September 03, 2008

Politico vs. Right Wing Blogger

Ben Smith has an awesome retort to conservative bloggers who claimed, falsely, that he had reported "the Democrats" released Sarah Palin's social security and phone numbers:

RedState's Erick Erickson has a fevered take on our story on Tony Knowles' two-year-old opposition research book on Sarah Palin under the heading "Democrats Release Sarah Palin's Social Security Number."

His item is so wildly misleading that it's hard to know where to start, but the headline seems like a good place.

First, if he knows that Democrats released it, he has better sources than I do.

Second, the Social Security number is missing its last four digits. That is, it's already been redacted, in an apparent excess of caution by whoever prepared it from public record. You can't get very far with a five-digit Social Security number. (Similarly redacted Social Security numbers are available for a small fee on such sinister tools as Lexis-Nexis.)

The item's first sentence is also inaccurate. "The Politico has received an opposition research file from the Alaska Democrats."

The notion that we received the file from the Alaska Democrats appears to come from sources inside Erickson's head.

Finally, Drudge is teasing the story with the news that Palin's home phone number has been released. You can find the same number in any online telephone book.

Of course, Drudge only linked to the Red State version, and ignored Smith's smacking down of it. I'm sure Hannity will still be talking about this weeks from now.

Posted by Stephen Silver at September 3, 2008 04:21 PM
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