That Drudge headline is inaccurate

posted at 10:23 pm on October 4, 2006 by Bryan

Sorry, folks. The teen in question was 17 during some of the chats and 18 during others. Go read this ABC News reprint of a couple of the IMs. The kid says in black and white a little over halfway down the page that he hasn’t reached his 18th birthday yet and wouldn’t “till feb 23.” That would make him 17. Both ages happen to be above DC’s age of consent law, so legally it would seem to me that Foley won’t be charged unless new information emerges.

Yeah, there’s a pretty strong chance of new information emerging. But not necessarily new information that places him in legal jeopardy.

Moral jeopardy is another matter. He’s in that to stay.

So are quite a few other people. The Republican leadership, perhaps. The dust hasn’t quite settled on that yet, but you can see a scenario in which Speaker Hastert falls on his sword and the next few weeks see the GOP in the House erupting in civil war to replace him. Or not, if cooler heads prevail and a successor emerges quickly. Or we could see Hastert hang on and attract “what and when did he know” stories for five more weeks. Whatever he does, that list–you know what I’m talking about–hangs over the party like a Sword of Damocles. There may be only one name on it. Or a hundred. Not knowing is what makes it so dangerous. So it probably won’t be published, at least for a while.

Whoever was behind the StopSexPredators fauxblog and the Kos diary that brought the faux blog to attention has some explaining to do, since there’s a good chance that that person or group sat on the IMs, thus protecting a potential predator, in order to achieve maximum political effect. It’s obvious that the blog was part of the plan. Using dKos was a shrewd move. Posting within 12 minutes on one site and then the other? Not so shrewd.

But most of all, the moral jeopardy is Mark Foley’s. Let’s not lose sight of that.

We’re finding out an ugly truth right now. Terrorists may yet nuke Washington one of these days, but for the time being they don’t have to. The city is perfectly capable of destroying itself.

Update: And new information emerges.

House GOP leaders on Tuesday asked for an investigation into an allegation that former Rep. Mark Foley showed up drunk outside the House page dorm near the nation’s capitol, FOX News confirmed.


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Comments

i have to agree with the last part of Bryan’s post

Starblazer on October 4, 2006 at 10:35 PM

Thanks for setting this story straight. This is why I get my daily dose from Hot Air.

flyboy777 on October 4, 2006 at 10:36 PM

Is it inaccurate, though? One of the featured exchange was indeed with an 18 year old.

Allahpundit on October 4, 2006 at 10:41 PM

Well, that clears that up. I was unaware that 17 is legal age in the district. Foley’s still a creep, though; and Hastert still has to go.

Kid from Brooklyn on October 4, 2006 at 10:41 PM

Moral jeopardy is another matter. He’s in that to stay.

Indisputable.

Also not in dispute, it isnt only an issue of age..it is an issue of abuse of power…abuse of influence. That is what the Bill Clinton thing hinged on to me..someone WITH power trying to influence/seduce someone with NO power for sexual purposes.It is always reprehensible whether it happens in corporate America or the Halls of Congress.

labwrs on October 4, 2006 at 10:42 PM

16 is the legal age to avoid a charge of sexual abuse. But Foley’s not at risk for that, I don’t think, since apparently they never had physical contact.

I think the federal age of consent would apply here. If there is such a thing.

Allahpundit on October 4, 2006 at 10:42 PM

I think it is inaccurate by what it omits. The IMs were not just with an 18 year old. The screaming headline seems like an attempt to exonerate Foley on the charge that he IMed a kid by emphasizing the 18–adult in any jurisdiction. But the truth is, the kid was also 17 during some of the IMs, as the story Drudge himself links makes clear.

Bryan on October 4, 2006 at 10:44 PM

The more people I talk to in the general public think it’s all “creepy” to say the least, and seemingly wrong. However, the conversations seem to now be asking “When did Foley actually molest this teen?”. Perhaps it’s boredom with the story already…I have no idea, but the democrats need to seriously consider how far they want to go with this IMVHO. I don’t think the general public, save the netroots kooks, are gleeful that any of this is happening and for the democrats to delight in it smears them as well.

(But I’m no expert, mind you!)

