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MDforDirtyPolitics… and journalism [MD4BUSH]
NRO ^ | 11/08/05 | Stephen Spruiell

Posted on 11/08/2005 6:59:47 AM PST by advance_copy

Earlier this year a mysterious source turned over some e-mails to a Washington Post reporter. The e-mails seemed to indicate that a man with ties to the Republican governor of Maryland, Robert Ehrlich, was spreading rumors about the governor's chief political rival on FreeRepublic.com. The Post wrote a series of articles about the e-mails and the man — a state employee named Joseph Steffen — resigned and apologized to the governor.

The Post didn't do any reporting on the source of the e-mails — someone only identified by the Free Republic screen name "MD4Bush" — but it was apparent from the nature of the e-mails that MD4Bush had entered FreeRepublic.com with the intention of engaging Steffen in a conversation about the rumors, leading him into making damaging statements in private e-mails or "Freepmails," and then turning those e-mails over to the Post.

The strategy worked like a charm. Washington Post reporter Matthew Mosk demonized Steffen and downplayed aspects of the e-mails that seemed exculpatory, such as when Steffen wrote (in response to a clearly leading question), "I am sure you will understand, I cannot and will not offer suggestions that may be considered unethical concerning what you should do, campaign-wise. This is especially true concerning [the rival's] personal life." In over a dozen stories written about Steffen over the subsequent months, this statement appeared only once, in the last paragraph of a sidebar story titled, "Uproar brings focus on role of bloggers."

While Mosk was playing Judith Miller for some anonymous political operative, WBAL-TV investigative reporter Dave Collins was getting curious about the identity of MD4Bush. He reported a few stories speculating about the identity, but he couldn't do much — FreeRepublic.com sympathized with the governor's side but was bound by law to keep any information on MD4Bush confidential.

(Excerpt) Read more at nationalreview.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial; Free Republic; News/Current Events; US: Maryland
KEYWORDS: md4bush; mediabias; msm; mwdp; omalley; wapo
NRO new media writer Stephen Spruiell slams the Washington Post for their role in the MD4BUSH saga.
1 posted on 11/08/2005 6:59:47 AM PST by advance_copy
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To: advance_copy

The more I read of this, the more I hate the ComPost. Mosk should be fired immediately.


2 posted on 11/08/2005 7:05:24 AM PST by KC_Conspirator (This space outsourced to India)
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To: advance_copy

I don't believe the depths of this entire sordid affair have been even skimmed yet. Amazing. This should serve as a textbook lesson to many.


3 posted on 11/08/2005 7:16:52 AM PST by Whitewasher (Would u like America to be a goat nation in the millennium to come? Keep pushing the "Roadmap" bull!)
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To: Jim Robinson

For your reading pleasure if you haven't caught this one yet.


4 posted on 11/08/2005 7:17:24 AM PST by notpoliticallycorewrecked (God Bless our military)
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To: advance_copy
. Mosk knew MD4Bush was some kind of an operative with an axe to grind. He saw the leading questions. He knew it was a set-up. He didn’t stop and say, “Hey, wait a minute.

Mosk is still reporting too!

What a bunch of lying weasels.

5 posted on 11/08/2005 7:24:23 AM PST by sausageseller (Look out for the jackbooted spelling police. There! Everywhere!(revised cause the "man" accosted me!)
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To: KC_Conspirator
Looks as if the Dumbacrats are up to there sleazy eye balls in this according to the link to nationalreview.com. Who could have guessed?
6 posted on 11/08/2005 7:25:18 AM PST by ANGGAPO (LayteGulfBeachClub.)
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To: ANGGAPO
Looks as if the Dumbacrats are up to their sleazy eyeballs in this plot according to the link, nationalreview.com. Who could have guessed? (Pays to edit first)
7 posted on 11/08/2005 7:30:53 AM PST by ANGGAPO (LayteGulfBeachClub.)
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To: ANGGAPO

Hmmmm,

Sounds like a "Culture of Corruption" to me.

dung.


8 posted on 11/08/2005 7:33:18 AM PST by Moose Dung (Soiling the Shoes of the Lunatic Left)
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To: advance_copy

The ends justify the means for Demoncrats.


9 posted on 11/08/2005 7:33:35 AM PST by ikka
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To: conservative in nyc; kristinn; Jim Robinson

You might ping your lists.


