Newspaper Fooled by 'Nazi' Claim at Conservative Rally
The man, who calls himself both Rick Renage and Rick Regado, emailed a reporter for the Danbury News-Times that three busloads of Grey Wolves would show up wearing "black pants, black boots, red sox with black jackets and the swastika branded on the back." The purpose of his email was to tarnish the reputation of those rallying, and hopefully diminish their influence.
The News-Times believed the email and reported it, causing the city of Danbury to withdraw the permit for the rally.
When realizing his prank had actually worked, the man contacted the police and the newspaper to apologize.
Reports the News-Times:
The man described himself as "a liberal, a Democrat and a Christian. It's hard to be all three nowadays."
After reading about the rally, he said, he became incensed.
"I'm sick of people mixing politics with Christianity and Christianity with politics," he said. "I have very strong convictions about the separation of church and state. These people want to create a theocracy."
As a prank, he said, he e-mailed the paper about the Grey Wolves. "I'm an idiot," he said. "Sometimes I do things that just don't make sense."
Mark Potok, a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center that tracks hate groups in America, says often hate groups "end up being one guy, his computer and his dog." Why tarnish the dog?
Potok also says there are others who "claim to be Nazis, but are Jewish or gays – the type of people the Nazis would have killed. But I have to say, in 10 years of doing this work, this is a first for me."
The paper says that through the police he called the News-Times to apologize to reporter Elizabeth Putnam and to the whole paper. "I read it all the time," he said. "It's a great paper."
Especially after they are eager to run unsubstantiated claims that fulfill the liberal fantasy of conservative=Nazi.