Fumento's sidekick

We last saw Fumento blundering around in a field of rakes. Now read on. John Fleck commented on the situation:

The thing is, Fumento is, at times, a quite talented journalist. But then, over and over again, he shows himself to be a complete tool.

My first encounter with his work was a solid take-down in Reason of Gary Taubes' New York Times Magazine piece on the wonders of the Atkins diet. I probably liked the piece because it fit my biases, but whatever. It was a solid piece of work.

And true to form Fumento managed to make a complete fool of himself with an evidence-free claim that Reason only ran Taubes' reply because Taubes threatened to sue them. Nick Gillespie responded

I intend this to be my last few words on this matter. As a journalist and especially as an editor-in-chief, I'm used to being on the receiving end of all manner of wild, odd, and totally false accusations. However, Mike Fumento has set a new standard by calling me--the editor who just published a feature-length article by him and defended that article in a public letter--a liar.

In insisting that Reason ran Gary Taubes' reply to "Big Fat Fake" because of threatened legal action, Fumento throws together an unconvincing case of conjecture that surely fails to convince anyone of anything other than Fumento's own rather sad self-absorption. Why he cannot accept the simple truth in this issue is beyond me. On Feb. 20, Taubes contacted me after reading the article and told me he wanted to reply. I told him to go ahead and he sent me his response on Feb. 25. We posted it, along with a final response by Fumento, on Reason Online on March 4. Taubes and I never discussed anything of a legal matter. As I stated previously (quoting from a Feb. 27 email to Fumento), I decided to run Taubes' reply at the length at which he submitted it because we could do so easily on the Web and because I thought the length and content of the reply helped Fumento's case substantially.

Fumento's bizarre behavior does not particularly interest me, even as a pathetic tragicomic spectacle, except insofar as it attempts to slag my reputation and that of Reason's. We don't cave in to nuisance writers--even, alas, when they have written for Reason--any more than we cave into "nuisance lawsuits," real or imagined.

When properly edited and restrained from indulging in the sort of baseless invective he has displayed regarding this matter, Fumento is capable of producing good stuff, including "Big Fat Fake" in the March issue of Reason. Sadly, these days he seems more interested in spinning out e-mail accusations that have no basis in fact and only redound negatively to his own reputation. I wish him well in his new line of work.

Fleck also specifically denies Fumento's charge that he is my sock puppet:

For the record, Tim Lambert has never told me what to write.

Fumento, meanwhile, has another post where he attempts a different defence against the sock puppet charge:

But a reader also wrote to me to note that, "An IP address isn't proof of an individual's accessing a web page. Depending on your ISP's network configuration, the IP address a web server sees when you visit it might be shared with many other users who use the same ISP. About all a webmaster can do with an IP address is narrow down the ISP or organization from which the requests originated."

Therefore assuming Lambert got two identical IPs from my name and that of another person, he must take into account the possibility the someone else who shares my address and knows me wants to post in support of me anonymously. That hardly makes me a damned dirty dog, does it? Why doesn't Lambert think of such things?

Why doesn't Fumento think of reading my post?

[His IP address is] a Comcast IP address and Comcast provides one IP address per household

Anyway, Fumento now has a sidekick, Xlrq, who we last saw furiously denying that Lott used sock puppets. Over at SayUncle's Xlrq suggested that John Fleck was my sockpuppet. SayUncle pointed out

His IP is different and originates in New Mexico, like his site says.

For Xrlq, this pretty much clinched it: obviously Fleck must be my sock puppet:

Equally not-bright is maintaining a blog designed to make it look to the naked eye as though you've been blogging since March, 2003, when in fact your real entries only go back to October, 2005, and the rest are just dummy entries with bare subject lines. It also doesn't seem terribly bright to say you are "this John Fleck," while linking to the Albuquerque Journal home page rather than to the blog of the person you claim to be, which the real John Fleck obviously knows about but a cheap imitator might not.

It seems that Xrlq hasn't worked out how to click on links to see Fleck's postings. As for his second argument it seems that he is unaware of the existence of things known as "search engines" that would have enabled a "cheap imitator" to find Fleck's blog.

Apparently Xlrq's claim caused great amusement at the Fleck household, with his daughter posting this:

Any sockpuppet with a newspaper circulation of over 100k and a blog that dates back to 3 years ago really deserves at least some recognition. I mean, even if dad-err-Fleck is just Lambert's dummy, I think by this point he's developed a fairly distinct and unique personality and therefore has a right to his own opinion. If someone puts so much effort in developing a character, after all, that character tends to develop their own persona, likes, dislikes, etc, and will sometimes even become an alter-ego of that person. (Actually, that's just me trying to throw more wood on the fire of the whole "Fleck doesn't exist" argument, which has made for amusing stories at my house)

I suppose I have the same IP address as Fleck so my opinion doesn't really count, but I can definitely verify that he exists. He helped make me born and stuff. (Would this make me, too, a puppet of Lambert's?)

Does Xrlq make a perfect sidekick for Fumento or what?

