In a shocking display of online rudeness unmatched since the time Ari Fleischer told Helen Thomas “Tits or GTFO,” Buzzfeed reports that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s occasionally-poetic* press aide, Philippe Reines, got into an email pissing match with Buzzfeed reporter Michael Hastings. The flame war evidently started in a heated discussion of
Call of Duty: Black Ops CNN’s handling of the diary of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, which its reporters found in the debris of the US Consulate in Libya, and then escalated into an exchange of very undiplomatic language between the reporter and the press aide. The messages start off relatively civil, if prickly:
Hastings: Why didn’t the State Department search the consulate and find AMB Steven’s diary first?… Your statement on CNN sounded pretty defensive–do you think it’s the media’s responsibility to help secure State Department assets overseas after they’ve been attacked?
Reines: Good morning Michael
…As far as the tone of my email, I think you’re misreading mine as much as I’m misreading yours as being needlessly antagonistic…
Your question seems to imply they have none and any expectation of responsible behavior is too much to ask. To be specific: I believe CNN had the responsibility to act as human beings and be sensitive to their loss when they first approached the family…
And then, the brutal honesty / passive-aggressive sniping (in the aftermath of a well-regarded ambassador’s death, from Reines’ perspective, and a whole lot of hasty State Department message-juggling, from Hastings’ POV) starts to kicks in:
Hastings: Thanks for getting back to me. No, you read my email correctly–I found your statement to CNN offensive.
From my perspective, the scandal here is that the State Department had such inadequate security procedures in place that four Americans were killed….
Reines: Why do you bother to ask questions you’ve already decided you know the answers to?
Hastings: Why don’t you give answers that aren’t bullshit for a change?
Reines: I now understand why the official investigation by the Department of the Defense as reported by The Army Times The Washington Post concluded beyond a doubt that you’re an unmitigated asshole.
How’s that for a non-bullshit response?
Now that we’ve gotten that out of our systems, have a good day.
And by good day, I mean Fuck Off
Hastings: Hah–I now understand what women say about you, too! Any new complaints against you lately?
Reines: Talk about bullshit – answer me this: Do you only traffic in lies, or are you on the ground floor of creating them?
And since Fuck Off wasn’t clear enough, I’m done with you. Inside of 5 minutes when I can log into my desktop, you’ll be designated as Junk Mail.
Have a good life Michael.
Hastings: I’ll take that as a non-denial denial.
All the best,
Or perhaps this is more a case of Epic Butthurt. Our NFL scab referees are still reviewing the tape.
*UPDATE: Nice catch, Chet Kincaid!