Daily Beast‘s Lloyd Grove once dubbed Washington investigative journalist Evan Gahr a “D.C. gadfly.” In recent weeks he has truly lived up to his nickname by tricking the Washington Post‘s famed Bob Woodward into autographing one of his books for Bertram Braunstein, an alias he created for shenanigans such as this.
To say Gahr has been trying hard to get Washington Post reporters to cover the story of a lawsuit filed against the company by David DeJesus — a sales employee alleging age and race discrimination — is putting things mildly. Gahr, a freelancer, originally wrote his story for The Daily Caller. Ever since, he’s been
bugging the living shit out of reporters around town, needling them relentlessly about their refusal to cover the story and berating them for whatever they’re writing instead.
Needless to say, Gahr has been hung up on many, many times.
So he took things to the next level and mailed Woodward his book, State of Denial, to his Georgetown home and asked him to sign it for his friend: David DeJesus. “State of Denial, indeed,” joked Gahr, adding that he also mailed Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank a book to sign, but never heard back. “You have to be really pompous not to want to autograph your book for someone. So does Dana Milbank think he’s more important than Bob Woodward? Oh wait, he really is. It was Dana Milbank who broke the Watergate Story. In 1972 when he was four. He was a child prodigy.”
Others he wrote: Washington Post‘s Eugene Robinson, who never replied, and Erik Wemple and Paul Farhi. Gahr asked Wemple to autograph a printout of one of his blog posts.
Email exchange with Wemple
Subject: Your autograph
GAHR (a.k.a. BRAUNSTEIN): “My friend David is a big fan of your blog and just loves autographs. If I send you a printout of one of your posts, can you autograph it for him and mail it back to me? I will include a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Thanks. Bertram Braunstein.” (David is, of course, David DeJesus.)
WEMPLE: “OK, this has to be a joke. If it is not, then of course I will reply. The best course of action would be to mail it to me at Erik Wemple; Washington Post; 1150 15th Street, NW; Washington, D.C., 20071.”
Email exchange with Farhi
GAHR (a.k.a BRAUNSTEIN): “My friend David DeJesus just loves the Washington Post and he loves autographs. If I fax you a printout of one of his articles, can you autograph it and fax it back to me? I am trying to put together a whole bunch of articles by people at the Washington Post for him for his birthday.”
FARHI: “No, I can’t.”
BRAUNSTEIN: “Uh, actually, unless your hands are tied behind your back you CAN autograph your article, you just CHOOSE not to do it. You are a writer. You should write with more precision. You could never get the sentence ‘I can’t autograph this’ past any editor. Anyway, Bob Woodward was happy to autograph his book for my friend. Do you think you’re more important than Bob Woodward?”
FARHI: “My hands are certainly not tied behind my back. Yes, I CHOOSE not to. Thank you for the helpful editing.”
Guess what Washington Post reporters: you’ve been punk’d!