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Tilting at Windmills

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October 24, 2008

TODD RECANTS, WILL FACE CHARGES.... A painful ending to a sordid story.

Police sources tell KDKA that a campaign worker has now confessed to making up a story that a mugger attacked her and cut the letter "B" in her face after seeing her McCain bumper sticker.

Ashley Todd, 20, of Texas, initially told police that she was robbed at an ATM in Bloomfield and that the suspect became enraged and started beating her after seeing her GOP sticker on her car. [...]

This afternoon, a Pittsburgh police commander told KDKA Investigator Marty Griffin that Todd confessed to making up the story.

The commander added that Todd will face charges; but police have not commented on what those charges will be.

It certainly seemed to be headed in this direction. The AP reported this afternoon that Ashley Todd, the McCain volunteer, did not appear in bank surveillance footage at the ATM where the alleged attack occurred, and changed her story to say she'd been knocked unconscious by her assailant. Yesterday, Todd shared with news outlets specific remarks the attacker said during the alleged incident, so this represented a rather dramatic change.

I seriously doubt that the McCain campaign was involved in planning this hoax, but I've heard that the campaign was pushing this story to reporters rather aggressively last night, and Fox News and Drudge have been covering it with great enthusiasm (and without much skepticism). Most national news outlets paused, waiting for additional information. It was the right move. No word, as of yet, on contrition from Fox News or Drudge.

In a political context, this sad story won't help the McCain campaign at all, creating another distraction in a state the campaign is desperate to win.

And in a social context, we have yet another high-profile instance of someone blaming an African-American man for a crime that did not occur.

Steve Benen 1:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (72)

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Comments

For the record, my local Atlanta hate radio jock, Neil Boortz, jumped on the bandwagon this morning too.

Posted by: CJ on October 24, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

It's Obama's fault! If he weren't speeding toward a historic landslide, mcshame's last 14 loyalists wouldn't have to go to these lengths to make Obama's supporters look bad!

Posted by: Yellow Dog on October 24, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

...but, but but TAWANA BRAWLEY!!1!
And AL SHARPTON!!!
And of course Chappaquidick....

Posted by: smartalek on October 24, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Insert un-rung bell cliché here...

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on October 24, 2008 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

If the MSM doesn't jump on this, NOW, then we know they are in the tank. Murdock and his entire organization should be sued for slander/Libel and the Fox exec who carried this story should resign and be held personally responsible for any further violence.
This is a Major story! Not that Ashley lied--she is clearly not a stable person--but that the media jumped on this without first clearing it.
peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on October 24, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Cue the conspiracy theories at corner.nationalreview.com that say Todd was really an Obama supporter trying to make the McCain campaign look bad...

Posted by: myrtle parker on October 24, 2008 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Probably just one incredibly stupid volunteer acting alone.

Still, her instinctive belief that tarring all African-Americans and Democrats with one sordid example was a good campaign move for McCain and the rightwing wildfire it then generated should cause more then a little concern. Good thing they're going to lose.

And the backwards 'B'? OMFG!!

Posted by: henry lewis on October 24, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

How wrong is it to hope that someone now beats the crap out of her for real?

(No, I am not serious)

Posted by: schadenfreude on October 24, 2008 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

So, she's part of the "Real America," right? Or not? I'm confused.

Posted by: Jon on October 24, 2008 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Not too bright, that Ashley Todd. But she still managed to snooker the wingnutosphere.

Telling, eh?

Posted by: Quicksand on October 24, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

I think the Party line will be more along the lines of 'We deplore the Obama campaign for creating a racially-charged atmosphere in which such charges are automatically given credence in the first place."

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on October 24, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see this happened in Pittsburgh, that's in the non-racist west half of Pennsylvania, isn't it?

Good thing Murtha apologized. He hadn't a leg to stand on.


Folks, the first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on October 24, 2008 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Ashley the Liar"

could not help myself

Posted by: NYC on October 24, 2008 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

The bad part: that she did this. To herself. And I doubt that it had anything to do with the campaign, but needing attention that badly.

The good part: with this campaign I think that we've kicked the racism can far enough down the road that it won't fly (to mix metaphors) much in the future.

The disappointing part: for a brief, shining moment I thought you meant Todd Palin!

Posted by: Michigoose on October 24, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

See, I told you the librulization of America was at the root of this. So, get me, quick, back to cable news.

Posted by: Newt on October 24, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Let's keep in mind what is really important:

Voter intimidation in the South doesn't matter.

Black men are SCARY!

Posted by: John McCain: Worse than Bush on October 24, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

For some reason, the film "To Kill A Mockingbird" comes to mind.

