APOLOGIES ARE IN ORDER (I GUESS)
In journalism school they warn you not to publish stuff that isn’t verifiable; since the stuff you publish could be false and the repercussions can be devastating at times. Thus as a journalist you should get at least two good sources before you consider going with any item. Funny thing is I have given this lecture to many a student, and yet I was guilty of this cardinal journalistic-sin recently. You see, I misinterpreted what a source told me about someone’s illness and wrote that the person had passed away. It was an experience for me (to say the least). To this day, I genuinely believe it was what I was told (or heard).
A relative of the individual angrily called up and even suggested I did this maliciously. I didn’t. I had to explain that the individual was a prominent person in the Caribbean-American community, and in the event of such a passing, it would be newsworthy. Anyway I retracted and apologized. In this column let me do so again. I am sorry for whatever pain was caused to the individual, and to the friends and family members of the said individual: do forgive me.
I also want to apologize to those who complain that I lose it, whenever I react angrily to my many detractors here -who seem to intermittently come up here, just to inflame me. Recently I had such a meltdown when I was attacked for the umpteenth time by one anonymous commenter going by the moniker “JP”. I responded to his attack and escalated a flare-up which has led to quite a few columns written with me as the subject. This isn’t the first, nor the second, nor the third time, this has happened, and I don’t usually respond beyond the comment sections. This time however, I will get into all this a bit. You see there have been too many unnecessary columns written here, making me the subject: it is time to stop this nonsense. It only makes me more of a celebrity in this town; thus having a reverse effect of what has been the objective: to discredit me as a blogger and political writer in order to drive me (and my views) off the blogs.
In a journalism class during my stint at Columbia University, New York (yes “Gatemouth” I did graduate from this university, unlike what you wrote in the article published in Huffington Post), there was a story about Robert Kennedy’s assassination that makes a deep point about reporting on anyone’s death. My professor was an editor at the New York Times, and he said that none of the news services had bothered to inform the Kennedy family about Robert’s assassination before going with the story (I assume they were all trying to out-scoop each other). Anyway, it is said that Robert Kennedy jnr. was sitting watching television, when the news came over about his father’s death. Some say this event has had a profound impact on him. In fact some have attributed his later drug use/abuse right back to this event. So you see why we have to be careful about these things.
Look, I have worked professionally and voluntarily in various mediums (radio, television, newspapers, magazines, etc.) for many years. I have also studied media to the point where I now lecture on it. I have been a university lecturer for twenty years. I have lectured in many areas: communication, reading, politics, media, black studies, marketing, and others; you name it. I have lectured in about half a dozen institutions of higher learning. I have also lectured to grads and undergrads; plus foreign students from many countries from near all continents. And yet, I still make mistakes along the way. I am not infallible. So this constant barrage of attacks on me, my character, my personality, my views and my wrings on the blogs - which have been going on for the past five years- have left me to wonder what are the real motives behind them. You don’t keep this up year in year out, without some hidden motive (agenda).
There are many writers here (alternative media) and on mainstream mediums, who make mistakes along the way. How many times haven’t we seen the New York Times, New York Post and Daily News printing retractions to items they ran previously? And yet to read some of my detractors on this blog you would think that I am error-prone. After more than 300 columns here you would think the constant attacks would be over: but they aren’t. So I will address this (somewhat) and hope that there is closure finally.
A few years ago I wrote about a person who suffered a mild stroke. This person was a very public person and yet, I was attacked for doing this. Then I wrote about the strange illness of a former district leader; again I was castigated right here on Room Eight New York Politics (www.r8ny.com). Strangely enough, the person’s picture and a story of the illness appeared a few weeks later in the Brooklyn section of the Daily News. After the News ran this story, I felt that the elected official, who castigated me for publishing the story first, would apologize for what was written against me: that official never did (and I have never asked for an apology).
From time to time, I do a column which I entitle “the Vines”. It is really meant as entertainment (and levity) for the most part. I try to bring in the political street-gossip and add some juicy tidbits. I also tend to speculate a bit and offer unique insights in a “Cindy Adams” kinda way. This column has invariably gotten me in trouble; especially when my detractors pounce on something relatively trivial as not naming an assembly or senate district correctly; or when I misspell someone’s name; or when I make the wrong prediction on some race or the other. It is so tragic the length that my detractors will go to find fault with my columns. For what? Why? What’s the real motivation?
I have requested so many times that these folks stop reading my columns, so that they won’t have to comment, and in this way, the firefights won’t start. You see, they usually start off with vicious personal attacks and not with informative critique.
Over the years, I have introduced countless students to the blogs, and often enough they go up to defend me from these unnecessary and silly attacks. Other times, I do defend myself since I hate being slapped around: especially from anonymous cowards. And no I don’t do this “sock-puppetry” thing my detractors allude to (posting anonymously), although a few students did get hold of my password a couple times.
There is a person who trolls this blog named Howard “Gatemouth” Graubard; he seems to be so fascinated with me and my columns, that he has written countless columns whereby I am the subject. It is amazing. I will call him “the anointed one”. You see, he has anointed (and appointed) himself as my terrorizer. And he claims that it is all about critiquing my writings. BULLSHIT.
When you get a “Google” alert that you are on Huffington Post, and go on to find a “trillion-word” article about every assumption this writer has made about you from years prior, then you suspect this person is obsessed (and sick). It is all so friggin unnecessary. I have never written a column where Gatemouth is the subject.
From the first day I came on the blogs this person has gone after me. Once I wrote a column whereby I used his name in the title -it was actually to give out some info on a conversation I had with Charles Barron- and he has used this as one of many excuses to write countless columns trying to debase me. I have never ever never written about him in that way. In fact, I have always complimented him on his knowledge of NYC’s political history.
