Remember Troy Eid? He's the Denver US Attorney (one that apparently survived the US Attorney purge) who was quick to play down any actual threat of the alleged assassination plot against Barack Obama during the Democratic National Convention, characterizing the men arrested as nothing more than a bunch of "meth heads".
Media Bloodhound did a lot of research to show that showed that Eid wasn't exactly on the up and up with the media about what was going on.
Eid's statement appears to be patently false. As reported by the Associated Press:
(Suspect Nathan) Johnson later told a federal agent that the men talked about assassinating Obama only because he was black, according to a federal arrest affidavit. Johnson said he also heard Adolf say that he wanted to kill Obama "on the day of his inauguration" and that he would "find high ground to set up and shoot Obama," the affidavit said.
That's not merely, as Eid called it, "the racist rantings of drug abusers." Rather, coupled with the arsenal found, it shows motive, intent and a plan. And, to be clear, contrary to what Eid told the press, it was in the affidavit.
Turns out, that kind of research got under Eid's craw, and he wrote an op-ed for the Denver Post complaining about the bloggers who were demanding he explain why he didn't think three men with maps, ammo, weapons, computers and written intent shouldn't be considered a "credible" threat.
By law and as required by ethics rules, federal prosecutors may never file criminal charges against anyone unless there's a "reasonable likelihood" we can prove them at trial with credible, admissible evidence. That's a high standard, and understandably so. Such was the case here. The oath we take as prosecutors is not to rack up convictions, but to ensure that the entire justice system is served.
The "political" thing to have done in this case, of course, would have been to charge all three defendants with making a threat against Obama and then quietly drop those charges later - expedient, Machiavellian and self-serving, but also illegal, unethical and immoral.
This is all lost in the blogosphere. Within minutes of our Aug. 24 press conference announcing criminal charges, I found myself being accused of racism and worse for not filing the threat charge - all by anonymous bloggers, none of whom are accountable to anyone or have seen a scrap of evidence in the case.
What happened next marks the paranoia of our times. Major news outlets contacted us, cited the blog reports, repeated their where- there's-smoke-there-must-be-fire allegations, and demanded I deny them. These were many of the same reporters who had participated in our press conference just hours before.
Blog-driven "news" is tragically becoming the rule, not the exception. Much of it is misinformation, where some person or interest group "spins" some angle for an unknown purpose. You can tell this when calls and e-mails start flooding the office, reading from the identical script, accusing you of the moral equivalent of crimes against humanity.
On many days, my office spends more time dealing with anonymous and often outlandish Internet rumors than talking with professional flesh-and-blood journalists. Why? Because so many print, TV and radio journalists are getting their story leads directly from the blogs, or - thanks to the changing economics of the news business - are blogging themselves.