Are the stories of a streaker and book thrower at the president's Philadelphia rally yesterday fabricated? Politics Daily's Tom Kavanagh raises some questions about both incidents.
First, to the video (posted earlier by Scott) showing an apparent slow-mo version of the book assault:
But the video isn't a slam dunk for Kavanagh, who mentions a lack of reporting regarding both the book and streaking incidents:
The Associated Press, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Washington Post made no mention of any such developments in their original reports. And the White House pool reporter saw no indication that they occurred either, Politics Daily's Alex Wagner reports.
And he points out some possible discrepancies:
A photo appearing in the British tabloid the Daily Mail shows a book very clearly passing behind the president's head, though the clarity -- such a sharp image would require a very fast shutter speed -- is not the only reason to doubt its authenticity: the background behind the president is quite different from the background in the video, and the president appears to be wearing a different shirt than the one he has on in other images. (In addition, his sleeves are rolled up to a different height in the Daily Mail photo.)
But alas, the Secret Service has put bookgate conspiracy theories to rest. According to ABC:
The US Secret Service found and interviewed the man who threw the book onstage. He was deemed to be an “overexhuberant” supporter who wanted the President to have a copy of a book he had written, according the Special Agent Edwin Donovan of the Secret Service in Washington. “He was deemed not to be a threat and was not arrested,” Donovan told ABC News.
But that doesn't mean streakergate is over. Kavanagh gives us more food for thought:
Gawker also published a photo of the "streaker," though it's provenance also seems dubious too. Gawker cites a Weekly Standard blogger saying the stunt "captured the attention of . . . an Associated Press photographer," but the photo is credited to Joey "Boots" Bassolino, whose name does not appear in connection to the AP in any other references sought in a Google search. Another blogger calls Bassolino a co-conspirator in the plot to win $1 million from Akli David, said to be the son of a Turkish Coca-Cola bottling company owner.
Where the photo came from is an interesting question. But the incident seems to have happened. Again, ABC humors us:
A White House official travelling [sic] with the President to Philadelphia says the staff was aware of the streaker but did not see his attempt to dash in front of the stage.
Still, true conspiracy theorists won't let that stop them. It could be all part of the cover up, right? The staff was "made aware," but by who? Without seeing the actual streaker, can ABC's report really be considered a confirmation? Were there reports of UFOs in the area? How can you know for sure that there wasn't?
"Whom to believe in all this?" Kavangh asks. "Hard to say, as the incidents could be just another example of the hard-to-pin-down reality of the digital world, in which drawing attention to oneself is sometimes the highest order of business."
He may have just left the conspiratorial door cracked enough for those who want to keep looking. We'll at least continue peeking and let you know.