Mediaite published a lengthy story June 17 explaining a problem with its June 3 story featuring interviews with two 16-year-old girls. The problem: The girls’ identities are fake.
The girls followed former Rep. Anthony Weiner on Twitter. One of them reportedly told Dan Wolfe, the only person who re-tweeted Rep. Weiner’s infamous crotch shot, that they “had incriminating Direct Messages from Rep. Weiner, a claim she now admits was false,” according to Mediaite One of the girls “launched a campaign to get Weiner to be her prom date,” the Atlantic Wire reported.
That girl also tweeted to “at least three other women Weiner was communicating with, including Gennette Cordova,” the Atlantic Wire reported.
StinkyJournalism wrote earlier this month when Cordova claimed the New York Post tricked her into what the Post called an “exclusive interview.” Cordova reportedly questioned the girl’s identity because she “made references to ‘The O.C.,'” a teen TV show that ran until in 2007.
Mediaite explained that the two girls approached Mediaite with their story. “To protect their identities,” Mediaite gave them the fake names “Betty” and “Veronica.” Mediate requested and got information to prove their real identities — student IDs from the two teenagers and a driver’s license from one of their mothers. The New York Times reported on the fake identities and gave the names the two girls used online.
Mediaite noted that its reporter, Tommy Christopher, verified the address associated with the identifications as well. However, the New York Times reported that “records show the street address the woman provided does not list anyone” with the same last name the woman and girl used. The Times added that the drivers license used to verify the “mother’s” identity was a fake.
But, according to Mediaite, the two girls and the mother “created false identities, and are not at all who they claimed to be.” Mediaite defended its reporting and Christopher for acting in “a professional and responsible manner.” While the identities are phony, “most of the material facts that these sources provided…have been independently verified, so the central themes of that post remain unchanged.”
Mediaite noted that it still doesn’t know who was posing as the two girls and their mother or “their possible motivation” since Twitter accounts affiliated with the girls “date back several months.” According to Mediaite, the two girls and the mother “broke contact” with Mediaite.
The story about the girls now features an update linking back to the explanation and briefly noting that “several new elements to this story have come to light, particularly with regard to the identities of the pseudonymous underaged girls in the story.”
See Mediaite’s complete post here.