Craig Medred, author of Palin: Hunting Devils in the Details, published in the Alaska Dispatch who used my website information out-of-context in order to "prove" Sarah Palin wrong about what she wrote in her book Going Rogue regarding Soapy Smith, is at it again. In my last post dated November 29, 2009 he said he was "done with me." I assumed he meant that he was finished with the correspondence. Since then I have received two more emails from him, of which I did not respond to.
I do not plan to respond to these two emails. As you can see he is either using tactics of confusion or is just totally confused himself as to what he originally wrote. However if there is something in the contents of these email that you, my readers, would like to hear a response from me about then I will be glad to oblige. Please feel free to ask me anything. Otherwise here are Mr. Medred's two emails.
From: Craig Medred, November 29, 2009
Dear Mr. Smith:
I have tried repeatedly to correct this, but I'm not going to say Soapy was murdered. Yes, I could have been more explicit in the attribution on the description taken from your website and added the statement that contrary to the historical record Soapy's great grandson believes he was murdered. I didn't think that would add much. Who cares what his great grandson believes? I linked to your site so people with an interest in the history might go beyond that simple statement to find some of the information you have collected. I now truly regret that decision. But if you believe "anyone reading" the Dispatch story came away with anything other than that Frank Reid shot Soapy Smith, you over estimate both the average reader and yourself. The only people who will come away with anything more than the simple fact stated above will be those who went to your website to read more, and I frankly don't know what they will come away with. Meanwhile, if you can figure out what my agenda is, please tell me. I don't know that I had one. I corrected a gross over-simplification that Soapy died in a shoot out with vigilantes. He died in a struggle over a gun that ended with shots being fired. That point everyone, including you, seems to agree on.
The inquest ruled the shooting was done by Frank Reid in self-defense, which legally absolves him of the label "vigilante." As to the rest, who knows, which is why I linked to your site, although I am now sad that I described the members of the committee as "vigilantes" at all. I'm surprised I'm not getting bombarded by e-mails from Frank Reid's great grandson for insinuating his hero great grandfather was hanging out with vigilantes. Now, with all of this said, I will add yet again that despite your insults as to my professionalism, character and God know's what else, your research still interests me enough that I would love to see you get some recognized body to do a mock retrial of Soapy. It would make a good story. And maybe it would result in the conclusion you are right and Soapy was murdered. Until then, though, it is what it is.
Meanwhile, if you truly believe this reference to your book in a lengthy story about errors in "Going Rogue" was part of some scheme concocted to "punish" you, all I can say is come to your senses man. If I wished to "punish" you, I'd find some more effective way than in a passing reference to your work in a story so long most people will, at best, skim it. More than that, though, why would I want to punish you? I don't even know you. I referenced your work as a source solely because of a desire to support Alaska authors and know, from the experience of friends of mine, how hard it is to sell books. I thought, at best, a reference in the story might help you sell a few, or at least one. I guess, now that I think about that act, it does make me guilty of having an "agenda," because that was indeed my agenda. Maybe what has followed is the effort of the God's to punish me for having an agenda, because Lord know's this had deteriorated into a nightmare of name-calling and accusations of a secret agenda to misrepresent your work. As I said before, if that were the case, why in heaven's name would I link to it? It's obvious you think I'm a rogue and a scoundrel, but for the second time, do you really think I am that big of a moron?
From: Craig Medred, November
Dear Mr. Smith:
You send me an e-mail accusing me of unprofessional conduct, and then someone else sends me a link to where you have been posting our private exchanges on a blog. Not that I mind.
In this day and age, I figure anything anyone does electronically is likely to pop up on the internet somewhere. But the professional protocol when you solicit information from people is to tell them they are, in effect, being interviewed. Or to go back and ask them if you can use their
e-mails. I've done this many times as a reporter. It's pretty easy to do. Most people have quickly agreed. So I'm going to presume the best-case scenario here and simply assume you didn't understand this nicety.
And if any of our exchanges help promote the book, good for ya! I'm always happy to see Alaskans sell books whether I agree with them or disagree with them, like them or dislike them. Frankly, the world needs more books and less of this instantaneous communication wherein people go off in a blink and start accusing others of all sorts of dastardly things in the heat of the moment.
As we should all know from the Soapy-Smith saga, the heat of the moment is a dangerous time. Bad decisions made in the heat of the moment are clearly the main things that got Soapy killed.
If you ever do get around to talking an impartial panel into considering your idea Soapy was murdered, call or e-mail. As I said before, I'd love to come cover it as a reporter, despite my believe the evidence just isn't there.
But then I could be wrong. It has happened before. I'm more than open to that idea. It's the nature of life.
P.S. Please feel free to post this wherever you post things.