Seigenthaler’s ‘wikipedian’ outed, loses job: Sitting reading the New York Times in Boston this morning, I ran across this item about some folks back in Nashville:
“Brian Chase, 38, who until Friday was an operations manager at a small delivery company, told Mr. Seigenthaler on Friday that he had written the material suggesting that Mr. Seigenthaler had been involved in the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy.”
Chase was narc’d by Daniel Brandt, “a frequent critic of Wikipedia” who started an anti-Wikipedia Web site (www.wikipedia-watch.org) in September after reading what he said was a false entry about himself.
Mr. Seigenthaler said Mr. Brandt was “a genius” for tracking down Mr. Chase. He said he “was not after a pound of flesh” and would not take Mr. Chase to court. Mr. Chase resigned from his job because, he said, he did not want to cause problems for his company. Mr. Seigenthaler urged Mr. Chase’s boss to rehire him, but Mr. Chase said that, so far, this had not happened. Mr. Chase said that as Mr. Brandt and the news media were closing in and he realized how much he had hurt Mr. Seigenthaler, he decided that stepping forward was “the right thing to do.” Mr. Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Center, said that as a longtime advocate of free speech, he found it awkward to be tracking down someone who had exercised that right. “I still believe in free expression,” he said. “What I want is accountability.”
Alas, the irony of all of this will be fodder for many-a-blog-post today and later. That Seignethaler is branding Brandt a genius for doing something that, say, if he were targeting Tennessean reporters, would be blasted as chilling, is a matter I don’t have time this morning to explore.
Update from the “freedom of irony” department: The Tennessean version of this story includes the following quote from Seigenthaler: “(Chase said he) was very apologetic; he said it was a practical joke,” Seigenthaler said yesterday. “Of course I accept the apology, but it doesn’t lessen my frustration that anybody can put anything on Wikipedia.”
As it comes from the founder of the First Amendment Center, I find that quote laced with some rather nuanced irony.