10 posted on 11/08/2005 7:41:50 AM PST by Alia
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To: advance_copy
Wow, a reporter who keeps the facts straight when writing about new media! Excellent work, Mr. Spruiell.
11 posted on 11/08/2005 7:56:10 AM PST by NonValueAdded ("To the terrorists, the media is a vital force multiplier" Brig. Gen. Donald Alston (USAF) 10/31/05)
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To: advance_copy
This is the part of the whole sordid tale that I just love:
Under pressure to tell the public what it knows about MD4Bush, the Post included the following in its statement:

As we have also reported in the newspaper, we do not know the identity of MD4Bush. We have tried to find out who MD4Bush is, but we have not been successful.
How can the post claim to have "authorized" access to a Free Republic account, and not know who the account belongs to?
12 posted on 11/08/2005 8:04:41 AM PST by The_Victor (If all I want is a warm feeling, I should just wet my pants.)
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To: advance_copy
Mr Mosks wife wrote :Selective dumbness is not a frequent disorder and there remains still currently an intriguing disorder surrounded by a certain mystery..

Hey Matthew, ask your wife if she remembers that quote?

13 posted on 11/08/2005 8:05:58 AM PST by sausageseller (Look out for the jackbooted spelling police. There! Everywhere!(revised cause the "man" accosted me!)
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To: NCPAC; MD4Bush; xcullen; Anti-Bubba182; Mo1; cyncooper; BillF; crushkerry; Howlin; backhoe; ...

MD4Bush Ping!


14 posted on 11/08/2005 8:55:50 AM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: advance_copy

November hasn't been a good month for liberals for a few years.

Moi Kerri got his butt kicked last November.

This year their favorite city is burning, Paris, thanks to the jihadists the liberals are in love with.

The Fizty thing is ready to turn into a nightmare for all of the lying MSM maggots who lied in rotation at the Grand Jury.

The republicans in the Senate and House are getting ready to hold hearings on who outed our real CIA agents at those prisons.

Now the Compost is running into the Free Republic like Blather/Mapes and CBS did last year.


15 posted on 11/08/2005 9:04:17 AM PST by Grampa Dave (MSM pseudo reporters use "could, may, and might" when they are lying and spinning.)
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To: conservative in nyc

I'm seeing legs :0)


16 posted on 11/08/2005 9:09:49 AM PST by Mo1
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To: advance_copy

blistering...


17 posted on 11/08/2005 9:13:51 AM PST by Katya (Homo Nosce Te Ipsum)
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To: conservative in nyc
"..It gets better. By sharing his sign-on information, WBAL reported, MD4Bush might have violated the website user policy that he agreed to, thereby voiding his right to confidentiality.

Free Republic is showing signs that they’re ready to go public with the name, and it doesn’t look good for the state Democratic party.."

There really is no might to it. MD4Bush did violate the User agreement.

Registration and User Agreement

"User Account Confidentiality: User agrees to protect user's account and password and not to disclose account information to any third party."

What's more the Washington post did as well when they logged in under his name and this might get a lot more serious than mere embarrasment.

Unlawful Access to Stored Communications 18 U.S.C. 2701.

"§ 2701. Unlawful Access to Stored Communications

(a) Offense.--Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section whoever–

(1) intentionally accesses without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided; or

(2) intentionally exceeds an authorization to access that facility; and thereby obtains, alters, or prevents authorized access to a wire or electronic communication while it is in electronic storage in such system shall be punished as provided in subsection (b) of this section. "

The WP did exceed an authorization to access FR by using anothers password(Forbidden under the Users Agreement which govern the access of users) to access FRmails and did not make any attempt to determine the rules of access to FR or presumably they would not have improperly used anothers password. They flat did violate section 2b of 18 U.S.C. 2701 in that they did not view, or observe the rules if they did view them. If the reporter was unaware of 2b of 18 U.S.C. 2701 it won't help. A professional at a large newspaper should know or should have asked.

18 posted on 11/08/2005 9:16:20 AM PST by Anti-Bubba182
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To: Anti-Bubba182
We haven't even started much on the WaPo's ethical problems with using anonymous sources in violation of their own policies for using anonymous sources. Like giving the reader enough information about the source to figure out if the source is holding a grudge.
19 posted on 11/08/2005 9:21:39 AM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: conservative in nyc
As NRO points out and any reasonable reader would surmise, MD4Bush baited Steffen and then ratted him out. Only one with a grudge or political operative would do that.

Mosk could not have missed that point. He hoped he readers would overlook the obvious. If not for MD4Bush's mistake of registering from a traceable email address it would have worked with few problems.

