Wiley strikes again

Wile(y) CoyoteReader “Wiley,” who as I’ve noted before has made a hobby of forwarding e-mail chain-letter disinformation to any news media address he can find, really stepped it up while I’ve been on vacation over the past 10 days – no fewer than 14 missives since last Sunday.

Again, he’s apparently miffed that I didn’t respond; here’s the message atop the latest, from yesterday afternoon:


Er, thanks for the shout-out, Wiley. This was the attachment:

Why was there no news coverage of this raid on the Arizona border???

Definitely NOT Jose wishing to come pick lettuce!!
This is exactly why we MUST support ARIZONA.

This seizure was just five days ago. Right on the Arizona border!

This is but one seizure that has taken place along the border over the past year. There have been many more like this. (but you won’t hear about it on media news.)

Not a mention on ABC – CBS – NBC – MSNBC – or CNN news!

These photos and reports come from a Spanish language news source.

Thank God for the border patrol and that they did not allow this to get in.

The attachment continued with a string of photos – too many to duplicate here, so I’ll just pick a few:

stash of assault rifles

Military caps and equipment were among the cache of weapons

It was a major asenal of weapons including grenade launchers.

You get the idea. Scary, huh?

But once again, Wiley leaped before he looked.
1.) The bust was made in Higueras, near Monterey – that’s about 70 miles from Texas, but almost 700 miles from Arizona.
2.) The bust was made by the Mexican Army, not the U.S. Border Patrol.
3.) It happened in May, not a few days ago.
4.) Newsweek reported the guns had actually come from the U.S., bought by a Mexican drug cartel. In fact, as U.S. newspapers have been reporting for years, the flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexico – not vice versa – has become a huge problem.

So again, Wiley has no clue. He’s eager to believe that illegal immigrants are ready to pour over the border, armed to the teeth, ready to take his job, his tax money, his home, whatever, but won’t lift a finger to find out that it’s just plain untrue.

James Poniewozik has a great piece on this syndrome in this week’s Time magazine. That seems to be behind a paywall, but he’d blogged on the topic earlier this month:

So what exactly is the media approach that would have dispelled the conspiracy theories? Ignoring them? Covering them wall-to-wall? I’m not sure either would have made a dent. When it comes to some politically charged controversies, many people simply live in a post-fact zone, in which the theoretical possibility of a wild conspiracy (that confirms their worst beliefs about their adversaries) trumps the extreme likelihood of its being false (which is no fun at all). And they have plenty of talkers willing to encourage them.

They’ve also constructed self-reinforcing belief fortresses, in which media debunking of their beliefs only serves to confirm them. Take this post, for instance. If you believe Obama was born in Kenya, you probably also think that here I am, a liberal member of the liberal mainstream media, trying to impress on you information to the benefit of our liberal President! Doesn’t the obvious untrustworthiness of the entire institution I serve delegitimize any “proof” I might offer you? Why would I be working so hard to convince you that you’re wrong if you weren’t right? Consider the source! What am I so afraid of? Etc.

I’m not sure whether I should continue blogging about Wiley’s wild rants, as I’m starting to think he’s non compos mentis, and it’s getting to be like beating a dead horse, anyway. I hate to see crap like this spread around unanswered, but I wonder if I’m just giving it a bigger forum by putting it out here and wasting my time besides. Thoughts, anyone?

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • John W

    I love the way conservatives have selectively turned “mainstream” into a dirty word, as in “mainstream media.” Although, yesterday, I heard GOP TX Senator Cornyn say Obama was not in touch with “mainstream America.” Gotta give conservatives the prize for word spin. Income tax on income from inheritance became a “death tax,” as though taxing income received for doing nothing is somehow worse than taxing income from wages and investments. “Liberal” became un-American. Democratic Party became “Democrat” party.

  • AJ

    @John W:
    Do you know what’s worst than “post-fact zone” zombies? Someone who don’t acknowledge & reflect on the “plank in their own eye” & partisan rhetoric zombies! As for Mr. Wiley…he’s audience is much bigger now that you’ve mused about it here. His audience would have been less than 9/10 of 1% of your readers.

  • Hilltopper


    “Wiley” seems to fall within the old saying: “They have their minds made up. Don’t confuse them with facts.”

  • Hilltopper


    I meant to answer this: “I hate to see crap like this spread around unanswered, but I wonder if I’m just giving it a bigger forum by putting it out here and wasting my time besides. Thoughts, anyone?”

    Ignore him/her. There are tons of false e-mail chains out there. E-mails are so easy to forward, one need put no thought into what to circulate in mass. Let it go. In fact, flag him/her as the spammer he/she is.

  • Elwood

    No one would ever have heard of Wiley if it weren’t for you Josh.

    Good job!

  • Josh Richman

    Clearly the crap Wiley forwards is reaching a wide audience, given the prevalence of these lies (and their debunkings) on the Internet. For me it’s been a struggle between wanting to face down the lies and wanting to ignore someone possibly desperately hungry for attention, even of a negative sort. But you’d know better than anyone else here that correcting falsehoods from anonymous, attention-seeking stone-throwers is my weakness, wouldn’t you Elwood? 😉

  • Elwood

    Re: #6

    Falsehoods are often in the eye of the beholder. And thanks for the ad hominem attack Josh.

    Sounds to me like the truth hurts.

    Keep us abreast of your TV career, won’t you?

  • rosa

    Alas, Josh. Rule # 10 of Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner cartoons is that “The audience’s sympathy must remain with the Coyote.”

  • Josh Richman

    Wow, as if you’re one to be complaining about ad hominem attacks, Elwood. What a laugh! You’ve proven my point perfectly with your patently absurd bestiality comments on the recent Prop. 8 posts; if the troll fits, wear it.

  • Elwood

    Bestiality is no more absurd than same sex “marriage”.

    I think you’re starting to get it, Josh!