by John Hawkins | October 13, 2010 11:36 am
The beginning of the David Frum/Alex Knepper vs. NewsReal child sex fight in a nutshell: Alex Knepper is a young blogger who has written for a number of different conservative blogs including Newsreal, The Daily Caller, Newsbusters, and Frum Forum.
Knepper wrote some pieces for Newsreal that they found objectionable, primarily because they believed Knepper seemed to be showing an unhealthy sexual interest in children. Eventually, they dumped Knepper from Newsreal. Knepper and perhaps more notably, David Frum, took the position that Newsreal’s complaints were groundless. Their story was that Knepper was fired for writing a piece critical of Ann Coulter.
Of course, since that’s the controversy in a nutshell, it leaves a lot of details out, but it’s a fairly good synopsis of where things stood until Friday of last week, when Newsreal dropped a neutron bomb into the debate called David Frum and His Pro-Pedophile Protege Alex Knepper.
The folks over at Newsreal were apparently steamed that David Frum was treating their concerns about Knepper like a witch hunt and they decided to do a little investigative Googling. What they found was shocking and repulsive.
Knepper had been posting really creepy comments to a message board called the Gay Teen Forum. Even under the most charitable reading imaginable, Knepper’s comments on that forum seemed to show he was very comfortable with the idea of children and adults having sex. Here’s just a sample of what Newsreal caught Knepper saying:
What’s the best thing about having sex with 28 year olds?
There’s 20 of them.
What’s the best part about having sex in the shower with an eight-year-old girl? If you slick her hair back, she looks like an eight-year-old boy!
How do you make a three year old cry twice?
Wipe your bloody d*ck on her teddy bear
What’s black, blue, and hates sex?
The ten year old in my trunk
What’s even better than sex with a nine-year-old?
………………………I don’t know, either.
There’s much, much more at the link above.
After this became public, the Daily Caller got rid of Knepper and Newsreal, quite naturally, wondered if David Frum would follow suit.
Last night, Frum finally did end his relationship with Knepper, but he did it in the most asinine way possible. Rather than condemning Knepper’s interest in children or making a simple statement letting people know Knepper would be going elsewhere, Frum wrote a poorly reasoned post lashing out at Newsreal. It was as if Frum was angry at them for revealing Knepper was interested in children and thereby forcing him to let Alex go:
Alex also published on other conservative sites, including the Breitbart sites and the Daily Caller, but most relevantly, NewsRealBlog. Alex and NewsRealBlog had a falling out in July, after Alex published a post on this site criticizing Ann Coulter’s negative turn against the Afghanistan war.
Coulter is an important friend to the NewsRealBlog’s parent organization, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and Knepper’s post prompted NewsRealBlog to discontinue their association with Alex Knepper. Alex relates the incident here.
That was not the end of the matter however. After terminating Alex, the editors at NewsRealBlog launched a campaign of accusation against him as a sexual deviant, a pedophile and so on. They published Alex’s private correspondence with NewsRealBlog editors and cyber-stalked him on Google and Facebook.
At first, the NewsRealBlog editors tried to make their case based on Alex’s published words. This method did not work, partly because Alex’s published articles made reasonable points, and partly because Alex’s most strident pieces had appeared on NewsRealBlog itself.
And so the NewsRealBlog editors expanded their campaign. Alex had at one time been on very confidential terms with the editor of NewsRealBlog, David Swindle. Swindle somehow discovered that Alex had posted many pieces under a pseudonym on a chat site for gay teens. NewsRealBlog cracked Alex’s alias, and rummaged through his many personal posts in search of damaging material.
They found it.
Alex had not disclosed the existence of this material to me. My first encounter with it was on Saturday morning, when I read the material on the NewsRealBlog site.
NewsRealBlog’s behavior in this case was vicious, invasive and outrageous. I wonder what would remain of the reputations of NewsRealBlog’s editors if their expectations of privacy were ripped away, if their private emails were published, their sexual fantasies and peculiarities exposed to public view.
NewsRealBlog’s editors have fused high school cyber-bullying and New Left character assassination. They have relentlessly harried and pursued somebody himself only months out of his own adolescence. They bombarded him with accusations long before they did the snooping that provided their squalid evidence. They have sought to destroy a career in the midst of the worst job market for young journalists since the 1930s, all to settle a private score.
