This has been extraordinarily true in recent years, in which political attacks have grown increasingly vulgar and personal. Sadly, it is even truer when the candidate is a minority, a woman and/or a member of the LGBT community.
Often these attacks can be seen through and dismissed by all but the most hate-filled voters due to the source. Examples include the race-baiting by people and groups like Charlie Sykes, Mark Belling and Media Trackkkers.
Other times, it's not so easy to discern whether the source is credible or not.
A textbook example of this would be the case of Dr. Glen Barry.
Dr. Barry became known during the recall attempt of Scott Walker when he wrote an article sharing what was supposedly his experience as a fellow student of Walker's at Marquette University. It seemed so credible that even I fell for it.
But in light of recent revelations, I have redacted my post citing his article.
Dr. Barry also wrote another article about Representative-Elect Mark Pocan. This time, what he wrote included allegations which were much more severe and vulgar than anything he said about Walker. Basically, Barry accused Pocan of drunkenly bragging about going overseas to molest children.
When that article came out, as you might imagine, it created quite a stir.
I have recently learned that this is not the first time that Dr. Barry has made such vulgar and outlandish allegations.
In April 2012, Dr. Barry called the Madison Police Department to report that his estranged brother-in-law was threatening him. From the police report*, here are some of the most significant findings of their investigation:
- As with the Pocan story, Barry reported that he was getting drunk with his brother-in-law, when the brother-in-law allegedly bragged about being part of a sex club at his job.
- Barry repeatedly harassed his brother-in-law's children to tell them about their father's brothel and his adultery against their mother
- He ignored multiple requests from those children and police to stop harassing them.
- There are multiple accounts of Glenn battering his wife and child, one account of his arrest for it.
- The police had ongoing "concern" for the safety of Barry's wife.
- The police spent their time assessing the different accounts of his "stockpile" of weapons he was collecting for the apocalypse out of fear of his sister's family's safety.
- Barry reported being sexually molested as a child and that he had been in therapy.
- The police found no evidence of criminal activity on behalf of the brother in law.
- Barry had filed for a temporary restraining order against his brother-in-law, who reported he was willing to cooperate with, but Barry did not show at the court hearing.
Whatever the reason, I am glad to see that Dr. Barry was receiving help and hope that he is still receiving that help.
Given these stories and the common trend that they follow, I cannot help but wonder if Dr. Barry was in some way involved with the false accusations leveled against Representative-Elect Pocan's husband, with which Media Trackkkers ran wild.
I did not write this article to trash Dr. Barry. His credentials are more than impressive and he has done some really good things in his life, especially for the environment. But he also appears to be a troubled man who has been having significant problems over the last year. He's harmed his own reputation and doesn't need me piling it on.
Instead, I wanted to point out that when one sees a "huge" story like the ones Dr. Barry wrote, or that story of Walker's love child, don't immediately run with it, however tempting and tasty it might be to do so. If it proves to be false, like these stories did, you'll only end up hurting your argument and your reputation and, even worse, you'll end up hurting a lot of innocent people. If the story is true, it won't be diminished in the slightest if you take your time to make sure it is valid.
*I do have a copy of the police report, but have chosen not to make it public out of respect for the family of Dr. Barry and his sister's family.