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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Sager, Myers Expose Treglia's Revisionist History On Campaign Finance Reform Funding

Poor Sean Treglia. First, during a March 2004 presentation, he described his funding activities at the Pew grantsmaker on behalf of campaign finance reform as an effort "to create the appearance that a mass movement was afoot" so that Congress would approve McCain-Feingold. Then, the Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism his presentation, which was made to a group of journalists, posted his speech on the web for the world to watch.

So Ryan Sager of The New York Post watched it earlier this year and actually had the audacity to quote Treglia verbatim on how he conceived and directed a multi-year campaign by eight liberal foundations that cost more than $123 million on behalf of campaign finance reform. There ensued a Blogosphere swarm that reached into the MSM and made Treglia an unwilling hero of many on the Right who had suspected for years that liberal foundations were doing what he described them as doing.

But Treglia's liberal friends in the MSM and the foundation world weren't happy with his candor and now he is doing everything he can to shift attention away from what he said at the Knight Center to how he claims those evil bloggers have misrepresentated him. His latest effort to that end appeared recently as a letter to the editor of The Chronicles of Philanthropy as a response to an earlier article in that publication by the Hudson Institute's William Schambra.

Treglia should have known better than to try to bamboozle the world by throwing up smokescreens of revisionist history. In the Internet world, transparency and honesty are the price of admission and the essential prerequisite for retaining credibility. You can read my analysis from earlier this week here.

But better yet Winfield Myers of Democracy-Project.com today took up his cyber pen with a response to Treglia and it is well worth reading, if only to savor Myers delightfully sharp use of logic and metaphor. Just consider this graph:

"This attempt to cover his backsides, which area of his anatomy Mr. Treglia himself chose to expose, results in contortions that are as ineffective in achieving their desired end as they are painful to watch, or to imagine when transferred to anatomical metaphor.
"One almost concludes that these remarkable positions must result in -- or is it derive from? -- a flexibility or willingness to bend almost anything in order to achieve a desired end. Oh, to be a political cartoonist!"

You can read Myers' entire post here. Enjoy!

But wait, there's more. Treglia is a creative guy, so much so he even made up a quote he attributes to Sager, according to Sager on his Miscellaneous Objections blog. Sager, who writes for The New York Post and a regular column for Tech Central Station, fisked the Treglia letter to the Chronicles and noted the fictional quote:

"That last quote - 'I don’t have time for all that, I’m going with my story' - is simply made up. I was -- as I work at a daily newspaper -- of course under time pressure, and I may well have indicated as much to Treglia. But my editors and I were (and remain) fully confident that the story was accurate and well-sourced. The tape doesn’t lie."

Sager also points to the bottom line on Treglia and his present attempts to rewrite what he clearly said last year:

"For all of Treglia’s accusations, he can’t point to one fact wrong in the story. It’s his right to argue that I’m taking him out of context -- but I’m not, and I’ve long been inviting readers to watch the whole tape, which I provide on this Web site. "

By all means, do go back and watch the entire March 2004 Treglia presentation - again - and then make up your own mind which version of what he said is most like ... what he said.