Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Morning Wooten


We are getting into fanboy territory here. Jim is approaching the cliff of sacrificing his last vestige of journalistic integrity to simultaneously support Sarah Palin and castigate those he believes are intent on burning her at the stake.

With Palin, they’re grasping for the stuff — the material, the appeal, the line of attack — to bring her down. Dig in. The dirt-diggers are out in full force. Hackers broke into the Yahoo! e-mail account used for official business and distributed on the Internet personal messages — nothing consequential,but personal — that they stole from it.
The implication - put forth with no actual evidence - that Palin's political opponents are somehow involved in this criminal act is so outrageous even a few of Wooten's normally foaming at the mouth commentors "partially disagree" with their ersatz oracle.

Polemecists are masters of pushing the rhetorical limit - at times touching the hyperbolic envelope - but they must maintain at least one toe on the ground of reality. Especially if you have the title Editor by your name.

UPDATE: Jim owes somebody an apology. PC magazine has the scoop on how the Yahoo mail account was hacked. Instead of the offices of some high powered Democrat dirt digger, it emerged from a notorious online community:

On Tuesday night, someone from the /b/ board ("/b/tards," as they are colloquially known) broke into Sarah Palin's Yahoo! e-mail account. They read the e-mails and posted the address and password on the board.

Fellow /b/tards proceeded to wreak general havoc with the account. The /b/tard in question used Yahoo!'s password recovery feature, and then proceeded to fill in the answers using Wikipedia. A message posted to the forum explains the process thusly:

"After the password recovery was reenabled, it took seriously 45 mins on wikipedia and google to find the info, Birthday? 15 seconds on wikipedia, zip code? well she had always been from wasilla, and it only has 2 zip codes (thanks online postal service!)

"The second was somewhat harder, the question was "where did you meet your spouse?" did some research, and apparently she had eloped with mister palin after college, if youll look on some of the screenshits [sic] that I took and other fellow anon have so graciously put on photobucket you will see the google search for "palin eloped" or some such in one of the tabs.

"I found out later though more research that they met at high school, so I did variations of that, high, high school, eventually hit on "Wasilla high" I promptly changed the password to popcorn and took a cold shower...

Better hurry with that apology, Jim. Not to the Democrats. No, bless them, their soft hearts will give you a few breaths to come up with an appropriate expression of regret. Hackers on the other hand, much like pitbulls (sans lipstick or otherwise), are known for rapid, righteous indignation when their work is not recognized.

UPDATE II: I rarely comment on commentors but here it seems relevant. I waded through the 200+ comments on Jim's piece today and can you guess how many times I saw some version of "Democrats hacked Sarah Palin's email!" Congratulations, Jim. You've given birth to a meme.

Only one question.

Are you proud?


Fearless Leader said...

What's going to be difficult to explain about the 4chan "hack" -- and by hack, we really mean, "password fishing" -- is that the perpetrator(s) were not acting politically. Or if they were, it was not on behalf of either party. This was a matter of Palin's email address becoming public news fodder and some bored kid taking a shot and seeing what he could find. And the kid got lucky.

In other words, much to Wooten's chagrin, this isn't Watergate.

Anonymous said...

My question is this: Why was Sarah Palin using a yahoo account for "official" business in the first place?

rptrcub said...

Scott: Most likely, considering Palin's emerging record as governor and mayor of Wasilia, contravention of open records laws. I don't know what they're like in Alaska, but in Georgia, e-mails sent through state e-mail accounts are subject to open records disclosure, with certain exemptions and subject to redactions. This is why state employees are often caught with their pants down, so to speak, because they are stupid enough to e-mail racist/sexist jokes/dirty pictures via their state e-mail.

Depending on the interpretation, it can be argued that e-mails even sent from private accounts could be subject to open records laws if they deal with an official doing state business.

Someone get Holly Manheimer or David Hudson on the phone.

Joeventures said...

Check out this past Sunday's article about that very subject. People in her administration would get lectured if they used official email systems to communicate official business.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone reported on what her yahoo handle is? Someone could have a lot of fun coming up with some appropriate screen names for her.

Sara said...

Is this reminding you of the same thing it's reminding me of from back in the day? Only with Hotmail and a TV show instead of a vice president? It's all making me both chuckle and sort of wipe my brown in relief at the same time.

Everyone who opened the email account once the password was cracked better have been behind a litany of proxies or they're going to have some interesting legal issues.

Unknown said...

Am I the only one who wants to string this kid up for completely wasting a chance to test a politician?

Any email not archived during the open access window are gone now, and with it, the opportunity to scan for any under-the-table communication.

Frustrations aside, it's interesting to note the self-healing nature of the anonymous "cloud", when its members disagree.