SouthernGent on October 4, 2006 at 10:53 PM

Drudge amended the story an hour or so ago (I’m guessing on the timeline, but it’s been updated for a while now) – here’s what the last part of his link said:

A network source explains, messages with the young man and disgraced former Congressman Foley took place before and after the 18th birthday.

SisterToldjah on October 4, 2006 at 10:54 PM

He needs to amend the headline. That’s what everyone’s been emailing us here, apparently without reading the details in the story. It’s not an atypical MSM strategy, have a headline that promises some great relevation that is either not borne by or is flat contradicted by the actual story it heads. Drudge shouldn’t become what he has beheld for so long.

Bryan on October 4, 2006 at 10:58 PM

Oh, he was 17, well it’s ok then.

It’s STILL sick.

Tony737 on October 4, 2006 at 10:59 PM

Drudge shouldn’t become what he has beheld for so long.

On the other hand, Kos and co. have been deliberately conflating the e-mails Hastert knew about with the IMs that he didn’t.

I’m trying to muster the outrage towards Drudge here.

Trying. And failing.

Allahpundit on October 4, 2006 at 11:04 PM

Oh, I’m not outraged at Drudge. I just wish he’d mind the details so he doesn’t send a lot of good people off chasing rabbits. The Kossacks are behaving as they always do–as badly with as little humanity and honesty as possible. Whoever “WHInternNow” is knew his audience quite well.

Bryan on October 4, 2006 at 11:07 PM

He needs to amend the headline. That’s what everyone’s been emailing us here, apparently without reading the details in the story. It’s not an atypical MSM strategy, have a headline that promises some great relevation that is either not borne by or is flat contradicted by the actual story it heads. Drudge shouldn’t become what he has beheld for so long.

Bryan, not that I’m making excuses, but it’s been my experience that this isn’t the first time Drudge has distorted a headline, and I’m sure it won’t be his last. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read a headline on his site, clicked the link, and come to find out Drudge had misrepresented the story. It’s a shame it happened on this story, considering all the other distorted info out there on it, but the headline is SSDD as far as Drudge is concerned. Hopefully people will click through and read the story for themselves. Even more importantly, perhaps somewhere along the line we’ll see some independent confirmation of what he’s reporting.

SisterToldjah on October 4, 2006 at 11:09 PM

I think this latest revelation goes to the media’s honesty. As I write this, my local news station is showing a CBS piece about the scandal, and are highlighting the potential criminal charges facet of this story. They are showing pictures of Foley speaking outside the White House.

They are also refusing to acknowledge the partisan origins of CREW.

Is the media lying to us? Sure seems that way to me.

Slublog on October 4, 2006 at 11:10 PM

So gay sex is a beautiful, sensitive, special thing unless one guy is a Republican? Brokeback Congress.

Hening on October 4, 2006 at 11:11 PM

Just saw the boss’s new post. It was kind of her to coin a new term for use by lefty bloggers. Heh.

Allahpundit on October 4, 2006 at 11:17 PM

Please tell me why Hastert has to go?

Sorry, but I’m tired of sacrificing my party’s leaders for the bloviating Dems and their MSM supporters out there.

Since when was Speaker Hastert supposed to spy on Foley’s IM’ing?

Yeah, I’m not convinced either that he knew this and chose to sit on it. We all know that we GOPers are held to much, much, higher standards than the Party of Studds,Kennedy, and Frank™!

Lady Heather on October 4, 2006 at 11:28 PM

Can someone run down the evidence for me that Hastert did anything less than what could be expected of him? Didn’t he warn Foley to immediately halt any questionable behavior (and wasn’t it halted, as far as we can tell)? Didn’t he refer it to a committee or something for an investigation? Didn’t the FBI already see the same stuff Hastert did and decide not to act? Didn’t 3 newspapers pass on the same non-story that was told to Hastert?

Why are so many on the right calling for his head? Purely as a political move so that we can “move on”?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have any particular fondness for Hastert, and if he did anything wrong throw him to the wolves… that’s fine. But it seems like there is a lot of BS flying around here.

