In the era of anonymous Internet publishing, it can be difficult to determine who said what — and who didn’t. Just ask David Kaiser, a history professor at the Naval War College, who has struggled to dispel rumors that he authored a tempestuous anti-Obama rant (including, in the tradition of all political rants, a Hitler comparison) that went viral last week.
Mr. Kaiser clarified the attribution error on his blog this week, but has had little luck finding out who is responsible for propagating the rumor that he wrote the diatribe. He said another David Kaiser in academe — a scientist for an unnamed “well-known university” — has also received mail about the rant. “I have queried at least half a dozen of his and my ‘fans’ asking them who sent the article to them, in an effort to start tracing the fraud back to its source,” he wrote Monday, “but that seems to be a fruitless endeavor — only a couple have replied, and in both cases the trail immediately went cold.”
Mr. Kaiser wrote that he has been more amused than anything over the matter. “I suppose it’s another indication of the world that we are living in that, after a remarkably steady readership of about 800 readers a week for the last few years, the hits could have increased by about 40 percent thanks to my association with right-wing paranoia. … Crisis eras bring crazies out of the woodwork.” –Steve Kolowich