This is a childish and bizarre response from Frum. One of his writers was caught making statements that appear to show he’s sexually interested in children and Frum’s response is to accuse the people who revealed that information of “cyber-bullying and New Left character assassination?” Well, if this is just baseless “cyber-bullying and New Left character assassination” that was spawned by Knepper attacking Ann Coulter, then why isn’t Frum standing by his writer? Either it’s valid or it’s not and apparently, Frum thinks there’s something to it.
Additionally, it isn’t as if Newsreal hacked into Knepper’s email or tapped his phone lines to get this information. They first learned he might be interested in children from writing he submitted to them. Then, they did a Google search and found the posts in question on a public message board. Yes, Knepper was posting under a pseudonym there, but he made no effort beyond that to hide his identity. This isn’t a privacy issue because all the evidence was out there in broad daylight. Nobody can reasonably expect that information posted on a public forum will be kept private.
Here’s what it really comes down to: David Frum just doesn’t want to admit that he was 100% wrong and those terrible, awful, no good conservatives were right. Newsreal was concerned Knepper had an unhealthy interest in children. David Frum said there was nothing to it and they were persecuting him because that’s what those awful conservatives do, after all. Then when it ultimately turned out the conservatives were right and he was wrong, Frum was such a petty, little man that even though he acted on the information they provided, he still couldn’t even give them even a smidgen of credit for being right. It doesn’t say much for his character.
However, there’s more to the story. Because these are EXTREMELY damaging allegations, I wanted to give Alex Knepper a chance to respond. So, last night, I contacted him on Twitter and we spoke via email. In his first email, he essentially said that the charges were untrue and part of a Newsreal smear campaign.
The problem with that was that after having read the Newsreal piece, there were a number of specific statements Knepper had made publicly that seemed to suggest he had a sexual interest in children. Even if you write off one or two of them as being poorly phrased or bad jokes, taken as a whole, they paint a damning picture. What follows is my 2nd email to Knepper and Knepper’s acidic response. Be forewarned, this deals with sensitive subject matter:
First of all, thank you for writing back. I do want to try to get your side of things before I write a piece. Some of these questions are kind of tough, but I really would like to get your response to them.
1) In his piece defending you, David Frum says this was private material. However, all the information here seems to have been posted on a publicly accessible forum. Yes, you did use a pseudonym, but it didn’t look like a lot of effort was put into keeping people from discovering it was you. So, do you think it’s fair to call this private info?
2) A 16 year old isn’t a child. Moreover, I have to say I’m very surprised that you say that you didn’t realize how people would take (saying a word like CHILF). Just the phrase, “Child I’d like to F***” is going to make the average person immediately think NAMBLA and child porn. The fact that something like that is acceptable in that forum isn’t going to make most people think it has been torn out of context; it’s going to make people think there’s something terribly wrong with the people going to that forum. You have threads with people like “lestermolester” posting in them and they’re taking about chilfs. That paints a very ugly picture, Alex.
3) Looking at the poem you (posted), it includes lines like, “Eight boys a-milking,” “Five naked chilfs,” “Four emo boys.” Again, to the average person, this does not sound like a young gay man who’s interested in other young gay men; it sounds like a young gay man who’s interested in children.
4) This line is from one of your posts that Newsreal cited:
He didn’t look very chilfy last night, though; he hadn’t shaven…he was all hairy. That made it more difficult to get turned on…boo.
Again, that makes it sound like you’re interested in children, not adults.
5) “It was really hot but totally pedo-y.” How do you think it sounds when you use the word “pedo-y” in conversation to describe something you’re doing?
6) The picture they posted (in the Newsreal article)? Most people would consider that to be child porn. One of the children in it looks particularly young. 13-14 maybe.
7) “What’s the Main Cause of Pedophilia?” asks Knepper in another since-deleted post as he sets up for the punchline: “Sexy kids.”
Alex, if you actually wrote all this stuff, and you seem to be admitting that you did, it’s hard to see how there could be an innocent explanation for it. If you have one beyond what you’ve already given, I’d like to hear it before I write about this. I am trying not to pre-judge and keep an open mind, but honestly, this sounds absolutely awful.
