Latimer first began his attacks on me in the comments section of his hometown blog, responding to a local Latimer supporter, several hours after the car crash story ran on October 16th.
After a decade of covering George Latimer without any comment or concern from Latimer suddenly I am no longer a journalist covering New Rochelle but attacked and belittled as a “conservative blogger...with an agenda.” Latimer attempts to link me to the Astorino campaign by accusing me of joining in “the Character Assassination which is essential to the incumbent beating me.”
He repeats a variation of what has become his main talking point on the car crash, “no speeding, no drinking, no ticket” and asserts there are “no credibility issues” when the issue in the story is whether he ran a red light, caused a serious car crash and lied about it to police (hint: he did all of these things).
He then adds a bizarre, new claim, “Plenty of witnesses, so nothing to sweep under the rug.” The police report makes no mention of any witnesses let alone “plenty” of them. As will become clear, there is actually “plenty” to sweep under the rug but running a red light is the least of his concerns.
Later that night Latimer used his Facebook page to deceive the public further on multiple levels — as to the truth of my story, the source of my story, the purpose of my story, that my reporting on a car crash in New Rochelle is part of some conspiracy orchestrated by his political opponent. without mentioning or linking my car crash story (for obvious reasons) he denounces my reporting as “a fake news story” (I suppose to link my article with Donald Trump?) and accusing someone, either me or Rob Astorino, of “manufacturing an attack out of thin air.”
“They're really running scared,” says Latimer. “This is the way they roll. From Lee Atwater and Newt Gingrich down to today's small time hacks they plot and plan these things. Searching for any little thing to get your mind off of The AIRPORT Deal, The PLAYLAND Deal, The BORROWING, The DEBT, The, LOWER BOND RATING, The INVESTIGATION, The GUN SHOW, The LOST $$$ FROM HUD. $4 million spent to make sure that Rob is still a viable candidate for Governor next year. And they're worried. And they should be.”
Wow! That is a lot to unpack in response to an entirely accurate account, derived from a police incident report, about a car crash. And the mention of Astorino and the Governor is ironical considering the word is that Latimer agreed to run against Astorino as a favor to Andrew Cuomo with the promise of a job in the Cuomo Administration (hopefully not running the DMV) after he loses.
In this post, I have been demoted. I am no longer even a “conservative blogger with an agenda” but a lowly “small time hack” but at the same time I am lifted up as part of some grand nefarious GOP cabal that includes Lee Atwater, who died in 1991, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who last held office in 1999.
“Hey George, the Nineties called, they want their political ‘insults’ back!”
Meanwhile, back here in 2017, I would take a moment to deconstruct a clever set of lies by Latimer contained in his phrase: “manufacturing an attack out of thin air.”
My car crash article is not manufactured but rather the normal result of a news tip on what I now believe to be reckless driving by George Latimer that caused injuries and property damage. This would always be a news story, especially for a publication that covers New Rochelle. Consider the alternative, that the Publisher of the biggest media outlet in New Rochelle is told that a senior state official is involved in a serious car crash in New Rochelle and ignores it entirely? I believe it is fair to say that no responsible, legitimate news organization would NOT report such an incident.
Of course, readers can then draw their own conclusions as to what it means about the nature of journalism in Westchester that News12, The Journal News, and FiOS1News have not only never reported on the car crash but have never even bothered to file a FOIL request with NRPD to obtain a copy of the police report about the car crash. That is a story all by itself which we will get to a bit further down the road.
“out of thin air”
This phrase works on more than one level. It serves to raise doubt as to my motivation for reporting on the car crash, how I became aware of the car crash and whether there even was a car crash. The implication is that the Astorino campaign came up with some phony car crash and fed it to Talk of the Sound to damage Latimer’s reputation in the weeks before the election. The flaw in this logic is that there really was a car crash which George acknowledges to the degree that nothing was his fault (false) and he did nothing wrong (false).
While previously stating in an email to me that he believes I have the police report, Latimer publicly raises doubts. Meanwhile, within hours of publication of the car crash a left-wing member of the media with a history with Latimer, a guy who has never linked my articles or re-tweeted my tweets, is publicly trashing me and my reporting while attempting to cast doubt as to whether I actually have a copy of the police report or what it says and effectively asserting that my article is a product of the Astorino campaign not my own reporting. Again, more on the media role in all this later.
The critical bridge to the bigger lie, that my article on the car crash is not an article at all but a political attack. And what kind of attack? An attack not from Robert Cox or Talk of the Sound but from the Astorino campaign, and not because I am doing what I always do, reporting the news in New Rochelle, but that I am operating in the context of some long tradition of GOP political skullduggery going back to the Reagan Administration (back in a time when I was a registered Democrat no less).
George Latimer lied to me, over and over again. Now he was lying about me in public. And so now he had my full attention. And as is always the case that means I am going to keep digging as I made clear to him two days later.