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Etheridge video makers tipped off Big Government, but remained anonymous

Over the weekend Mike Flynn, the editor of Andrew Breitbart's Big Government Web site, got an e-mail promising him an explosive video of Rep. Bob Etheredge (D-N.C.).

"It said, we're students who were filming outside this Nancy Pelosi event," said Flynn, paraphrasing the initial news tip, "This congressman attacked us. You do whatever you want with it, we don't want attribution. We get anonymous video tips all of the time, and most of the time they don't amount to anything, but I saw this and knew it was a story."

Several outlets have falsely reported that the video "first appeared" at Big Government, which has given the false impression that Breitbart -- who's out of the country right now -- orchestrated it. Not so. After getting the link to the two-part video (filmed by two cameras, one of them grabbed by Etheredge), Big Government edited its own version and put it up with a commentary from Flynn. Neither Flynn nor anyone else at the Web site has heard from the self-described students since then, despite attempts to contact them and get more details -- especially in the wake of attacks from Democrats trying to discredit the video by calling the two unidentified men "trackers."

"They could be students who are trackers," Flynn said. "I don't think it matters. He's being asked whether he supports the leader of his party -- it's not like he's being called a baby killer or something. To react like that? I mean, who doesn't know not to do this stuff at this point."

By David Weigel  |  June 14, 2010; 3:47 PM ET
Categories:  Media  
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