Saturday, September 26, 2009

Five Questions for NBC and Jane Stone, regarding BlackBerry-Gate

In case you missed the NBC scandal that erupted last night, the following is a brief synopsis of the events, based upon reports filed at Big Government.

Step 1: NBC Dateline producer Jane Stone receives an email urging Congress to defund ACORN. The email was sent by Alex Rosenwald, director of media outreach for Americans for Limited Government (ALG).

Step 2: Stone (or someone who had access to her BlackBerry) is alleged by ALG to have sent a four word reply to Rosenwald, namely, "Bite me, Jew Boy!"

Step 3: Writing in Politico, Michael Calderone relays a vehement denial from NBC News President Steve Capus, who said he was "outraged that this reckless organization would go out with such a defamatory, irresponsible statement... We have done a complete email analysis, all of our IT, all of our records."

Step 4: ALG promptly issues a press release asserting confirmation that their email system did indeed hold the original "Bite me" message seemingly sent from Stone's account.

Step 5: NBC hastily offered a caustic retort, stating that "Americans for Limited Government has chosen to launch an outrageous, reckless attack and smear campaign against an NBC News employee. Faced with irrefutable evidence that our employee did nothing more than ask to be removed from an email mailing list, the organization has maliciously published a fabricated email... Our employee never sent any such email... She is completely innocent of the outrageous charges and is being used by an organization to make a self-serving point..."

And that appears to be where we stand at the moment.

Several questions spring to mind, aimed at NBC management, which could be answered in minutes by their IT specialists:

1. Why has Ms. Stone not provided photographs of the BlackBerry showing her sent email?
2. Why has NBC not provided a copy of Ms. Stone's sent email complete with all mail headers?
3. Why has NBC not provided a screencap of the Microsoft Exchange Administration Panel showing Ms. Stone's message?
4. Why has NBC not provided a snippet of its mail gateway server log for the email in question?
5. Why has NBC not provided a screencap of its data-loss prevention system, showing Ms. Stone's message?

Any one -- or, better yet, a combination of these would provide first-pass validation of NBC's position.

I'm sure Chris Matthews (host of Screwball on Screwball) and Keith "Strap On" Olbermann (host of Countdown to No Ratings) will fully investigate Stone-gate for their respective Monday broadcasts.

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