ABCNews.com brought Mark Foley‘s boy-chasing to national attention, but it wasn’t the first website to flog the story. That dubious honor belongs to StopSexPredators, a pseudo-vigilante blog filled with plagiarized, hastily-assembled posts, which no one seems to have heard of, visited, or linked to before last week—and whose operator has a suspiciously savvy grasp of the news cycle.
In other words, a blog whose sole raison d’etre seems to have been to get the Foley ball rolling.
If its time/date stamps are to be trusted (like most free blogware, Blogger allows its users to backdate posts), the pervert-outing anony-site was set up on July 28 as a “clearing house for the public to report sex predators and as a resource for concerned citizens.”
One early post, headlined The Sickening Six, naming and shaming the “kinds of sick people who hunt minors for their own sick purposes,” is basically an amalgam of plagiarized entries from Crimelibrary, Wikipedia, and Answers.com. (Click here, here, and here, for examples.)
After running just six posts over the summer, the site picked up steam on September 21 when its author wrote, “the blog has been noticed and some shocking emails have been received!!!!” and posted four emails purportedly from “interns” outraged by the heretofore unmentioned Foley and his penchant for teenage boys.
(Of course, if these emails are legit, it means the “interns” somehow stumbled upon the blog, despite the fact that it had not yet been linked to by any other sites, and was virtually indetectible to Google, which ranks sites according to the number of incoming links.)
One “intern” wrote: