October 03, 2006

What Did Brian Ross Know, and When Did He Know It?

Suddenly, I'm very interested in knowing what the posting policy is at the ABC New blog, "The Blotter." Not the official policy, but the unofficial policy used by ABC News to determine which submitted comments get posted, and which ones get deleted before publication.

Their latest blog post reveals the text of another disgusting instant message between former Florida Congressman Mark Foley and an underage page, one that claims:

Former Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL) interrupted a vote on the floor of the House in 2003 to engage in Internet sex with a high school student who had served as a congressional page, according to new Internet instant messages provided to ABC News by former pages.

Claiming that Foley "interrupted" the vote is of course hyperbole (“Stop the vote! I have, err, business to take care of!” Foley was not heard to say) and not really of interest, but I did note that the instant message was made in April of 2003. 2003 was also the year that the original and far less than inflammatory emails between Foley and other pages were written.

I thought it was quite interesting that all of the reveals communications so far have dated from 2003, and so I typed in the comments section simple questions for Brian Ross and the staff of The Blotter.

I noted that all of the electronic communications that have come forward so far were dated 2003, and that Ross himself knew of the emails for 13 months before publishing his first comments on the blog.

I then asked Ross to answer a couple of simple questions in a comment to The Blotter, namely:

  • when did Ross become aware of the existence of these instant messages, and;
  • were these instant messages given to Ross and the Staff of The Blotter directly by the pages, or were they filtered through an intermediary.

At least, that is roughly what I remember typing. Somehow the comment didn't end up being posted on The Blotter, though literally dozens of other comments have been posted since the time I submitted very reasonable questions.

If I didn't know better, I'd think that that the staff of The Blotter was censoring comments. There are of course legitimate reasons to censor comments, ranging from removing foul and abusive language to deleting off topic comments, and many bloggers (including myself) often engage in precisely that kind of editing to keep a blog post's comments thread on topic and relevant.

But to censor legitimate on-topic questions and comments is another matter entirely, and I'm surprised that the staff of the Blotter, seasoned journalists all, is so thin-skinned that they felt compelled to kill a comment asking them logical questions about the key elements of the story itself. It was unlikely that Ross or the other ABC News reporters on this story would have actually answered these two rather simple questions, but to go so far as to keep other readers for seeing these questions only makes their answers more pressing.

What did Brian Ross know, and When did he know it? Did the pages themselves send these instant messages to the Blotter, and if so, when? Was there an intermediary involved?

I'd like to get answers to the questions, but the staff of the Blotter obviously doesn't even want the questions to be asked.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 3, 2006 03:23 PM | TrackBack

it could have just been a glitch in the "comments" section...bottm line is that a whole bunch of different people knew about the scummy behavior of Foley for a looonngggg time and chose to do nothing abou it.

Posted by: mooslime at October 3, 2006 05:15 PM

I doubt very seriously it was a "glitch." Not if you posted the questions and saw them after you "published", it wasn't. Evidently they don't want to answer those questions and they don't want anyone else to see that they aren't answering them.

I also believe that ABC news held on to this story long before they published it, waiting as long as they could to do so right before the November election. No, I don't condone Foley for what he did. But the hypocrisy of the Dems is beyond belief. They want to blame the entire Republican party for the reprehensible actions of one man! They are obviously using this to their political advantage and I don't really believe they give a fig about the 16 year-old kid. Remember that these Democrats who are so outraged forgave Gary Studds for having sex with a page and even re-elected him. They forgave Barney Frank for running a gay prostitution ring our of his basement and even he was re-elected. They forgave Clinton! What do you suppose they would do to Bush for pulling a "Lowinski" in the Oval Office? Would they forgive him? Not on your life! I know many Democrats who to this day think Clinton was the greatest president ever.

Posted by: Gayle at October 3, 2006 05:28 PM

Too bad 3rd Voice is out of could have littered that web page with 3rd Voice comments ;->

Posted by: Purple Avenger at October 3, 2006 09:18 PM

Glad to see you've picked up your marching orders.