Posted by: zeppo on October 24, 2008 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Like I said at "Dumbest ..." (and heh, that reversed "B"; good lord how dumb ...)

Sheer ecstacy: Drudge now headlining, "SHE MADE IT UP!" I sent him a hint about it some minutes ago, maybe not first but I wanted him to see it as much as possible to participate in his and the Republicans' disappointment.

Yesssss! Now we can watch the discomfiture of John Moody, Faux *Executive Vice President* unfold - have his comments repeated everywhere, blab them over and over again to conservatives, on their talk shows, in their comment boxes, anywhere and everywhere!

PS: Mirrors are actually rather more complicated than most people think. They don't really reverse letters etc. left to right: write normally on a *clear* board in front of a mirror, and notice that the letters appear normal in the mirror! It's when we *turn them (or ourselves) around* that the "inversion" happens!

Posted by: Neil B on October 24, 2008 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain has just announced that he will appoint Ashley Todd his Attorney General.

Chief among her responsibilities: uncovering voter fraud.

Posted by: Chris on October 24, 2008 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

I am sure a black guy somewhere was committing some crime against some innocent and pure white woman.

Can we focus on that please!

Posted by: ThatGuy on October 24, 2008 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

And Drudge continues his descent into irrelevance, his worst nightmare.

Posted by: doubtful on October 24, 2008 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

It's interesting how most crimes that involve someone writing upon someone else are frauds.

Posted by: g. powell on October 24, 2008 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Another thought: think she'll make KO's worsts list tonight?????

Posted by: Michigoose on October 24, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

No word, as of yet, on contrition from Fox News or Drudge.

Don't hold your breath. I feel a "truthiness" moment coming on.

Posted by: majun on October 24, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

If only Obama had agreed to those ten town hall meetings it wouldn't have come to this....

Posted by: MikeJ on October 24, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

If nothing else, there is a lesson here: Don't lie to the police. They will eventually figure it out. They deal with liars a lot more often than you lie to them. They are the pros, and you aren't. I've been through a few interrogations myself. Trust me, they know what they're doing.

Posted by: fostert on October 24, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

This incident can't be viewed in a vacuum. In October 2006 at Oakland University and again in December 2007 at Princeton, members of the College Republicans faked assaults on themselves.

Posted by: neil on October 24, 2008 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Did she or didn't she have a 'B' scratched on her face? What was the supposed connection between this letter and the Presidential campaign?

Posted by: jhm on October 24, 2008 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Get the girl some help, doesn't need to be in jail, but under a doctor's care.

Posted by: c. on October 24, 2008 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Blacks everywhere should offended because for the most part we've been able to steer clear of this mess. Arabs are the enemy! Aren't they? McCain/Palin crowds haven't targeted Blacks, she should have said it was a socialist Arab Muslim terrorist that attacked her. Though it may have been less believable, it would have been more on message.

Posted by: ThatGuy on October 24, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

All reports who enthusiastically jumped on this without properly vetting the story and displaying due journalistic diligence should be summarily fired, "Dan Rather" style, if there is ANYTHING remotely close to 'fair or balanced' treatment. I am not holding my breath.

Posted by: In what respect, Charliie? on October 24, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

The charge would be filing a false police report.

Posted by: Frak on October 24, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

jhm, she had a "B" scratched on her face, but she was too dumb to correct for how it looked in a mirror when she presumably did it to herself. The "B" probably was supposed to mean "Barack" or "Barry". However, let's watch carefully to be sure they don't have a way to pretend it was a double cross, and claim she really works for Obama (I've seen kidding about it, but really: don't put *anything* past those goons when the going gets really rough!)

Posted by: Neil B on October 24, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

What was the supposed connection between this letter and the Presidential campaign?

Black candidate, of course.

Posted by: apostropher on October 24, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

We must forgive Ashley Todd, she was only trying to put herself in line to receive some of Sarah's garment cast offs.

Posted by: Ted76 on October 24, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

She should have done an "O" instead of a "B".

Posted by: Micheline on October 24, 2008 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Ironically, if she had used the letter most associated with Obama, the letter part of her story would not have been as much a problem. "O" in the mirror still looks like an O.

Posted by: on October 24, 2008 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

As a pittsburgher this story made me sick, literally- if it was true or not.

Todd needs to publicly apologize to the city for hurting our reputation and wasting our resources.

Posted by: zoe in pittsburgh on October 24, 2008 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Joe the Plumber, meet Ashley the Fraudster.