DaveS on October 4, 2006 at 11:29 PM

The conservative outing mob

As always, MM NAILS it!

labwrs on October 4, 2006 at 11:29 PM

I figure another 24-36 hours of nutroots wankery over this and I’ll be ready for Drudge to just start making stuff up. Wholecloth. Just cook it up, put it out there.

Allahpundit on October 4, 2006 at 11:31 PM

Yes, just give it up, Drudge. Our goose is cooked. No more investigations.

Just so we can have a full two years of complaining about what the Dem controlled Congress will do.

Sells newspapers and ups hits on blogs, doesn’t it?

Lady Heather on October 4, 2006 at 11:36 PM

Drudge may have decided to take a slightly less “nuanced” view in his headline to try to inject a little balance into the media orgy. Who knows. It’s certainly no less accurate a headline than most of the stuff we’ve been seeing about this story.

DaveS on October 4, 2006 at 11:37 PM

I have been disturbed over the direction of this thing for the past couple of days. The fact is FOLEY IS/WAS A PREDATOR. PERIOD.
Nothing else matters!
So during the “grooming” they turned 18..
BIG DEAL..he STILL initiated things while they were 16-17. PERIOD.
ALL of this is NOISE..fodder..misdirection..because..repeat after me: THE FACT IS THAT FOLEY WAS A PREDATOR. PERIOD
It is disgusting IF the dems had it and sat on it for a day let alone a year..still..FOLEY IS A PREDATOR. PERIOD.
Nothing else matters..not HOW it came to light or when or why.

labwrs on October 4, 2006 at 11:38 PM

Drudge may have decided to take a slightly less “nuanced” view in his headline to try to inject a little balance into the media orgy.

Yeah!

Allahpundit on October 4, 2006 at 11:39 PM

The argument is not about Foley. Good riddance to him.

The MO with the Dem Party and their lapdogs in the MSM is to taint the entire GOP leadership in this scandal. And I see a lot of people on my side of the aisle are falling for it.

Shall I buy sackcloth and cover myself with ashes because I am a part of this party too?

When are we going to stand up and not be manipulated by these people?

Lady Heather on October 4, 2006 at 11:42 PM

Drudge is a sensationalist. That is his bread and butter.
To have benign headlines is death on his site ergo the SCREAMING headlines that just might be a shade off actuality.
Anyone who reads Drudge regularly knows this is a fact.
Every day it seems there is a VERY misleading headling..all in the name of “GOTCHA”..and sometimes he is right. And sometimes he isnt. This time, he isnt

labwrs on October 4, 2006 at 11:43 PM

FYI, for anyone clicking on my name and going to my blog?

My blog is mildly political, mostly personal.

And I’m too angry right now to write an essay on what I’m thinking right now.

Lady Heather on October 4, 2006 at 11:44 PM

Lady Heather:
I just clicked on your site because of your last comment. At a quick glance it looks like a place I want to check often. Good job!
I particularly liked the post” Thanks for nothing Sen McCain..you schmuck”

When are we going to stand up and not be manipulated by these people?

Today. Tomorrow. From now on..IF we are smart..and this from a reformed yellow dog democrat!

labwrs on October 4, 2006 at 11:49 PM

On a related note, I couldn’t believe my eyes this evening when I saw a picture a photojournalist took of Denny Hastert – the picture was taken from outside the home, and provided a slight glimpse of Hastert walking through his living room. What the purpose of this invasion of privacy was I’m not sure – perhaps they were hoping to snag a picture of him yawning or throwing his hands in the air? It almost looks like something you’d see in the Enquirer.

SisterToldjah on October 4, 2006 at 11:49 PM

I agree with your posts, but… it’s very very hard to read.

Why don’t you state in it WHAT Drudge heading is inaccurate.

Yes, I know now, but you wrote it in a strange way. Quote what you’re talking about.

Thanks,

Christoph on October 4, 2006 at 11:49 PM

So they’re taking pictures of Hastert in his own home now? It’s the end of privacy as we knew it.