20 posted on 11/08/2005 9:31:27 AM PST by Anti-Bubba182
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To: Jim Robinson
Jim Robinson, the president of the conservative Web site, issued the following statement: "Free Republic has evidence that an mddems.org (Maryland Democratic Party) e-mail address is associated with the MD4BUSH account. This is not just coincidence"

SICK'EM JIM!

21 posted on 11/08/2005 9:31:39 AM PST by hoosiermama
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To: Nightshift

ping a ling...


22 posted on 11/08/2005 9:32:39 AM PST by tutstar (OurFlorida.true.ws)
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To: advance_copy

Made it to NRO. Excellent!


23 posted on 11/08/2005 9:42:04 AM PST by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Take Back The GOP!)
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To: Mo1

Yes indeedy!


24 posted on 11/08/2005 9:42:34 AM PST by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Take Back The GOP!)
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To: conservative in nyc

Excellent!

bump


25 posted on 11/08/2005 9:58:07 AM PST by maggief
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To: advance_copy

Mosk definitely should be fired. Kudos to Spruiell for laying out the case against him so articulately and persuasively.


26 posted on 11/08/2005 11:57:07 AM PST by beckett (Amor Fati)
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To: advance_copy

Mosk sounds like he is between a rock and a hard place.

He says he does not know the identity of MD4Bush but he also says he had permission from MD4Bush to enter Free Republic using his password (a no-no anyway)

How can you have persmission from someone you do not know?


27 posted on 11/08/2005 12:07:24 PM PST by Republican Red (Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment.)
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To: Republican Red
How can you have persmission from someone you do not know?

Mosk's editor states that an "intermediary" provided the password, which actually compounds the ethical dilemma for Mosk. How did Mosk satisfy himself that the intermediary had proper authorization to access someone else's account?

28 posted on 11/08/2005 12:21:25 PM PST by beckett (Amor Fati)
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To: conservative in nyc

y'all shoulda seen that liberal squirming when dave collins stuck the mike in his face to question him about his email addresses.

his eyes darted from side to side then rolled back into his head as he retrieved the proper responses drilled into his memory banks by his politician bosses.

damage control !!!

damage controlllllllllllllllllll !!!!!!


29 posted on 11/08/2005 12:48:51 PM PST by ILLUMINATI_216
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To: ILLUMINATI_216
I wish I was able to see it.

The Washington Post claiming it is trying to figure out MD4Bush's identity is a little like O.J. claiming he is searching for the real killer while out playing golf. Both might not be guilty, but they should have been trying a little bit harder if they didn't want people to think they were.
30 posted on 11/08/2005 1:00:39 PM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: advance_copy

I would dearly love for all the 15 or 20 "drive-by" FR posters from the ranks of the WaPo to each have to fess-up publically as to their attempts to create rather than report the news....


31 posted on 11/08/2005 3:15:59 PM PST by VRWCTexan (History has a long memory - but still repeats itself)
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To: conservative in nyc
Got a question for you. (you seem like the person to ask)

The whole issue of moving the private Freepmails to the public forum of FR has not received enough attention (from what I've seen so far) IMO. Does the act of moving private freepmail to the public forum violate any laws or statutes, FR guidelines? If MD4Bush did it? What if a Washington Post reporter did it while logged into the MD4Bush account? Would this be a greater legal offense than just logging onto a FR account to verify things (as the WP claims)?

I'm not sure if a reporter can source private emails for a story. If not, it would be a big temptation for a reporter to quickly copy private material to the public forum to be used as a source. I may be way off base here, but I suspect that the WP did more than just verify their source while they were logged onto that account.

32 posted on 11/08/2005 3:23:02 PM PST by sawoody
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To: sawoody; Congressman Billybob; HAL9000; Anti-Bubba182
Does the act of moving private freepmail to the public forum violate any laws or statutes, FR guidelines?

I have no idea. Some Freepers have theorized that the WaPo publicly posted (or had MD4Bush publicly post) the Freepmails so that they could reprint them without violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. I'm far from an expert on the ECPA.

I've pinged some Freepers who I think have posted on some of the ECPA-related issues before.

I may be way off base here, but I suspect that the WP did more than just verify their source while they were logged onto that account.

You may be right. The WaPo admitted logging on 3 times, IIRC. Only the WaPo, MD4Bush and Jim Robinson know for sure what they did.
33 posted on 11/08/2005 3:51:44 PM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: conservative in nyc
The WBAL-TV news video is here:
34 posted on 11/08/2005 3:51:48 PM PST by Heatseeker ("I sort of like liberals now. They’re kind of cute when they’re shivering and afraid." - Ann Coulter)
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To: Heatseeker

Thanks.


