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October 24, 2008

Winners and Losers in the Backwards 'B' Hoax Story

Ashley Todd, a McCain volunteer working in Pennsylvania, has admitted that she made up an elaborate story about being beaten and mutilated by a large black man who was upset by her support for the Republican presidential candidate. Todd confessed that the backwards "B" lightly carved into her cheek was possibly of her own doing, and that she was never mugged at an ATM in downtown Pittsburgh. There were several fishy aspects to her story from the time it first gained nationwide attention, but some observers were more skeptical than others. Here's how they stack up in the aftermath.

Ashley Todd
The Stupidest

The Drudge Report

Drudge was the person who turned the story into a national outrage with a be-sirened all-caps post about the politically motivated attack. He's since seen fit to post the update in similarly large letters, but that hasn't stopped the mockery of his news judgment.

Fox News

The only person to come out of this looking as bad as Drudge (though still better than Todd herself) is executive vice president John Moody, who describes the alleged attack as a watershed moment: "If Ms. Todd’s allegations are proven accurate, some voters may revisit their support for Senator Obama, not because they are racists (with due respect to Rep. John Murtha), but because they suddenly feel they do not know enough about the Democratic nominee."

McCain Campaign

In an official statement before the hoax was revealed, the McCain campaign said, "We're shaken up by this. It's sick and disgusting." Both McCain and Palin reportedly consoled Todd by phone.

The Smartest


While the rest of the news-consuming country was still deciding whether it was too soon to voice concerns over the obvious gaps in Todd's story, the salty bloggers of Wonkette barreled forward presciently, calling the story "extremely fishy" and stating, "We will predict this story will fully unravel in about 48 hours."

Michelle Malkin

Bet you didn't see that one coming. Despite Malkin's history of overreaction to the slightest perceived provocation by the left, she declared this incident unlikely from the start, and continued to add on evidence as it emerged. Most conservative commentators are coming out of this "story" looking awfully dumb and hysterical. Malkin isn't one of them.

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