Posted by: Chris on October 24, 2008 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Faux "news" is so faux, they still can't just say "it's a hoax" - here's the way they shakily word their top headline:

McCain Worker 'Confesses'
She Made Up Attack Story

Campaign volunteer Ashley Todd, 20, reportedly admits she lied when she claimed a 'black man' beat her and carved a 'B' in her face because she was McCain backer | VIDEO

Get it? " 'Confesses' " and " reportedly "?
But what bothers me like some other folks is, why aren't the regular SCLM outlets even covering the story of the hoax at all? Are any?

Heh, Ashley the hoaxer, Joe the brother, Sarah the prima dona ...

Posted by: Neil B on October 24, 2008 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Has Fox uttered one syllable about this story now that it's been revealed to be a hoax (DUH!)?

Well?

Posted by: Lucy on October 24, 2008 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Is it bad that I actually laughed when it was confirmed to be fake?

Between this, the birth certificate nonsense, the Michelle Obama tape from a fake African news agency, and the Ace Of Stupid ranting about "illegal" campaign donations, the right is this close -->

Well, whatever "mind" it has left ...

Posted by: Mark D on October 24, 2008 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Had this tale been made fifty years ago, many Black men would have been lynched in Virginia based on this Texas woman's lies.

Posted by: Brojo on October 24, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still waiting for Fox news to announce: "Senator McCain's quest for the presidency is over, forever linked to race-baiting."

Posted by: Mikey on October 24, 2008 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

I'm reminded of an old New Yorker cartoon where the Three Bears are confronting Goldilocks in Baby Bear's bed. They look angry.

Goldilocks says, "a black guy did it."

Posted by: chrenson on October 24, 2008 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Yes Lucy, Faux had to mention the story but tricked up the headline so viewers could still imagine it was debatable whether the little skank really confessed - as bad or worse.

BTW, I hear that all McCain-Palin campaign workers must now attend a special class in how mirrors work ...

Posted by: Neil B on October 24, 2008 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Have you asked yourselves why this story was so immediately believable to so many who don't fall on their knees for Senator Savior? Any expert in psychology recognizes that this girl was likely acting out her lingering trauma from a previous bad experience with an African American male. Many women strongly dislike black men, but if we talk about it we're immediately labeled racists -- The One is the only person who's allowed to discuss race.

Obviously something in the Obama campaign has led many to assume that this young woman's story was true. Instead of taking accountability for that, his worshipful followers just assume that the people telling and spreading this story have some kind of problem with black people. The lack of self-reflection stinks.

Posted by: Insane Fake Professor on October 24, 2008 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

So unfair of people to call Insane Fake Professor racist!
She just strongly dislikes black men.

Posted by: Keying my own face on October 24, 2008 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, my. I don't know whether to laugh or cry over this poor deluded creature. Part of me wants to giggle, but my better half feels really sorry for all those deranged folks in Wingnutiscan.

Of course, the large, larger, largest story is the fact that the right-wing news outlets immediately started reporting the story as "fact" without bothering to check it out. WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO START LOSING THEIR LICENSES! Sorry, but sometimes my blood pressure goes up.

Posted by: Steamed on October 24, 2008 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

I think the "mirror class" might be a good skit for SNL ... something about this hoax should make it in, I hope, and I want to see it diced on Daily Show, etc. as well.

Posted by: Neil B ☼ on October 24, 2008 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Steamed, I think the issue of competency and accuracy are the problem for the right-wing media, not "conservative slant" per se. That's what we need to crack down on, not the old fashioned ideological "balance" issue of the Fairness Doctrine etc. The latter is just too subjective and intrusive IMHO.

tyrannogenius

Posted by: Neil B on October 24, 2008 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

This is inexcusable, it is a hate crime, there was a time when a black man would have been lynched over this, why are the McCain supporters bringing out the worst in people?

Posted by: JS on October 24, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

People say that the McCain Campaign pushed this story, encouraging press and media to run it and speculate on it. It would be really good to have some evidence of this -- phone calls, emails, text messages, faxes etc. that confirm these actions on their part. Wingnut media and Fox news are one thing, but people paid by McCain are another.

Posted by: Tom in Ma on October 24, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

I understand how the 'B' got there...how'd she give herself a black eye?

Posted by: Janet on October 24, 2008 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Janet, the black eye is an obvious fake. Her eye isn't bloodshot at all and there's no swelling or redness. It's a good mascara job. That's why she didn't go to the hospital, even though one was only apparently two blocks from the "attack."


Posted by: lou on October 24, 2008 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

I think I speak for everyone when I say just how shocked we are to find out this was a hoax! Golly gee whiz, who woulda thunk it?

Posted by: JoePlumber on October 24, 2008 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

I understand how the 'B' got there...how'd she give herself a black eye? -Janet.

Make-up.