35 posted on 11/08/2005 4:01:16 PM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: conservative in nyc
"Does the act of moving private freepmail to the public forum violate any laws or statutes, FR guidelines?"

That is not the problem under Electronic Communications Privacy Act. The exceeding of permitted access by the WP is the problem. Posting private FR mails is considered bad form on the forum but not a violation of law or of the FR Guidelines.

Unlawful Access to Stored Communications 18 U.S.C. 2701.

"§ 2701. Unlawful Access to Stored Communications

(a) Offense.--Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section whoever–

(1) intentionally accesses without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided; or

(2) intentionally exceeds an authorization to access that facility; and thereby obtains, alters, or prevents authorized access to a wire or electronic communication while it is in electronic storage in such system shall be punished as provided in subsection (b) of this section. "

Registration and User Agreement

"User Account Confidentiality: User agrees to protect user's account and password and not to disclose account information to any third party."

The WP did exceed an authorization to access FR by using anothers password(Forbidden under the Users Agreement which govern the access of users) to access FRmails and did not make any attempt to determine the rules of access to FR or presumably they would not have improperly used anothers password. They flat did violate section 2b of 18 U.S.C. 2701 in that they did not view, or observe the rules if they did view them. If the reporter was unaware of 2b of 18 U.S.C. 2701 it won't help. A professional at a large newspaper should know or should have asked.

"I may be way off base here, but I suspect that the WP did more than just verify their source while they were logged onto that account."

If anyone logged in from the Washington Post posted anything I am sure we would have heard about it. They probably verified the contents of FR mail under MD4Bush which they could not access as a guest.

36 posted on 11/08/2005 4:07:14 PM PST by Anti-Bubba182
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To: advance_copy

So, the Washington Post is saying all it's "journalists" are too incompetent to trace this down? Why don't they hire some better quality "journalists"?


37 posted on 11/08/2005 4:36:14 PM PST by McGavin999 (Reporters write the Truth, Journalists write "Stories")
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To: ILLUMINATI_216; conservative in nyc; nunya bidness; Doctor Raoul; Jim Robinson; kristinn
Direct link to video (will open in your media player) Who is MD4BUSH? - WBAL TV News report (video), November 7, 2005
38 posted on 11/08/2005 5:12:25 PM PST by tgslTakoma
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To: Heatseeker

Oops. That's what I get for not reading through a thread before posting. (When will I learn?) Apologies for the dupe.


39 posted on 11/08/2005 5:14:09 PM PST by tgslTakoma
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To: tgslTakoma
Hey don't feel bad - if you watch WBAL's piece, you'll see they spelled Kristinn's name wrong. ;)
40 posted on 11/08/2005 5:43:16 PM PST by Heatseeker ("I sort of like liberals now. They’re kind of cute when they’re shivering and afraid." - Ann Coulter)
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To: Heatseeker
I saw that (he hasn't, though - yet).

;-)

41 posted on 11/08/2005 5:45:43 PM PST by tgslTakoma
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To: conservative in nyc

Thanks CinNYC, You gave me a few new keywords for searching. I've read most of the MD4Bush threads beg to end, but I haven't seen much on this subject. Hopefully more to come.


42 posted on 11/08/2005 6:59:55 PM PST by sawoody
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To: Anti-Bubba182
If anyone logged in from the Washington Post posted anything I am sure we would have heard about it. They probably verified the contents of FR mail under MD4Bush which they could not access as a guest.

Thanks AB182, that makes sense. JR would have a WP IP address if the WP reporter moved the freepmails. Can a reporter use private emails like that as a source? Or would it require moving them to the public forum before sourcing? WP may have instructed MD4Bush to move them before they could use the info.

43 posted on 11/08/2005 7:26:02 PM PST by sawoody
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To: sawoody
"..Can a reporter use private emails like that as a source? Or would it require moving them to the public forum before sourcing? WP may have instructed MD4Bush to move them before they could use the info."

I'm not sure on that. At the time I just thought MD4Bush was posting them on various threads to taunt FR and Steffen. Maybe there was another reason.

44 posted on 11/08/2005 7:40:30 PM PST by Anti-Bubba182
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To: The_Victor

WaPo is telling us that not only do they use un-named sources but an "un-known" source. Journalism at it's finest.


45 posted on 11/09/2005 7:05:40 PM PST by pieces of time
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