Back April, Eric Austin represented, on his OutstatePolitcs blog (which I am not linking to - no need to drive more traffic his way), a rumor as fact. This rumor was that Representative Mary Franson (R-11B) had an affair which subsequently led to her divorce. Rep. Franson, later confronted, Mr. Austin and recorded the conversation. A copy of the recording was emailed to me by an anonymous source. The source, was initially concerned about Austin's rather cavalier attitude toward the fact that a girl was being bullied as a direct result of his actions (more on that later) but I found several other things that were equally concerning.
The conversation starts at about the 30 second mark. The first thing that struck me was Austin's repeated insistence that he had "2 independent sources". He never indicates how these "independent sources" may have come by the information that he insists is true because he has "2 independent sources". He never claimed to have vetted anything the "2 independent sources" brought to him and when asked by Rep. Franson if he had bothered to ask either of the two primary sources (Rep. Franson or her husband), his answer was "I'm not going to contact your ex-husband". Let's face it, if ANYONE would know it would be Rep. Franson's ex and heaven knows, just about any cuckolded husband would be more than happy to get back at an unfaithful ex-wife by embarrassing her as publicly as she embarrassed him. Yet Austin can't be bothered to contact the supposed aggreived party. Could it be he refused to do so because he knows that what he posted was a flat out lie?
Then there is the point that Rep. Franson's daughter was being bullied as a direct result of his lies. His only response was to accuse Rep. Franson of being directly responsible for the bullying of gay teens. His logic is highly flawed. First off, there is the old adage that two wrongs don't make a right. Second, Rep. Franson had no direct action in these children being bullied. Her vote (on the marriage bill) had nothing to do with defining marriage and everything to do with letting the people of Minnesota decide what the definition of marriage. If Austin is so certain that his cause is right and just, why is he afraid of letting the voters validate it?
Austin's weak defense is even weaker when you realize that this man is a TEACHER! What happened to zero tolerance of bullying in the schools? Does Austin really believe that bullying is wrong, or does he believe it is OK to bully someone who does not agree with his political positions? Speaking of hypocritical Eric.....
Lefty-bloggers love to claim that they are "independent" journalists. However this is not journalism, Eric. What you posted IS slander and the post is all the evidence that Rep. Franson needs (should she be so inclined) to proceed with a civil complaint. Every day that you leave this up is one more day of rubbing the salt in the wound. Let the wound fester long enough and things could blow back on you.
Rumor mongering is not reporting and the more you engage in it, the less seriously people will take you. Sadly for Eric Austin, very few outside of his own little echo chamber, take him seriously. And with good cause.