8) You’re 20. What is the youngest age you’d find appropriate for a sexual partner?
9) Do you have an opinion on NAMBLA?
Again, sorry to have to ask you such personal and pointed questions. But, this is at the crux of the matter at hand.
PS: I am asking for a response on a piece here, but I don’t want to actually quote you without your permission. Do I have permission to quote what you’ve said here in the article that will be out tomorrow?
Here is Knepper’s complete response (emphasis mine):
Quote from this, and keep it context.
The way people would “take” something like that? You speak to me as if, rather than to my peers, I were presenting the phrase to some gullible Christian Right audience. Everyone on the forum uses the phrases I do. It’s an inside-joke, and of course it looks bad to people so stupid that they pound doors for Christine O’Donnell. Sane people will view it as young people joking amongst young people. Get a life.
If you actually think that the user “lestermolester” is an actual child molester, you are too stupid to be writing for a high school newspaper, let alone edit the publication you do.
Tell me, John: do you prefer hairy women? Are you going to tell me that a distaste toward hair is indicative of a desire to rape children? Because if so, you’re going to need to call for the persecution of 95% of straight men, in the same way that you’re probing my every little sexual preference. Do you even investigate your own wife’s sexual attitudes in the same way that you’re investigating mine? Let me ask you this: do you like it when your wife shaves her bush? Better tell her to stay all-natural, lest you turn into a pedophile.
I was under the assumption that, amongst my peers, I could make jokes about sex. I didn’t expect middle-aged scribblers like you to be interrogating my sexual preferences to present to people with the sexual ethos of Christine O’Donnell.
For f*ck’s sake. I joke about the Holocaust, I joke about rape, I joke about lynching, I joke about genocide — do you honestly think that my shock-value humor uniquely circles around child molestation? Christ almighty, give me a break. It’s meant to drop jaws, and others in the thread posted their own obscene jokes. There are threads on the forum full of obscene racist jokes, too. They’re J-O-K-E-S. They’re not something I’d necessarily post today, but they don’t mean anything.
I would never date or have sex with anyone below the legal age of consent, nor have I ever. And you’re a bigoted creep for insinuating that I might.
I would not post the picture today, and I actually even don’t find it arousing anymore. But if you think it’s child porn, you’d better call the police on NewsRealBlog, since they’re circulating it all over the blogosphere. More people saw that picture thanks to David Swindle than ever saw it thanks to my stupid, forgotten thread on some forum. People’s sexuality is wildly in flux at this age, although most of us were fortunate enough not to have creeps like you rummaging through our sexual past. Of course, you and your readers probably think that the only proper partner I should have in my sex life is Jesus, who will keep me from doing something evil like having sex outside of marriage.
Asking me to condemn NAMBLA is like asking me to condemn Scientology, or Lindsay Lohan’s acting. Does anyone on Earth disagree that any of these things are bad?
Yeah, I’m mad.
The impression that letter leaves is of someone who got caught publicly saying really disgusting things, doesn’t have a good answer for why he said them, and now, he’s trying to lash out to distract people from what he’s done wrong.
There were a couple of extremely noteworthy lines in there as well.
I would not post the picture today, and I actually even don’t find it arousing anymore.
The child in that picture is a young kid who looks 13 or 14 tops. The fact that Alex Knepper apparently found him arousing when he posted it back in 2009 is extremely disturbing and suggests that he has a serious problem.
Additionally, this is a fascinating defense:
For f*ck’s sake. I joke about the Holocaust, I joke about rape, I joke about lynching, I joke about genocide — do you honestly think that my shock-value humor uniquely circles around child molestation? Christ almighty, give me a break. It’s meant to drop jaws, and others in the thread posted their own obscene jokes. There are threads on the forum full of obscene racist jokes, too.
So, David Frum? You said you “consulted widely and communicated repeatedly and at length to Alex himself.” So, during that time did you and Alex Knepper ever laugh it up at any rape jokes? How about Holocaust jokes? The lynching jokes, then? Read that last email from Knepper again, folks, and ask yourself who was right: David Frum or Newsreal? Moreover, ask yourself what kind of person David Frum is when he’s willing to go to the mat for someone like Knepper.
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