Is Richard Grenell aware of the concept of unsubscribing?

Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

Popping up at Big Government, Richard Grenell has responded to our blog post highlighting his specious suggestion that the White House is specifically targeting federal employees with emails on health care reform. But he's still missing the point, and he still doesn't substantiate his claims.

Grenell writes that "Media Matters doesn't deny that the unsolicited emails have been sent but rather they defend the emails by saying, 'it appears they are sent out to everyone on the whitehouse.gov mailing list.' " Actually, while we haven't denied that the emails were sent -- since we know that those very same emails have been sent to people on the White House email list who aren't federal employees -- we reserved definitive judgment on whether the emails were sent "unsolicited," the key charge Grenell repeatedly makes.

However, Grenell has provided no evidence that these emails were, in fact, sent unsolicited to federal employees, beyond the claims of a pair of federal employees that they were. Meanwhile, the White House has responded to Grenell, in an editor's note attached to his CBSNews.com column in which he first made his accusation:

The White House is disputing a claim in this article that e-mails are being sent to people who don't want them. The communications director for the Office of Health Reform, Linda Douglass, said Grenell's assertions are "inaccurate."

"Emailed updates about health insurance reform legislation are sent periodically to members of the public who sign up to receive them. No one is sent unsolicited emails. Mr. Grenell would have learned this if he had called the White House to ask who receives the emails, but he did not contact us before writing. The assertions made in his column are inaccurate," Douglass said in a statement.

That's right -- the White House is saying that no one receives its emails unsolicited. Grenell has yet to respond to the White House statement.

Further, both of the White House emails Grenell attached to his blog post have one important little word at the end: "Unsubscribe." If these federal employees he cites are so offended by these White House emails, they can easily click on that "unsubscribe" link. Grenell offers no evidence they have done that.

Amazingly, Grenell still insists that the emails use "scare tactics that are clearly meant as threats." But if non-federal employees are receiving those same emails -- which Grenell does not deny -- that purported "threat" is obviously not directed at federal employees, as he keeps claiming. Or, if it is directed at federal employees, it's pretty dumb to send the same "threat" to everyone else on the White House email list.

Grenell is still peddling something he has yet to prove exists beyond paranoiac fantasies.

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Richard Grenell
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