A number of readers have written, asking whether an email purporting to have been sent by me, which was posted on a site called Minnesota Politics, is genuine. It is. Here is the story:
We have received relatively little hate mail in the two-and-a half years that we have been writing for this site. One reason is that we rarely choose to engage left-wing sites like Daily Kos and Atrios in their brand of argument. Around a week ago, however, both of those sites sicced their readers on us, with the result that hate mail started pouring in. When I wrote about the Guckert/Gannon controversy, the hate mail intensified; we were inundated with email messages from their readers, many of them inexpressibly vulgar and vile.
These are not nice people. In addition to emailing us at our feedback address with every manner of invective, they called my office. My secretary stopped answering my telephone because callers swore at her. The telephone campaign reached a new low this morning, when someone purporting to be a reporter at a gay newspaper in Los Angeles called my office and asked me to comment on a “rumor” to the effect that there are photos floating around of me in a “tryst” with Jeff Gannon. Suffice it to say that these people are beneath contempt.
So that’s the context in which I was reading emails a couple of days ago. I read about ten in a row that were vulgar and abusive in varying degrees; most were unprintable. At that point I snapped and lost my temper. I sent irate and intemperate replies to the last couple of emails I read–unfortunately, not the most abusive ones, but the ones I read after losing my temper.
The next day, one of these emailers responded that he thought my reply was disproportionate to the offensiveness of his email; I agreed and apologized for having reacted inappropriately. I would have done the same with the “Minnesota Politics” guy if he had contacted me rather than posting my email–which obviously wasn’t intended for publication–on his site.
Our usual practice is not to respond to hate mail. Occasionally we send courteous replies, on rare occasions we’ve responded angrily. But in all the years I’ve been writing emails, I’d never before sent a message that I realized afterward should have been deleted rather than sent. I acknowledge that I made a mistake; I intend not to make the same mistake twice.
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