The curious case of the snivelling spokesman

For the last couple of days, Salon.com blogger Glenn Greenwald has been devoting thousands of words to an e-mail...

For the last couple of days, Salon.com blogger Glenn Greenwald has been devoting thousands of words to an e-mail he (purportedly) received from Col. Steven Boylan, who is the chief spokesman for Gen. David Petraeus. The unsolicited e-mail from Boylan is critical of a Greenwald blog about the perceived politicization of the US Army in Iraq, calling it "comic relief" and "pure fiction," and accusing Greenwald of being "lazy" and wrong.

But when Greenwald contacted Boylan to confirm that the critical e-mail had in fact come from him, Boylan denied it. In the days since, the story has spread through the blogosphere, and Salon has gone into full blow-out mode, even publishing a separate story speculating on the likelihood of the e-mail actually being from somebody other than Boylan (conclusion: technically possible, but unlikely).

Greenwald is a trained lawyer, and his analytical skills are excellent, regardless of how you feel about his politics. But my gut reaction to this story is.... so what? For those who deal with PR people on a regular basis, finding out that there are a few nuts and (possibly) liars among them seems par for the course. An interesting foible, perhaps, but not front page-worthy.

Greenwald's position, though, is that Boylan's rank gives him an inherent importance, and if he is in fact a lying, partisan nutcase, that is inherently newsworthy. On that, he has a point. As a great man once said, "buy the ticket, take the ride."

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