Update: Xrlq responds

Lambert has a known history of not only of lying about right wing figures generally, but specifically of the very lie he's telling about Fumento now. The guy is such a pathological liar, he even tells lies that are easily disproven, such as denying that Fumento ever denied his allegations, in a comment thread to the every entry in which Fumento did in fact deny these allegations Lambert denies he denied. Similarly, if you follow his latest trackback to your "just because" thread, you'll see he's lying about me, too, claiming I based my "Fleck may be a sock puppet" comment on other comments that did not exist at the time, and conveniently leaving out the subsequent comment in which I conceded that Fleck clearly was not a sock puppet.

Firstly, anyone can examine Fumento's post and see that he didn't deny that posted as Tracy Spenser. Secondly, the comments on SayUncle's post occured in the order in the listed in my post above. One hour after SayUncle posted fairly conclusive evidence that Fleck was not my sock puppet, Xlrq claimed, using ridiculousl;y flimsy evidence that Fleck was too my sock puppet. Thirdly, I didn't mention his concession since it wasn't relevant to my point: that it was beyond stupid to make the charge in the first place.


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Fumento has now made three posts on his blog and a whole pile of comments on other blogs in response to my revealing his use of a sock puppet. He has called me a liar, claimed that I am insane and falsely accused me of using sock puppets myself. What he hasn't done is deny that Tracy Spenser was…
After accidentally proving that he was using a sock on Wikipedia, Fumento is back for more. I think that putting a "(sic)" after misspellings is rather petty, but since Fumento does it when he quotes others, I've yielded to temptation and sicced all over his many spelling mistakes. Fumento begins…
SayUncle blogged on Fumento's use of sock puppets: Mike Fumento, who I've talked about before, poked fun at us insignificant blogs before starting his own. He also acted like a prick in an exchange between himself and Rich Hailey. Now, he's using sockpuppets in comments at other blogs and to change…
Mike Hudson gets a whole column out of an exchange with Fumento: I decided to e-mail Fumento and gloat about his descent into ignominy. I told him that, given his positions on Love Canal and Gulf War Syndrome, it wasn't surprising to hear that he was bought and paid for by a chemical company. What…

FWIW, and just to play Devil's advocate in all this, there is a mostly insignificant possibility that Fumento is right. I was a Comcast customer up to about a year ago, and assuming they still use the same IP distribution mechanism now that they did then, IP's are not guaranteed unique to an individual - just NEARLY guaranteed. The DHCP leases assigned by Comcat are near-infinite so long as the user remains connected, and will tend to persist across reboots so long as the address space doesn't get too depleted.

But it is POSSIBLE that if Fumento's erstwhile sock puppet lived very nearby, and if Fumento turned off his cable modem for a good long period of time, and if this sock puppet ALSO had his cable modem turned off until just before posting, and if the local DHCP server was running low on available IP addresses, that the maybe-not-a-puppet would have gotten Fumento's now vacant IP.

This same series of events would, of course, have to happen in reverse in order for Fumento to get the address re-assigned to him in time for his next posting. The odds are vanishingly small (for the entire 4 years I was a comcat customer my address changed exactly once, even through fairly common blackouts in my building), but they are there.

I think it must be considered that it is possible that some kind of divine intervention may have occured here. Or that there is a conspiracy among the Comcat DHCP server admins to make Fumento look foolish. He is a very important man, you know. He may want to consider some kind of defamation suit against his ISP. Or Jesus.

Anyhow, this entire series of posts about Fumento is knee-slappingly funny. Please keep angering him into responding.

By Chad Robinson (not verified) on 07 Dec 2005 #permalink

It's interesting and fun to watch John Lott supporters shoot each other in the foot. Bishop and SayUncle were made for each other.

By Chris Jarrett (not verified) on 07 Dec 2005 #permalink

Sock puppets can reproduce. Unfortunately their offspring are wire hangers. After giving birth to the babby hanger, the female sock puppet dies (for obvious reasons, ever try to fit a hanger into a sock). The male sock puppet then goes looking for another place post. Which explains much.

It's linked through Jeff Bishop's rabid defence of Lott and hatred of anyone who exposes Lott's errors and fraud. I'd forgotten about your change of view so my comment was off-target.

By Chris Jarrett (not verified) on 08 Dec 2005 #permalink

It's worth noting that, to Xrlq's credit, he quickly and forthrightly 'fessed up to his mistake once it was demonstrated that I really do exist. Fumento still has not done the same with his assertion regarding the Lancet study's inclusion of Fallujah, which is still posted on his web site.

And what an amusing feeling it was to have to try to prove that I exist!

Hey, how do we know xlrq isn't just one of your sock puppets?

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 09 Dec 2005 #permalink

This Fleck sock puppet--is it left-footed or right-footed? The ABSOLUTE CONVINCING PROOF that this is a plot by the Cuban government aided by a Brookhaven National Lab physicist is that the last entry (Eli Rabbit) is dated December 10, 2005, at 3:00 am, when my computer clock shows it to be ONLY DECEMBER 9, 2005, at 11:10, AS I POST THIS!!

By Ben Walker (not verified) on 09 Dec 2005 #permalink

"And what an amusing feeling it was to have to try to prove that I exist!"

It's not easy:
"Although my research is not yet complete, in light of the shocking lack of reliable eyewitness, documentary and physical evidence, I must conclude the matter of my existence with the old Scotch verdict: not proven."