"Yes I stand by every single word of it. Believe me if it had been wholly inaccurate you would NEVER have witnessed such a response by the Palin team and their minions."
-- "Gryphen," a/k/a Jesse Griffin, Aug. 5, 2009
"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."
-- Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003)
One of the basic problems of liberalism is that it requires a false optimism about human nature. If you believe all human problems can be solved by goodwill (and, of course, a few billion dollars of taxpayer money) you are self-evidently a fool, and I'm too old to waste time arguing with fools.
The Vision of the Anointed, as Thomas Sowell has famously called the fundamental delusion of liberalism, necessarily leads to other errors, until eventually the True Believer finds himself imprisoned by a set of false assumptions which he cannot question, lest his entire worldview fall apart. Once a reasonably intelligent person begins in earnest to critically examine the truth-claims of liberalism, he will eventually become an ex-liberal.
Habits of thought, however, can be as difficult to break as a heroin addiction, and someone who gets into the habit of thinking that every Democrat is a saint and every Republican is evil will have a hard time reconciling these beliefs with the facts.
As John Adams said, facts are stubborn things, and the fact is that Jesse Griffin's victimhood schtick looks like the predictable reaction of a narcissistic phony caught in a lie. Griffin is counting on his fellow liberals to subscribe to a syllogism:
- All liberals are good people;
- Griffin is a liberal; ergo
- Griffin is a good person.
If you think like that, you're a chump. And if you think that everyone with a nice smile is a good person, you are also a chump. Ted Bundy had a nice smile. (As does Sarah Palin, for that matter.)
Griffin wants to make this all about Palin, and invite his fellow Palin-haters to believe that Palin is the ultimate source of Griffin's woes.
Very convenient for Griffin, you see, as it seems that every dingbat in Anchorage with access to the Internet is spending all their time spreading malicious nonsense about Sarah Palin. So, by playing this Victim-of-Palin card, Griffin invites the swarm of blogospheric myrmidons to testify what a swell guy he is.
Whatever. I've spent five days working with Dan Riehl on this story, and it's time for me to move on. By the time any members of the Anchorage PDS Moonbat Brigade read this, I'll be on a train to D.C. to get back to the stories I was working on when Griffin ruined my weekend by claiming to know -- for a fact -- that Todd and Sarah Palin were getting divorced. As I wrote in my article earlier this morning:
Griffin's story was immediately promoted by Dennis Zaki's "Alaska Report" site, which claimed that "multiple sources" had confirmed the report. Jeanne Devon, an Anchorage Democratic activist who had previously blogged anonymously, also promoted Griffin's "exclusive" at the Huffington Post.That's where the story stood a little after 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday when, taking a break from an article I was writing for the American Spectator, I decided to check Memeorandum and came to the erroneous conclusion that I'd been scooped by some nobody blogger in Anchorage.
As a result of this promotion, by Saturday afternoon Zaki's headline, "Todd and Sarah Palin to divorce," was the lead item at the popular Memeorandum political news site, even though it had already been officially denied by Palin spokeswoman Meg Stapleton.
This resulted in a phone call, and by 5:08 p.m., I had an authorized "completely false." By 5:38 p.m., I had a direct quote from Sarah Palin. And I then spent a little time conclusively demonstrating that Dennis Zaki is a clueless Bozo who wouldn't last a week covering the Floyd County Commission for the Rome (Ga.) News-Tribune. (The city editor is Mike Colombo; Bozos need not apply.)
This is what happens when stupid amateurs play "investigative reporter," you see? And then Sunday afternoon, some anonymous Internet dude sent me an e-mail with the identity of "Gryphen." I called Dan Riehl, who was CC'd on the e-mail, asked him what he thought, poked around a bit on the Google, and decided I'd better post it before Dan did, if I wanted the scoop.
Then I spent perhaps the sweatiest four hours of my professional career waiting for Dan to nail down the ID. If Griffin thinks he's suffered hell this week, imagine if my anonymous e-mailer had ID'd the wrong "Gryphen." Some poor schmuck who doesn't even have a blog finds a lynch mob in his front yard -- no, that would not do. Thank God, Dan nailed it.
Everything that I've done since then has been motivated by two factors:
- My love of a being in on a big story; and
- My personal opinion, as a father of six children, that I would be extremely angry if I found out somebody like Jesse Griffin was a teaching assistant in my kid's kindergarten class.
One of my sources, somebody who was never quoted or even mentioned in our reporting, is a Ph.D. expert in such matters.
"How in the blazes did they hire this guy?" said my source, after being filled in (names excluded) on the background, including the quotes from "Gryphen" when he was still anonymous.
Maybe it's all perfectly innocent. Maybe Griffin's the sweetest guy in the world. But as my source put it, any school principal who hires a middle-aged divorced man as "an assistant teacher in a room full of five year old children" needs to have their head examined.
Simply as a statistical proposition, it's a nightmare of unnecessary risk. My own daughter is majoring in early elementary education, and it's not like there is any shortage of potential kindergarten teachers.
Well, I'll let Dan Riehl fight it out from here. But I still have questions because -- thanks to Dan's ace research skills -- I know what the Anchorage school district was paying Griffin, and it sure isn't enough to make the payments on a $330,000 house.
Griffin keeps talking about having some other job that's his main source of income, but if he's actually being paid -- by the National Enquirer, maybe? -- to do journalism, he needs to be fired from that, too.
Maybe he's not a pervert, but he sure as hell is not a reporter. Now you'll excuse me, I've got a train to catch. And don't forget to hit the tip jar -- good minions don't come cheap.
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