Bryan on October 4, 2006 at 11:52 PM

SisterT (another one of my faves!)
WHAT? I mean that..WHAT?
Do you think or does it look like they are using long lenses to photograph him inside his own HOME? INSIDE his home?
In the world of photography (outside of the fricking enquirer and hollywood/italian papparazzi) this is BIGTIME TABOO..
also possibly illegal!

labwrs on October 4, 2006 at 11:52 PM

So they’re taking pictures of Hastert in his own home now? It’s the end of privacy as we knew it.

You must not criticize! We conservatives haven’t shown sufficient contrition yet!

This scandal is about one thing and one thing only: Mark Foley’s wrongness, and our tireless efforts to prove that we understand how total his wrongness is.

Anything less is complicity in child molestation.

Allahpundit on October 4, 2006 at 11:54 PM

That pic of Hastert is nothing short of STALKERAZI! NOT to mention a GROSS invasion of privacy! grrrrrrrr

labwrs on October 4, 2006 at 11:55 PM

Allah,

I thought the point that Passionate America was trying to make was that the kid SAID he was about to be 18 but apparently was older.

I could be wrong there though.

I know it shouldn’t matter. Foley is scum no matter what we find out about the boys he IM’d with. But if ABC said they that one was under 18 and he was not, then that does change the story a bit.

Rightwingsparkle on October 4, 2006 at 11:59 PM

You must not criticize! We conservatives haven’t shown sufficient contrition yet!

This scandal is about one thing and one thing only: Mark Foley’s wrongness, and our tireless efforts to prove that we understand how total his wrongness is.

Anything less is complicity in child molestation.

Allahpundit on October 4, 2006 at 11:54 PM

The point you are trying to make in that post is sooooo dead on. The money line from a column I read today:

Caving in to groundless and hysterical criticism is the quintessence of spinelessness. Republicans have made a habit of it.

Ok, now back to lynching Hastert so we can prove to liberals how much we understand what Foley did was wrong!! And then, onto Boenher!!!

thirteen28 on October 5, 2006 at 12:00 AM

So they’re taking pictures of Hastert in his own home now? It’s the end of privacy as we knew it.

Bryan on October 4, 2006 at 11:52 PM

Yes – and I’m sure they’d claim the pic falls under the banner of “the public’s right to know” or something like that.

Do you think or does it look like they are using long lenses to photograph him inside his own HOME? INSIDE his home?

labwrs on October 4, 2006 at 11:52 PM

I know next to nothing about camera lenses but the picture does look a little grainy so I’m guessing whatever lens they were using had a zoom feature on it of some sort.

You must not criticize! We conservatives haven’t shown sufficient contrition yet!

This scandal is about one thing and one thing only: Mark Foley’s wrongness, and our tireless efforts to prove that we understand how total his wrongness is.

Anything less is complicity in child molestation.

Allahpundit on October 4, 2006 at 11:54 PM

Yep. This morning I dismissed a commenter from my blog after he tried to post a message accusing me of being a member of NAMBLA for supposedly “defending a child molester!!” Apparently pointing out factual errors in media reports, Dem campaign ads, and Nutroots blogger write-ups, like noting that the teen involved was not a child, nor was he molested=”defending a child molester!!”

SisterToldjah on October 5, 2006 at 12:04 AM

I just posted on it. There’s more than one photo.

Allahpundit on October 5, 2006 at 12:05 AM

Ugh, this whole thing is crazy. I’m at the point of saying…

Good night.

Oh, and in case I don’t see ya, good morning, good afternoon, and good evening!

Christoph on October 5, 2006 at 12:12 AM

Minipulation by the Democrats in September and October, Walsh hinting Bush I was in trouble Thursday before the election, Bush II’s DUI Thursday before the election, Rathergate, Foley. Amazing we’ve won the last few cycles.

Fighting the media and the Democrats is always going to be tough. Yeah, it’s two against one, oh, and I forgot the teacher’s unions and organized labor, and…

Throw in a lackluster Congress under Hastert and the emperor of the Senate from Arizonia. What could we possibly expect?

hestrold on October 5, 2006 at 12:24 AM

Just saw the boss’s new post. It was kind of her to coin a new term for use by lefty bloggers. Heh.

Who’s gonna use it? Aravosis? Rogers? Atrios? Hamsher?

