Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ooops!.. McClatchy Blackwater emails are published by Gawker after editor accidentally forwards them to the wrong group

An email exchange between a McClatchy DC editor and a local reporter was published on the Gawker web site Wednesday, after the editor accidentally forwarded the exchange to the wrong group.

The emails involves back-and-forth discussion between DC editor Mark Seibel and Jay Price, a reporter at the News & Observer, regarding how Price should approach a story on a Blackwater lawsuit.

On Aug 5, 2009, at 11:15 AM, Seibel, Mark wrote:>

You guys doing anything on the murder alegations?

From: Jay Price
To: Seibel, Mark
Sent: Wed Aug 05 11:30:32 2009
Subject: Re: Blackwater?

dunno, sent the material to joe yesterday but we havent talked. I'm on night cops rotation all this week since we no longer can afford night cops reporters.

I would be careful about how seriously I took this stuff.....The allegations are anonymous and part of a lawsuit that frankly is pretty shaky with some wilder stuff re: child prostitution etc.

Norfolk wrote it because its in their yard, but their story was pretty lukewarm. This is not the same as someone publically saying this stuff happened.

They are prone to threats but its been essentially junior HS boy cheft puffing, no sense they would ever do this or that the talk of christian crusades... they shot a lot in iraq but if there were lots of intentional killings we'd know about it.

On Aug 5, 2009, at 11:39 AM, Seibel, Mark wrote:>

I don't know about that last part. I think there were many intentional killings. Let me know if you guys decide to do something.

From: Jay Price
Sent: Wednesday, August 05, 2009 12:24 PM
To: Seibel, Mark
Subject: Re: Blackwater?

will do. I mean intentional in the sense described in lawsuit, where they are alleged to have gone over on a christian crusade to kill iraqis.The allegations of killing potential whistleblowers is another red flag on this. victim(s ) are unnamed and it's not as if there are a ton of potential candidates. BW didnt lose but a handful there and most are known issues — fallujah and chopper shoot downs/crashes.

So we have unnamed accusers, no names or circumstances for alleged victims etc. , lawyers who have been really pushing the limits of credibility and Jeremy Scahill who has made a career out of sensationalizing.... worth digging at, but there isn't even a small piece of solid evidence to support this stuff. Eric is Catholic and surely religious but the guys he put in the field were no more interested in religion than anyone else, and prob less so.

On Aug 5, 2009, at 12:26 PM, Seibel, Mark wrote:>

i imagine that's true — that the contractors themselves weren't driven by religion. they were driven by money

From: Jay Price
Sent: Wednesday, August 05, 2009 1:18 PM
To: Seibel, Mark
Subject: Re: Blackwater?

Joe's hacking through the two guys' statements to see if there is somewhere further to push it. He and I are both aware of threats to folks inside the company not to talk but his take is this new stuff is not huge ..... will let you know if he starts to pursue.

Crime site looks good, wish we had a vast promotional budget for stuff like that.... it could take off with enough spotlight.

From: Seibel, Mark
Date: Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 1:20 PM
Subject: FW: Blackwater?
To: Wash Buro Web Marketing

let's be watching for this.

This isn't the first time a McClatchy higher-up has forwarded emails to the wrong people. In January, Star-Telegram executive editor Jim Witt was red-faced after he sent an email with sensitive personnel information to the entire newspaper.



Anonymous said...

The D.C. Money sink is our own worst enemy.

Anonymous said...

Nothing to see here folks. Move along.

Anonymous said...

Do you get the feeling from this exchange that someone already knows the story he wants to write and is just looking for some "facts" to go with it?

Anonymous said...

In all fairness, one side of this email exchange is doing the right thing in spite of the pressure from the higher up for a story that fits the MNI narrative.