Posted by: doubtful on October 24, 2008 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Jeez...and I thought all this time mascara was suppose to go ON the eyelashes! Thanks Lou for the tip!

Obama/Biden 08/12

Posted by: janet on October 24, 2008 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

I know it seems funny, now, but this is a crime and has potentially very serious and deadly consequences. The false report, of itself, is not earthshaking. If it had stayed within the local police jurisdiction, the young woman would have been charged and subject to whatever prosecution was conducted. When this got picked up by the media as if it were true, and outright lies were told about Obama's responsibility for the alleged black man on white woman crime, it has the potential of enflaming more unbalanced people to commit retaliatory acts against whomever they fear.

I am seriously concerned that a dangerous precedent has been set. If no consequences come to Fox, John Moody and/or Murdock for their quick and dirty assault on Obama, and on McCain, for that matter, then the next week is going to get very ugly. I want to see Olbermann, Maddow, Stewart, Colbert, Matthews and the rest of the "left leaning" media all over this, interviewing Fox, McCain representative and whoever else they can to bring this to the highest transparency. Anything less is Un-American.
I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation
peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on October 24, 2008 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

I called Insane Fake Professor ante factum. Cf my post above...

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on October 24, 2008 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

It got so much media coverage because it was such a terrific sensational story. Whether or not it was true? c'mon, as if that was a consideration.
It was so much better the way it turned out.
First of all the rightwing got to be outraged! and then the leftwing got to be outraged!
Whoo-boy!

This way everyone got the chance to use the story - as an example of the other side's typically awful behavior- which could then be extrapolated to affirm any manner of talking points.

(That's the fair and balanced part.)

This was never an important story unless you wanted to use it to advance your narrative.

Posted by: C on October 24, 2008 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Unless it's a spoof the comment that this girl was raped before and is just acting out now because of some previous incident maybe the dumbest thing I have ever read on the internet.

Posted by: grinning cat on October 24, 2008 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Seems the McCain Campaign, Fox News, et al can be taken in by any story such as "joe the Plumber", Ashley Todd and others because they don't vette the stories any better than they did their VP candidate. Just remember Repubs ... as Momma used to say, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!".

Posted by: Bob in Ohio AKA VietVet4bama on October 24, 2008 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Ashley Todd should obviously face charges. Her stint into fame should cost her something. Her ideal to change the political landscape (if such a thing could happen from a hypothetical assault) can show just how fanatical the "religious right" can be. I have to hand it to her, I had my doubts about supporters of Obama, now I know how much of a sham "news" can be. Should teach me a thing or two about what makes "headlines"... . I'd like to put my two-cents in and say to those McCain supporters, to get a grip, and maybe your Palin for 2012 might happen. Suck it up and clench hard.

Posted by: Robert on October 24, 2008 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

But it should still lead us to ask,"Who is the real Barack Obama?".

Posted by: John Henry on October 24, 2008 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Borderline Campaign Disorder: McCain, Palin and The "B" Cutting Hoax
http://headofstate.blogspot.com/2008/10/borderline-campaign-disorder-b-hoax.html

Posted by: Jana Walter on October 24, 2008 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

As a Texan I am ashamed that this dumb butt wing nut comes from the same state. As an AUSTINITE (we're that flake of bright blue smack in the middle of Texas), I can only offer the excuse that she's from the land of A&M and lame duck Bushites.

I sort of hope that this will serve to make some people on the fence question why they themselves were so quick to believe it. Is fear of "the Other" really that ingrained?

I hope McCain/Palin eat crow on this one. FOR WEEKS.

This crazy 20 nothing is a Republican committee worker, not just a supporter. She was in PA working for the McCain campaign. I've noticed Faux and el Rushbo (ewwwww) both have covered their butts and have all along referred to her only as a supporter. A monkey could have pointed out the glaring problem of that backwards B... and they all knew it.

Posted by: Grossed Out on October 24, 2008 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Fox, she is just FAT! FATTEIES don't get attention, so she chose the only way to get attention.

Posted by: Barr on October 24, 2008 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

I will never be out of work!

Posted by: Psychiatrist in Pittsburgh on October 24, 2008 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

She's a complete asshat fucktard and I hope someone really gets to beat her lying ass down! People like her are the reason why this country can't move forward and why abortion should remain legal.

What a loser and a waste of space.

Posted by: Mo on October 24, 2008 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

Fascist Frauds have a long history of faking victimhood.

Posted by: Patent Leather Pussycat on October 25, 2008 at 7:16 AM | PERMALINK

http://patentleatherpussycat.wordpress.com/

Posted by: Patent Leather Pussycat on October 25, 2008 at 7:24 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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