Thursday, October 05, 2006

Foley may have been punked

Two people close to Jordan Edmund, the then 18 year-old on the other end of the lurid instant messages that have fueled the Mark Foley scandal, claim Edmund "goaded the unwitting Foley to type the embarrassing comments."

Then Edmund, who they say is not gay, showed the IM messages to other young politicos and they all had a good laugh at sad old Foley's expense.

The prank went awry when the recorded messages got into hands of a "democratic operative."

via Matt Drudge, who is having the best week ever.

Even if this is true it doesn't mean Foley is innocent of all ethical charges -- or fit to be around pages. But it does mean he was entrapped, so to speak, and Foley looks more and more like a pathetic awkward guy than a dangerous sexual predator. He obviously wasn't intimidating any of the pages with his power, as has been suggested.

Drudge admits he is only right 80 percent of the time. So far he has been spot on with his Foley affair reporting. Including breaking the news last night that the page was 18 -- not 16 as ABC News had reported. ABC confirmed they got the age wrong today.

Part of me thinks this could all be an attempt by Edmund -- who just hired a criminal defense attorney -- to cover up his homosexuality. But, if not, the egg on ABC's face could feed a small nation. Because it doesn't seem like they talked to Edmund before running the story. Something they absolutely needed to do.

The GOP's congressional leadership is facing a conservative revolt over Foley's behavior and they need a bogeyman to take some of the pressure off. If this report is true they have found it in ABC News. The organized backlash could exceed what took place during Rathergate.

As for Drudge, the week began with the release of the first chapter from ABC News' political head Mark Halperin's new book which says this about the Internet pioneer:

If you are reading this book, you probably know who Matt Drudge is. It is a guarantee that most of the reporters, editors, producers, and talk show bookers who serve up the daily national buffet of news recently have checked out his eponymous website, and that is bookmarked on their computers. That is one reason Drudge is the single most influential purveyor of information about American politics.

Halperin goes on to say that Drudge was more responsible than President Bush or Karl Rove for the defeat of John Kerry in 2004.

Drudge proudly displayed this excerpt on his eponymous website. And may have just rewarded Halperin by setting in motion a devastating blow to his news organization's reputation.

It's been almost three hours since Drudge broke this potentially shocking twist. The rest of the news world has yet to comment. They are all sitting at their computers waiting to see what Matt Drudge -- a solitary man with a modem and a hat -- posts next.

Or if he whisks the story away like he never put it up in the first place.

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