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UPDATE 03/25/12, 11:57 a.m.: Someone claiming to be Matt Weaver sent the following email Sunday morning, with the subject “ceaste,” followed by a second one with essentially the same request:
Please *fix your statements. I am not, nor ever have been the editor of the koala. Thank you
Because of the Koalans’ penchant for using pseudonymous email addresses and using other students’ email identities, I offered to meet with the real Weaver and his attorney on the CSUSM campus for an interview — and to confirm the identity of the email’s sender. If the sender is not Weaver, the interview certainly won’t happen. If the sender is Weaver, the interview won’t happen unless Weaver gives up the Koala policy of demanding a 30-pack of beer in exchange for an interview. … I’d think the real Weaver is more concerned about his felony charges.
Curiouser and curiouser. Or more idiotic.
Last Friday afternoon, Matt Weaver, Cal State University San Marcos (CSUSM) student government candidate and editor of The Koala at San Marcos, a hate tabloid, was scheduled to appear at his first court hearing since his arrest March 15 for suspicion of election fraud, 10 counts of identity theft, and unlawful access to a computer or database. One might imagine Weaver in the days leading up to his court date, tearfully preparing with his parents and attorney to put his best foot forward, his faithful friends encouraging him to buck up and just get through it.
Instead, someone invested ill-spent time attempting to deny Weaver’s one-year-plus relationship with The Koala at San Marcos, which he helped launch in January 2011 and has edited since last September, possibly longer. Owned by George Lee Liddle III, a former University of California San Diego student, the for-profit tabloid has three editions, distributed at the three public university campuses in San Diego County. The edition Weaver helped launch at CSUSM is the newest.
The unknown someone, using an apparently pseudonymous “Chris SM email@example.com” contact, sent email messages to local media outlets with supposed evidence that Weaver had been framed for the Koala rap. Framed!!!
The message I received read:
Seems like Koala is finally dead!!! Let’s go after these frat boys who are responsible for rape and drugging women.
In light of all the drama, I heard this screenshot was leaked the same day as Weavers arrest. What do you think, I’m new to journalism, I could use a professionals advice?? I really don’t like the frat guys, they poke fun at us homesexuals.
Here’s a portion of what Chris SM indicated he/she sent to the Union-Tribune
I think I have a break through on a huge case. I have done a pretty thorough investigation and would like some help. Things arent adding up. … Curious about your feedback?
And the mystery person also sent something to a Channel 10 News assignment editor, among others.
The problem is, the attached screenshot could get someone in even more hot water, because it appears to be an ineptly manufactured Facebook page — using other students’ identities. The page layout is wrong, the cut-and-paste element borders are wrong, and the user image by the empty comment field would indicate that the student pictured was ratting on himself, along with his frat brothers.
The other problem is, Matt Weaver was pleased enough with his Koala involvement prior to his campaign and subsequent arrest to align himself with the tabloid in select settings, introducing himself as editor at the September 29, 2011 Koala meeting that he facilitated and being listed as a contact for a Koala fund-raiser on the tabloid’s Facebook event page.
Then, there’s The Koala at San Marcos Staff Phone List, retrieved in February 2011 from the business’ discussion board. This excerpt shows a MattW with Matt Weaver’s phone number as the first to sign on after GeorgeL, owner George Liddle. (Weaver’s brother Jeff also appears on the full list.)
If there were a vast “frat boy” conspiracy to “ruin” Weaver’s life, it would have been started at least as far back as December 2010, seemingly right under the nose of Liddle himself, who claims responsibility for recruiting Koala staff. Perhaps Liddle would like to deny Weaver’s affiliation with the business — and explain the dead ringer for Weaver showing up at Koala meetings on the CSUSM campus.
Or there isn’t a conspiracy, in which case Weaver can take responsibility for his own ruination.
Crossposted at The Progressive Post.
Kit-Bacon Gressitt's commentary and political fiction can be read on her blog Excuse Me, I'm Writing and is republished by SDGLN, The Ocean Beach Rag and The Progressive Post. She was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize while working for the North County Times. She is also host of Fallbrook's monthly Writers Read open mic and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.