Posted by: Bad Attitude at October 3, 2006 10:29 PM

BA- It's simple. Foley bad - Foley out.

Libs demanding Hastert and other Republicans resign, claiming "cover-up" and need to protect minors.

If any Libs had this information (some say as long ago as last November) and they didn't get the news out right away, then they have no grounds for demanding resignations, at least not for their currently stated reasons - since they also are guilty of a "cover-up" for political reasons.

Foley bad - Foley gone.

Posted by: SouthernRoots at October 3, 2006 11:37 PM

No matter what "some say," the fact remains that Hastert and Boehner knew there was something fishy and possibly criminal taking place, and they elected to do nothing about it. I'm not sure I can conceive of any legal or ethical precedent by which active collaborators are indemnified because their political opponents declined to run screaming to the media. Hastert is toast, my friend, and a good thing, too.

Posted by: B.A. at October 4, 2006 12:44 AM
the fact remains that Hastert and Boehner knew there was something fishy and possibly criminal taking place

Ummmm....BA...would you mind stating your proof of this...and maybe a link to that proof? I don't think you can.

Posted by: Specter at October 4, 2006 06:16 AM

Hooray! Shooting the messenger again! Never mind the Republican pedophile--let's go after the folks who told you about him!

I love this game!

Posted by: Doc Washboard at October 4, 2006 07:54 AM


You know of course that a pedophile has an interest in prepubescent, or colloquially, under "the age of consent" children. You missed the boat.

Here we have a gay man who liked teens. That does not make him a pedophile. Is it disgusting? Yes. Did he quit? Yes (as opposed to say the guy who said, "I did not have sex with that woman.")

But there are two issues here, and you need to come to grips with both. The first is Foley and his behavior. He is gone. Done deal. There is an investigation going on into whether he did anything illegal. If so, arrest and charge him.

The other side of the coin though is that it is ludicrous for the Dems to stand up and say that the Repub Leadership was not protecting 'children' by not taking further action. Based on what they knew, they did take action - as much as they could. Sorry that Nancy "SS" Pelosi doesn't get her way of "Should have siezed his computer." There was no probable cause, based on the emails - which is all the Republican Leadership, and the FBI had. The investigation will tell us about the IMs - who they were to, what age the other participant was (and don't doubt that they actively participated - read them), and whether any laws were broken. Again - if they were then charge the guy. No problem.

The final question comes down to who had these IMs in their possession? If they truly are evidence of illegal activity aimed at teens, then why were they not brought out sooner? Who do we blame for holding on to that evidence? Obviously, whoever had them was more concerned with the politics of the matter than protecting teens. And isn't that just a bit more reprehensible than only having seen the emails and taking what action they could? If it turns out that one of your lily-white, never-did-anything-wrong, Democratic leaders knew about the IMs - and if the information in them constitutes evidence of criminal nature - will you be the first in line calling not only for their resignation, but also their arrest for obstruction, aiding and abetting, reckless endangerment, etc. etc. etc.? Bet not.

Posted by: Specter at October 4, 2006 08:42 AM

If the blogger at Flopping Aces is correct, Dick Morris made the charge last night that a reporter has evidence that a senior House Democrat knew of the IMs months ago and did nothing.

If true, this could be explosive. I'll be covering it here.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at October 4, 2006 08:58 AM

And yet another scandal blows up in the Dems faces. It is so funny to watch.....

Posted by: Specter at October 4, 2006 09:52 AM

Seen the latest Drudge headline?

Looks like the "youth" Foley was IM'ing was 18 -- which kind of makes the scandal a non-scandal from the dem's premature "child molester" POV.

Of course, ABC wasn't going to mention that and it only leaked out because they didn't scrub their posted stuff good enough.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at October 4, 2006 09:44 PM

I was sexified by Congressman Foley on the House floor. The Democrats were out of the room at the time and the Republicans had paid the camera man to stay focussed on somebody giving a Diversionary Speech in the well of the House. All the Republicans cheered and applauded what Foley did, then covered it up for years. I am outraged that no one has come forward to tell my story.

Posted by: New Page at October 9, 2006 03:17 PM