The Mirror

Washington Post reporter falls for prank (and has no idea)

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
Font Size:


So it turns out if you want an autograph from a writer at The Washington Post, it’s not that simple. Hence the lengthy passage of time between the moment that Bertram Braunstein (a phony name for phone enthusiast and freelance journalist Evan Gahr) asked for and received an autograph from “reported” media blogger Erik Wemple, who helped run Allbritton-owned TBD into the ground.


The backstory…Gahr had been hot on the story of David DeJesus, a Post sales employee who is suing the paper for age and gender discrimination. So much so that for weeks he rang up Post employees such as Wemple, only to have them hang up on him or flat out ignore him on why they weren’t covering the lawsuit. He even punked famed Bob Woodward into signing one of his books and addressing the autograph to none other than David DeJesus.

Really, Wemple. You may want to start reading The Daily Caller, if for nothing else, to save you from needless embarrassment.

Gahr, still feeling the sting of being snubbed by these scribes, decided to screw with them by writing various reporters and asking for autographs on their books or blog posts. He waited approximately two months before getting the golden signature from Wemple. Of course, had Wemple googled a little, he might have known that “Braunstein” was playing a joke on him and his colleagues for being such uninformed tools on the subject of DeJesus.

It’s a joyous day. “Braunstein” has received the self-addressed stamped envelope he sent to Wemple in October. In the materials, the “reported” media blogger autographed his blog post to “David” as in David DeJesus and thanked him for reading the Erik Wemple blog and wished him a happy 2014. Seriously, are we kidding here? Could Wemple, who Gahr phoned and emailed relentlessly on the matter, really not put two and two together that this was Ghar messing with him?

Wemple told “Braunstein” he was sorry he took so long to autograph the blog post but that he had to get authorization before signing it. He wrote,  “Hi Bertram. Thanks so much for the request. We’re sorry to be so late w/ this, but I had to talk others into signing off on my signing this.” Gahr told The Mirror, “That is strange.” Other thoughts: “I should have done this from the start to get Wemple to write about David DeJesus,” he said. “I was naive to think I could get him to write about the lawsuit by arguing that his own standards and practices–like his previous items on lawsuits against Fox News and the New York Post–merited an item. On the other hand, he did manage to stay on the phone with me for an entire 3 minutes  before hanging up. That is about two minutes and 30 seconds longer than Marty Baron and Steven Mufson.”

But more importantly, since when does a Washington Post blogger need “authorization” to sign an autograph?

The Mirror blog reached out to The Erik Wemple Blog for comment. He wrote back, saying, “The authorization is nothing official and nothing relating to the Post. It was tongue-in-cheek and referring to talking to my wife about whether there was any identity-theft exposure to doing this. This request came to me months ago, and I sat on it because I didn’t really believe it. When it finally came to either tossing it or signing it, I chose the latter on the (off) chance that it was authentic. Whatever.”  Touchy, touchy.

See the signature and note below…

Wemple letter to Braunstein


Wemple autograph-2