Whenever I think of the Huffington Post newsroom I think of the frat house from “PCU.” That’s the only possible explanation for the is-it-or-isn’t-it-true story posted to HuffPo yesterday detailing how Eric Boehlert firmly believes that the bearded Verizon guy at his house was part of a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.
A short, bearded man stood outside, holding a clipboard and wearing a Verizon uniform. He asked Boehlert if he’d be willing to take a customer survey. Verizon had, perhaps coincidentally, been at the house a week earlier to handle a downed wire. Boehlert quickly agreed and noted that a Verizon worker had actually failed to show up when he said he would.
But as the survey went on, it started getting strange. “The only weird part before he got to his final question was he started telling me, ‘Oh, you know, it’s really tough out there, the economy, and I’m just happy to have a job,’ and stuff like that, which I thought was weird for a customer rep to be telling one of his customers,” Boehlert recalled to HuffPost.
“So he gets to the last questions, and he’s really reading intently off of his clipboard, and he says something about making the kind of salary I do, working from home, something something about the 99 percenters,” Boehlert said.
The man claiming to be a Verizon representative finally asked his question. “After he mentioned my salary and that I work from home, all the bells went off, and this is not who this guy says he is. Therefore, I kind of lost track of the exact wording of the question, but it definitely was like very accusatory of me and I’m a hypocrite and how do I have this supposedly cushy job while I’m writing about real workers and the people of the 99 percent,” said Boehlert.
“So there was this pause, and I said, ‘You work for Verizon?’ And he just sort of looks back at me and [says], ‘Will you answer the question? Will you answer the question?’ And I said, ‘Can I see your Verizon ID?’ And he wouldn’t produce any Verizon ID, and I think he asked me another time to answer the question. And basically I just said, ‘I’m done so you can leave now.'”
The man started to walk off.
Boehlert decided to follow him to obtain his license plate number. By now he had realized that the man was likely pulling a political stunt, and James O’Keefe’s notorious “To Catch a Journalist” project came to mind as a possibility.
Are you ready to lose more brain cells without the benefit of alcohol? Read on.
But O’Keefe is not the only one who might want to embarrass Boehlert. He regularly tussles with conservatives online, particularly commentator Andrew Breitbart. In the days before the attempted prank, activists suggested targeting Boehlert on Twitter.
“#ows, @EricBoehlert is cashing 6-figure checks to support you. When u r run out of Zuccotti park, beers and brats at his place in NJ,” tweeted @Flynn1776. That handle belongs to Mike Flynn, an editor at Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, which was the first to publish O’Keefe’s ACORN sting.
He later added, “Wait, let’s have an #occupy @EricBoehlert party. He’s paid by the 1% after all. I’ll send in the clowns. Redundant, yes, but it will be fun!”
Mandy Nagy, a Big Government writer who also lives in New Jersey, tweeted back, “I’m in! RT @Flynn1776 Hey@Liberty_Chick let’s get NJ TeaParty folks 2 #Occupy @EricBoehlert. His paychck comes frm 1% & pol class after all.”
Nagy and Flynn didn’t immediately respond to tweets requesting comment. In response to an instant message asking if he was responsible for the fake Verizon representative, Breitbart said no.
The odd thing is that if Eric Boehlert honestly believed that James O’Keefe was setting him up via a lame Verizon gag and that Breitbart was behind it, he would have hysterically Tweeted about it. You’re telling me that the guy who edits Media Matters doesn’t have ways of actually capturing media via photos or video for a story? I know we’ve always joked about it before, but they really do sit all day and just watch Fox news and stalk people on Twitter, don’t they?
Huffington Post’s story is thus:
Verizon guy knocks on Eric Boehlert’s door, asks questions, and …
[youtube jHjFxJVeCQs nolink]
Andrew Breitbart is behind it.
I’ll leave you with some amusing Twitter observations on this story.
And Politico …