Maybe KP. Not anyone else.

Michelle on October 5, 2006 at 12:47 AM

Drudge may have decided to take a slightly less “nuanced” view in his headline to try to inject a little balance into the media orgy. — DaveS

Yeah! — Allahpundit

Yeah!

Sorry. I got bored for a second.

DaveS on October 5, 2006 at 12:48 AM

Who’s gonna use it? Aravosis? Rogers? Atrios? Hamsher?

All of them. “EVEN MICHELLE MALKIN’S CALLING IT A ‘CONSERVATIVE OUTING MOB!'”

Allahpundit on October 5, 2006 at 12:49 AM

How am I supposed to trust ABC with all this underage crap? Being 17, and a few days away from 18 makes it predatory and scummy, but in the realm of Hugh Hefner and Bill Maher’s behavior with young women. Scummy and disgusting, but the guy has resigned and the Justice Dept. is investigating. This Passionate America blogger exposed ABC’s blatant misrepresentation of a part of their story. A story ABC is in the midst of changing without issuing a written correction.How is that wrong? Was this page a victim or a consenting participant? It does make a difference.
The Dems are running ads that say Foley molested kids based on ABC’s misreporting of the age of the page. Push back is in order. I don’t see anyone excusing Foley’s behavior or thinking that he does not deserve everything he is getting. The Republican party does not deserve to wear a hairshirt over this, while a major media outlet lies using a”protect the victim of a sex crime” defense. ABC should be called to the carpet. Foley is now gone, but the lying in the media seems to be going on and on.

Stormy70 on October 5, 2006 at 1:03 AM

“Push back is in order.”

You’re so right.

georgej on October 5, 2006 at 1:40 AM

Yeah, there’s a pretty strong chance of new information emerging. But not necessarily new information that places him in legal jeopardy.

If the kid was under 18, their IM chats are probably illegal, under a law Foley co-sponsored.

Mark Jaquith on October 5, 2006 at 2:51 AM

I think that Drudge’s headline is more accurate than ABC’s coverage.

Redhead Infidel on October 5, 2006 at 8:54 AM

Everyone needs to take a step back from the body, they are acting like ravenous sharks with a political agenda.

The information will come out, being first with it won’t solve anything, let the other side jump in, and show how badly they can do things because that’s. not. our. way.

tormod on October 5, 2006 at 10:04 AM

Michelle’s latest nails the entire business.

– Foley is a creep. It remains to be seen if he is a criminal under the law, but he has no right to a position of public service ever again

– The victims are the victims, not “accusers”

– Any peers who “enabled” Foley in any way are culpable for an equal share of blame, derision and potential censure

– Any “news” persons, bloggers, etc. who exercised bad judgement in using an innocent’s name to either mitigate the severity of Foley’s behavior or misdirect anger at another target, need to seriously adjust their thinking

Thanks Michelle, Bryan, Allah

Freelancer on October 5, 2006 at 3:49 PM

I think that Drudge’s headline is more accurate than ABC’s coverage.

Drudge’s headline might be closer to accurate, but playing the game of degrees of inaccuracy is a losing one. Truth is about the TRUTH, not how far or close one gets to it without hitting it.

When it is so easy to determine that Drudge’s banner is inaccurate, let’s not descend toward the moral equivalency crowd by defending it as less misleading…

Michelle’s example is an excellent one, and worthy of emulation. Drudge does society a service with his fast and widespread accessibility to news items, but tilting for attention isn’t in anyone’s best interest. The Old Media still hasn’t learned this lesson, and it’s a lesson that folks such as Matt Drudge started teaching.

Freelancer on October 5, 2006 at 3:57 PM

As I’m offline at home due to a storm that hit us yesterday [they tell me they will fix it Tuesday?!?!] I haven’t been able to research this very well, but as it was found at Drudge, and refers to the IM scandal…

XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX THU OCT 5 2006 2:53:48 ET XXXXX

CLAIM: FILTHY FOLEY ONLINE MESSAGES WERE PAGE PRANK GONE AWRY
**World Exclusive**
**Must Credit the DRUDGE REPORT**

According to two people close to former congressional page Jordan Edmund, the now famous lurid AOL Instant Message exchanges that led to the resignation of Mark Foley were part of an online prank that by mistake got into the hands of enemy political operatives, the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal.