I have never ever written a column with a nomme-de-plume. Every column I have written here or on any other blog(s) was done under my name. I have nothing to be afraid of or ashamed of. My editors, Ben Smith, Gur Tsbar, Michael Bouldin, David Michelson and Liza Sabater can ALL vouch for this, since I send them my columns first; and also because I have never wanted to put up my columns without pre-approval: I can probably post it (technically), but I have refused to for various reasons of my own.
And yet, “the anointed one” implies that I have posted anonymously, and he gets fools like himself to go along with this classic in mendacity. He has used various disguises to try to hide his spoofs of my columns. He has ridiculed and demeaned my writings from behind his KKK mask(s). He has suborned others to his cause; he has enlisted others to join in this harassment; so since I don’t ever do it to him: why has he consistently done this to me? You tell me.
I don’t need Gatemouth, JP, Wallner, Wonk, or any other person’s validation for what I do here. I write what I feel like, when I feel like it. Only the editors can censor me. My detractors stated in the beginning that they were going to drive me off the blogs. It continues to be their expressed purpose. When I wrote the lengthy column against same-sex marriage they enlisted gays to come here and further terrorize me, plus make political threats.
It seems as though my detractors hate the fact that I have many fans on the blogs. Is it surprising? I have introduced countless people to this site. I have recruited writers. I have cultivated followers. I have tried to help develop a site where we can all come and get info about political happenings in this state and beyond; specifically things not covered by mainstream media.
I have had federally elected officials tell me how much they enjoy my columns. I have had state senators, assembly members, city council members and various other officials on all levels of government say the same thing.
I have had countless people tell me to e-mail them my column, since they hate coming up to Room Eight because of the fighting and trivial attacks. I have had newspapers pay me money for columns (including the New York Daily News). I have had countless appearances on radio and television (including “the Perez Notes” and NBC’s News Forum) because of my political-activism and also because of my columns. I have had mayoral candidates and their staffers thank me for pieces done objectively; and yes I have also gotten a few political consulting gigs primarily because of my columns here.
From now on I will only post here on Room Eight New York Politics. I see too many other blog sites where my column is lifted. I have the ability to correct errors here and nowhere else. This is now very important to me; primarily since the erroneous obituary.
At the 2008 Dems convention in Denver, I had none other than Howard Wolfson come up to me and say, that no matter where he was in the country (while running Hilary Clinton’s presidential primary campaign), he would come up to Room Eight to read my columns. He said that he felt I covered the primary battle better than any other writer in the country.
So, for my detractors to moan, fuss and bitch as to how horrible a writer I am; and how much of a lightweight I am; how little I really know about politics and the “happenings”; and how awful my writing-style is; and how many mistakes I make; etcetera; etcetera; only shows two things: racism and envy.
So now, I have said it. There it is: I have called out the player-haters. Who the cap fits, then let him/her/them wear it.
I don’t know if Gatemouth and JP are the same person, but I do know that the Gatemouth I have personally interacted with over the years, obviously has “multi-personality disorder(s)”. To my face he is relatively civil, kind, helpful and such, but his actions over the years leaves me to consider him “troubled”.
He has made umpteen assumptions about me and the meanings of my columns and I find them way off base at times. He has been merciless over the years in my being wrong about so many things (most of which he can’t find). He will take snippets from columns and weave a web of ineptitude that’s rather disheartening. I am not competing with him or anyone. He obviously studies my every word since he quotes them incessantly. Why?
He has written lengthy columns about me, using excerpts of my writings to prove stuff that’s only in his warped mind. I don’t do this to him. He has written all sorts of stuff on the threads that only leave one to wonder what’s really going on in his head. He has bisected, dissected, inspected, tested and molested my columns for mental masturbation exercises he alone understands. Why? What’s this all about? Can some objective person out there really explain this to me? I am totally confused. It has been going on for five friggin years. ENOUGH ALREADY.
The man has challenged my sources, my education, my credentials, my professional work, my political work, my analysis, my conclusions and more: why? What’s this all about? Now he alludes that I am a psychopath. Would this ever end? I deliberately stayed off the threads of the recent firefights here, and it was most informative (and instructive) to see the comments made by various unknowns. Even here “the anointed one” suggests that I wrote 25 comments on the threads, I am going to try my best to avoid these flare ups and the subsequent threads, but I do reserve the right to jump in and flail away when I see fit.
Not too long ago, when I arrived at the recent Room Eight event (get-together), Howard “Gatemouth” Graubard introduced me this way: “And now, the “star” of Room Eight: Rock Hackshaw”. WTF!! Is this multiple-personality disorder or what?
Look, I am the star of nothing. I am just me. I don’t want to be the star of anything: just leave me to fuck alone. That’s all I ask. That’s an easy request from all of you who love to rag me here out there. Don’t read my stuff. When someone (JP) goes up and writes how much (and how intensely) they dislike me -without ever meeting or knowing me personally- then you know this is all very very sick.
I could only say that from now on I will not read the columns of those I have mentioned here. Thus I won’t comment on anything Gatemouth and the others write. I hope they do likewise with my columns, since their comments aren’t welcomed anymore. And it has nothing to do with me being thin-skinned, since I have taken my lumps here and engaged people when needed (or requested).
Anyway, I will be keeping my comment section closed for a bit. Let us see if he and /or others open a column just to deal with this: like he and others have done so many times before. This is where the absurdity of all this will show its ugly head.
There are a few others whose names (or sobriquets) I haven’t mentioned here, whose columns I will not read anymore either. Some who I thought were friends have turned out to be enemies I couldn’t see. I will continue to write when I want to and what I feel like writing: they cannot drive me from the blogs; I will leave on my own terms.
Stay tuned-in folks.