Monday, May 20, 2024

AR-Land Comm: Once Is An Oversight, Twice Is A Trend

How’s this for consistency?  Twice in the last five day, someone at the Democrat-Gazette has written about the email incident.  Both times, the writer incorrectly stated one of the facts unearthed by BHR.

On Thursday, Mike Wickline wrote:

Here is what has been learned so far:

  • was the firm that originally sold the Greedy Monty Davenport website.
  • An online support representative for stated, “The issue you have described [the ability to publicly access emails from a GoDaddy website] is something that our servers would NOT do, as they do not deliver mail to a hosting account.  Therefore, it does appear to be a FAKE issue.”
  • The domain was sold to someone who works for Fidelity National Information Services, and it was registered to that company located on Rodney Parham Road in west Little Rock. (emphasis added) […]
  • The person who initially brought attention to the bogus L.J. Bryant emails used the name of Joe Mings. The Internet protocol address of Joe Mings is also registered to Fidelity National Information Services.

You can see the article here (part 1), here (part 2), and here (part 3).  Of course, if you’ve been following along with this story online, you know that the bolded statement above is incorrect.  The domain was not registered to Fidelity.  We don’t actually know who the domain is registered to because it was registered through Domains by Proxy, remember?

Nevertheless, in yesterday’s paper, Meredith Oakley used her space in the Voices section to repeat the falsehood.  (See here.)  Oakley wrote:

At this writing, the person behind the website hasn’t been identified, but the domain was sold to Fidelity National Information Services Inc., “the world’s top-ranked technology provider to the banking industry” with offices in Florida, Australia, Britain and Singapore in addition to Little Rock. (emphasis added)

Judging by the results of investigations by mainstream news reporters and serious-minded bloggers, Bryant had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of the website. Indeed, it looks like the same person who “leaked” derogatory email about Davenport allegedly sent by Bryant is the same person who created the website.

Actually, Meredith, (a) the domain was sold to someone who is as-yet-unidentified, and (b) the emails to this blog and the comment on this blog from Joe Mings came from nearly identical Fidelity-owned IP address.  Those are, of course, two wholly different occurrences, and I imagine that Fidelity would not be overly thrilled with your failure to note the distinction given the tone of the website.

Taking things a step further, that these statements were incorrect should have been apparent to both Wickline and Oakley from the beginning.  The fact that the domain was registered through a proxy and that the person who purchased it from GoDaddy is still unidentified is the main reason that there remains a whodunit aspect to this story at all.  If we knew who the domain was sold to, we would be MUCH closer to answering the remaining questions.  Perhaps if Wickline or Oakley had contacted BHR, one of us could have explained this.

But they didn’t contact BHR, nor did they credit this blog’s efforts in their stories.  In Wickline’s, despite the fact that every one of those points was originally reported here, the article contained no reference to this blog, either by name or in that Brantley-esque way of referring to a blog without referring to it (see “a gay liberal blogger” or “some computer sleuths“).  Oakley’s article, on the other hand, did reference some “serious-minded bloggers,” but she also made it sound as if some of the information about the URL was uncovered by “mainstream news reporters” when none of the information actually contained in the story regarding the domain, the identity of the webmaster/Joe Mings, or Fidelity was uncovered by anyone other than Blue Hog Report.

If I sound irritated and/or a little overly protective, it’s because I am.  The effort that went into my investigation of the surrounding facts resulted in what is, more or less, the only information about the story that suggests that the emails were fake.  I don’t feel like it is asking too much to get a little attribution when the Dem-Gaz uses that research in columns, especially when doing the double-checking necessary for proper attribution would reduce the chance that the article would include factually incorrect statements.

I should add that Charlie Frago took the time to contact us and verify certain facts before writing his story about Chad Causey’s most recent commercial, and he referenced BHR in the article, both of which we thank him for.  Now, if we could just get everyone else to follow Frago’s lead and, to ironically quote Tim Wooldridge, “look at the source.”

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