Friday, July 14, 2006

The Official TC Smackdown Post

Our friends over at NovaTownHall proudly boast their designation by Vincent Harris of "Too Conservative" as the "Worst Blog."

Well, it appears that young Vincent may well be a complete and utter fraud. A new pseudonymous blog calling itself "Velvet Elvis" makes quite a few damning claims about Vincent, demonstrating that he may be posting on his own blog under pseudonyms to give a false impression of readership/comments/support for his activities.

I don't know if it's true. I lack the technical skills to have performed such an investigation myself, or even to judge whether the facts alleged are true.

I do know this: Vince misrepresented himself when he started his blog, and I was certainly critical of his actions when he came out of the anonymity closet. And a number of posts after 6 July have disappeared since this revelation (if true) came to light.

While hardly of the same calibre of the Janet Cook fraud suffered by the Washington Post a few years ago --- she had to surrender a Pulitzer won for a fraudulent story about an eight-year-old heroin addict --- Vince has certainly had an impact in Virginia politics (Ben Tribbett once declared him the most influential Virginia teenager since Pocahontas). It would be truly sad if the facts alleged by "Velvet Elvis" are true, and as someone skeptical of all anonymous/pseudonymous Internet activities, I note that these allegations, also, are unaccompanied by someone willing to sign his or her name to them.

I also know this: those of us who condemn/oppose anonymity/pseudonymity will have been given a huge boost if these allegations are true.

UPDATE: Charles has posted his thoughts.

UPDATE 2: Well, Shaun Kenney has the scoop (sorry for the lack of a link). Jim Riley is Velvet Elvis. Whambamthankyouma'am in the comments was correct.

15 comments:

Not Larry Sabato said...

I wish you would take this down. I'm not going to cover it- he is a teenager, and we have to let them make mistakes.

Charles said...

nls -- I agree that people (not just kids) make mistakes, and when people admit their mistakes charity is an admirable response.

I understand though, and I'd think you would to, why some people would be very interested in this information, if true -- and would be dissappointed and maybe even hurt by it, as if a trust was betrayed.

That said, it's just a blog, and I guess most people know I have a certain amount of disdain for most blogs (even though I blog myself), and therefore don't see this as quite on par with a reporter falsifying news.

Of course, given the actual media coverage TooConservative has gotten, it is possible that a reporter might find "the other side" of the story interesting as well. It's the problem with being public, we all say and do things we're not proud of and if it happens to come out we bear the consequences.

I did find it a bit ironic that James here has linked to a post at an anomymous web site, given his disdain for them. Not surprising, just humorously ironic.

Charles said...

I contacted Vince, and he provided a response which I have posted at my site, at

Vincent (TC) responds regarding tonight's events

James Young said...

Well, Ben, I agree with much of what you said, to a point. But I also believe that, if one exercises one's right to participate in the politica process, one owes some responsibility of honesty and candor, and these are potentially serious charges by which we should judge his credibility. I hope you will note that I don't endorse those claims ("I don't know if it's true"), but only note their potential seriousness.

And BTW, Charles, I think my link to "Velvet Elvis" is appropriately qualified ("these allegations, also, are unaccompanied by someone willing to sign his or her name to them"). If the allegations are false, then they also would confirm my general disdain for anonymous/pseudonymous blogging.

The bottom line is this: Vince owes us an explanation, or a denial. I not sure if the response posted on your website responds, or suffices.

Charles said...

In my opinion, the post at my site provides factual information about why TooConservative was taken down.

It also provides strong circumstantial evidence that the ip address information posted by Elvis is real.

I too am waiting to see if Vincent will address the underlying ethical questions. I'm hopeful that with introspection, and with the burden of the secret itself lifted, he will -- although there is also a good chance this, like other issues, will be ignored.

James, you are right that you covered the "anon" issue well in your post, but that only heightened the irony for me. Of course, I referenced the issue myself even though I also have a certain disdain for anonymous posters.

whambamthankyoumaam said...

Velvet Elvis= Riley

James Young said...

I don't know if that last claim is true, either. If it is, Jim, too, owes a duty of candor. At the same time, if it is true, whoever has done this has performed a service that I will eventually expound upon.

Anonymous said...

Keep your eyes on Shaun Kenney's web site for an explosive development on this!

Anonymous said...

"whoever has done this has performed a service that I will eventually expound upon"

I guess it depends on whose ox is being gored. For months you wailed about BVBL, when many belived he or she was performing a service. Now that a blogger that you have disagreed with on many occasions is taking some heat, the annonymous blogger who leveled the charges is performing a service. I guess even the mighty James Young can be a hypocrite too. Hey, we're all human.

James Young said...

First, Anon 5:59, I never "wail."

Second, I specifically "note that these allegations, also, are unaccompanied by someone willing to sign his or her name to them." Thus, it does not "depend[] on whose ox is being gored." I specifically said "I don't know if it's true." Which brings me to ....

Third, since the allegations came to light, Vince has behaved as though they were true (distinguishing him from Steve Chapman who ignored the charges until he brought a lawsuit).

Fourth, and finally, BVBL engaged in general belittlement and perhaps even libel/slander against Steve Chapman. "Velvet Elvis" has made a specific charge, backed up (apparently) with facts.

republitarian said...

I was whambamthankyoumaam.

Willis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James Young said...

Willis is back (previous deleted post) and engaging in his typically unacceptable behavior. Suffice it to say that, while Vince is certainly subject to criticism for his behavior, it is not necessary to smear him or other Republicans.

SEMI said...

I'm coming in on this conversation a little late, following all the links to catch up with the story, so please bear with me as I try to boil this down to its kernel:

1) A profligate blogger, TooConservative, has been "padding" his comments section (allegedly, but the evidence is pretty damning) by posting his own comments but doing so anonymously so that they appear to be from "readers". TooConservative also began his blogging career "pseudonymously", and only later revealed that he was actually a paid staffer for the candidate that he was supporting on his blog.

2) All of this is a shame, but it's forgiveable because he's just a teenager and who pays attention to blogs in the first place...?

Your charity is admireable, but I would like to ask the "conservative" bloggers a serious question. Gaze deep into your soul before answering. Had this been a "liberal" blogger who had done the same thing, would you really be as forgiving? Or would you have jumped all over the situation like fleas on a dog? Just wondering...

James Young said...

Well, semi, I never said it was "forgiveable," but as someone who tries to be a good Christian, I do "forgive" Vince, for what that is worth, and to the extent that he is truly sorry and contrite. I am not persuaded that he is either. I also subscribe to David Ben-Gurion's admonition: "Forgive, but never forget."