Those few of you who read the comments on this blog may have noted a small dust-up in the comments to Predatorgate Scandal Spreads. One of the GOP spin points asserted there by an assiduous commentator is the idea that the Democrats are (at least? more?) to blame for letting a known predator run loose because they knew all about the scandal and did nothing. This isn’t a reference to the Democratic member of the page committee being totally shut out of discussions then (and now!) but rather an unsourced and unsubstantiated allegation that some unnamed Democratic sympathizer must have known all the juicy details and sat on them until the time it might do the most good. Since in fact neither I nor almost anyone else knows the source of the info that finally brought Rep. Foley’s behavior into the open, this sort of calumny is hard to rebut, although to my ear it has an element of blaming the victim — since a victim had to the original source of the damning information.
Amazingly, however, we now have some information on the subject of who leaked what to whom when:
Papers Knew of Foley E-Mail but Did Not Publish Stories: Then, in June, the reports resurfaced on Capitol Hill, where a neighborhood resident struck up a conversation in a bar with someone who had provided the e-mail messages. He said he passed them on to several news outlets. The resident, who said he was not affiliated with either party and was motivated by concern for the teenager, would talk only on condition of anonymity.
No one acted on the information until last week, and even then, it was a Web site that first posted the exchange. It is not clear who maintains the Weblog, stopsexpredators.blogspot.com, which appears to be largely devoted to the Foley scandal.
ABC News had its first account several days later on its Web site.
Mr. Ross said he was surprised by how quickly the congressman’s office confirmed the authenticity of the e-mail messages, first when ABC reported them on Sept. 28, and again a day later when confronted with much more explicit exchanges.
Mr. Ross dismissed suggestions by some Republicans that the news was disseminated as part of a smear campaign against Mr. Foley.
“I hate to give up sources, but to the extent that I know the political parties of any of the people who helped us, it would be the same party,” Mr. Ross said, referring to Republicans.
So to the extent we know who pushed this into the media … it’s Republicans. I have no idea who is behind stopsexpredators.com, but I bet that none of the people accusing them of being Machiavellian Democrats sitting on the info for ages do either. (And since when did Democrats get so good at Machiavellian tactics anyway?)