism, conservative bloggers started to ask questions about him. Skip to May 2012. Blogger Patterico says he was the victim of a hoax that brought armed police officers to his home. The blogger "Aaron Worthing," identity exposed by a frivolous lawsuit, is counter-suing.

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The goal of "Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day," as far as I can see it, is to make Kimblerlin famous again. Certainly, it's enough to spook some people. On Wednesday night, the conservative ad-maker Ladd Ehlinger tweeted at me to ask if I was going to join in. "Working on it," I tweeted back. All I meant was that I barely understood the story, and was reading pieces about it. But my three-word response quickly inspired this e-mail from a writer named Ron Brynaert. Subject: "Working on what?" Text:

I've never gotten any email from you...
How the fuck can you report on Brett Kimberlin without contacting me?  Or are you just interviewing the crazy troll lawyer who snatched an iPad in a courthouse and is trying to blackmail me for $20,000 and sue me for $66 million - in some insane conspiracy with Brett Kimberlin - who lied to me - and Neal Rauhauser who I've spent the last 11 months exposing.
I've been smeared by both sides for the last 11 months, and you've ignored every tweet I've sent to you...
God forbid any of you could report on Weinergate's Mike Stack @CryingWolfeBlog who was SWATted last June 23rd and how Patterico, Liberty Chick etc. impeded investigations and have done ZERO reporting on Neal Rauhauser and are instead talking about Brett Kimberlin. And how Patterico has spent the last 10 months smearing me and pretending he has "secret evidence" proving I made bogus 911 call to Stack and to him - while I was on the phone with him on June 30! Or how multiple Huffington Post reporters were working on a story about Aaron menacing me until they mysteriously dropped the story. Or how I'm being sued by Raw Story...
Anyway, good luck with your story...I'm sure it  will be just as fair as all the hit pieces you ran against Hillary Clinton in 2008 which got you linked on Drudge and love from the Journolisters...

I hadn't actually received any DM's from him. This was the first of many e-mails Brynaert sent to me, most of which were longer and less coherent, the last batch of which he cc'd to editors with. When he moved up to Twitter, I blocked him. It was enough to make this whole "make the harasser famous" concept pretty intriguing.

Have the "Blog About Brett Kimberlin" brigades figured out the legal risks of the enterprise? Are dozens of tweeters and bloggers, with no support networks, going to start fighting off lawsuits? Right now their allies include The Washington Examiner's op-ed page, Red State, Michelle Malkin, and the Breitbart network. So, we'll see.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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