I guess I was right in questioning where these IM’s were comming from after all. Chalk it up to it being impossible to be wrong all of the time. ;o)

DannoJyd on October 5, 2006 at 4:09 PM

When it is so easy to determine that Drudge’s banner is inaccurate, let’s not descend toward the moral equivalency crowd by defending it as less misleading…

I don’t understand this.

None of us are defending Foley.

What we are doing, is exposing Democrats trying to take this one Congressman’s vile actions and trying to smear our leaders, our party with this excrement.

And it’s somehow wrong to expose them for it?

How many more people are we willing to sacrifice so the Dems and their MSM sycophants will be satisfied and “play nice”?

I haven’t seen any reason why Speaker Hastert should resign. We’ve already lost Tom DeLay. Shall we draft up a “Sorry, I should have known and monitored (so and so) 24/7 , so the buck stops here, and I am hereby resigning. Mea culpa, mea culpa….” for the next Republican leader who happens to be in charge next time the MSM digs up dirt on a Republican official?

When are we going to have enough, and start fighting back?

That is the problem I am having with my party right now. No spine!

Lady Heather on October 5, 2006 at 9:46 PM

I tried to have a spine and stand up for what was right and Michelle and many other conservative bloggers threw me under the bus.

This is in response to this post by Michelle Malkin.

I did the right things for the right motives despite what Malkin thinks. She does not know me and to say,

“a conservative blogger [Wild Bill of Passionate America] has ginned up publicity for his work outing a 21-year-old young man–a former congressional page and current deputy campaign manager for a heartland Republican congressman–who received sexually explicit instant messages from disgraced Florida GOP Rep. Mark Foley when he was 17 and 18 years old. I have received several e-mails from the blogger and readers flogging the post.

I refused to link to the blogger then and even though the Drudge Report has plastered screaming headlines about the blogger’s scoop, I refuse to link to it now. There was absolutely no good reason to expose the former congressional page’s name and identity. Seizing on ABC News’ redaction failure and reporting errors (more on that in a moment) to play gotcha in a feeble attempt to avenge Foley is not a sufficient reason to obliterate the young man’s privacy. The young man was the prey, not the predator.

First, my name is William Kerr not “a conservative blogger”.

Second, “has ginned up publicity” hey Michelle do you know me, do you have any idea beyond speculation and wild accusations as to what my motives were? No you don’t, do not pretend to know my motivations, you could have emailed me after I sent emails to you and a press release I could have explained myself to you, but no one listened me (except for real friends). I tried to send this story to other more qualified bloggers and media and no one responded to me, except Jay Tea from Wizbang who told me to never contact him again, but apologized after reading my post. Will you apologize Michelle?

Third, When he was 17 and 18 years old, Michelle can you prove when the IMs were made and can you prove that they have not been altered by anyone before they were published by ABC NEWS? No you can not. If you will look at the IMs you will notice that the time stamps are not in sequential order and ABC NEWS does not even provide a date stating when the emails were made.

Fourth, “obliterate the young man’s privacy” he is 21 now! He is a public figure if it is found that the young man as you like to call him was 18 during all of the IMs or has made the whole thing up will you defend Mark Foley’s right to privacy? I said in my post several times I think Mark Foley is a scum bag and if he is found guilty should have the book thrown at him.

Fifth, “The young man was the prey, not the predator.” Can you prove that Michelle? No you cannot. When the investigation is complete and I might have to testify in front of the House Ethics Committee then we will know for sure if the young man, as you put it, is in fact prey. Foley is disgusting for what he did, but there are too many questions left unanswered for you to claim to know my motive and pretend to know the truth.

I believe you Michelle are acting more like a liberal than me by letting your feeling lead you to wild conclusions that you can not back up and impugning my character in the process. I still have respect for you and believe your writing has inspired me over the years to stand up for what is right and that is getting out the truth. I know that is what I did and I hope someday you can see that also.

WildBill on October 8, 2006 at 2:47 AM