Lots of people are writing about the “whitey” video, but either surprisingly or not all the mainstream media sources have to say is that it’s the product of “rumors” on the “Internet.” Fortunately, since they are on the Internet you can link to them and find out more about them. I have informations! Let me show you them!
2. Johnson claims the video exists, but the information he’s given that would in an ideal world indicate that it does in fact exist have been disproven. (Eric Zorn writes that the rumors are “unsubstantiated.” I think we can safely go farther than that.) More colorfully you could say that the information has been cleaned, skinned, and fried.
3. Johnson’s response has been to lash out at anyone who has destroyed anything that he’s offered that looks remotely like proof of the video’s existence.
6. If I was an Important Journalist I would ensure that I had a shut-in lackey like myself who keeps up with these things. From the “news” accounts you probably wouldn’t guess that people on the Web–some irresponsible hippie amateur bloggers, some Real Journalists–have been eagerly trying to substantiate the video and have not only been unable to do so, they’ve actually done the opposite, tangibly disproven what has passed for actual proof.
7. In summary: there are rumors. The proffered substance of those rumors has been proven false. The aspects of those rumors which remain insubstantial have not subsequently been substantialed. Which means that the rumors themselves have not been fully disproven, but everything about the story save for a remaining handful of claims by one historically unreliable person (who keeps changing his story) has been disproven. And if we’re taking a show of hands (wisdom of the crowds, etc), even the people who really want the video to exist have so far been unable to wish it into existence.
8. All of this seems relevant to me, but I am stale and pedantic and clearly having a tough Friday, having seen my R. Kelly prognostication blow up in my face, so I would try to spin this into some kind of grand point about Teh Future of Newspapers but I am going to go get some coffee and let it make the clock run faster. To paraphrase Robert Christgau, dystopia is hard and I will flog you with it if I have to.