Paladino, Higgins, and McCarthy

In an article that appeared in Sunday’s Buffalo News, Congressman Brian Higgins and his cousin-by-marriage Carl Paladino exchanged metaphorical f*ck yous. Frankly, it’s hardly news that a Democratic politician is at odds with opportunistic tea party figurehead Carl Paladino. 

But in Bob McCarthy’s article, it was revealed that the rift became irreparable after Chris Smith, Marc Odien, and I reported on Paladino’s happy forwarding of ugly racist and pornographic text and images to political figures and developers around the region

Release of the emails

Paladino’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign seemed doomed after a Buffalo website revealed his practice of emailing racist and pornographic jokes to friends.

At the time, Caputo (who has since broken with Paladino) told reporters he had been approached by a Higgins “emissary” who promised “everything would come out” if Paladino ran for governor.

Though he sent jokes to many friends on his email list, Paladino then and now blames Higgins’ staff for the leak.

“That was the end,” Paladino says now. “I knew he did it. And it only caused more anguish in the family than we already had.”

Typical narcissistic tween stuff, that. Paladino doesn’t blame himself for sending out images using the word “nigger” or showing the President of the United States and his wife as a pimp and whore – it’s someone else’s fault that he got found out, causing “anguish” to his family.  Had he kept his racism and pornography to himself, Mr. Paladino could have saved his own family all that “anguish”. 

[Rus] Thompson said the Paladino campaign engaged investigators to track the email trail.

“So we know where it came from,” he said.

I publicly challenge Rus Thompson – Paladino’s driver and errand-boy – to release the “investigation” that “tracked” the email trail. I would like to see proof in some form to back up what he’s talking about. Does Rus really think, for instance, that if he forwards one particular chain e-mail that Microsoft and Bill Gates will pay him money

Higgins denies that he or his staff leaked the emails, pointing out that Paladino’s email list included dozens of people who could have released the jokes.

Here’s a question – at any point do you think that the Buffalo News’ Bob McCarthy contacted Chris Smith, Marc Odien, or me to ask us to confirm or deny whether we received the Paladino emails from Brian Higgins or his people? Do you think that the author of this article made the effort to take to Facebook, Twitter, this blog, Artvoice,, or asked one of his colleagues for our numbers to see what we had to say about this particular matter? 

At no time did McCarthy ask the people who published the emails where they came from, or whether they came from a Higgins source. Think about it – the emails were sent to a long string of people. They were not secret – many, many people knew about them and former campaign manager Michael Caputo has stated that he knew about the emails, that he knew they were an issue, and that they focus-grouped them, finding that the racist ones were particularly problematic. 

When your campaign knows that the emails are an issue, and that any one of the recipients – or the recipients’ recipients – could have leaked them to the press, pointing the finger at the local Congressman who disagrees with your conclusion that Obamacare is worse than 9/11, to maintain a feud over them is idiotic. 

In the end, Carl Paladino is unable and unwilling to acknowledge that his own behavior is his own fault. These are things that normal people learn before they enter middle school. And journalists learn to check their sources – if Paladino and Rus Thompson say they know how the emails got to Chris, Marc, and me, you should probably check with one of us. 


  • McCarthy’s article wasn’t about you, and didn’t mention you.  That is probably why he didn’t contact you.  The article is about the animosity between Higgins and Paladino.  McCarthy didn’t state Higgins supplied the emails, he stated that Paladino believes Higgins supplied the emails.  That fact is germaine, obviously Paladino’s beliefs figure into the animosity.  It is not McCarthy’s responsibility to verify the facts behind someone’s state of mind.  Even if he did contact you regarding the source, it doesn’t change the story.  If you’re really concerned, I would think that you would contact Paladino directly with your “proof”.  If credible, that would set the record straight.

    • McCarthy allowed the article to infer that it was at least a possibility that Higgins forwarded the emails to WNY  That he could have proved or disproved Paladino’s claim with a simple email or phone call just further underscores McCarthy’s complete lack of journalistic credibility.

    • This is analogous to an article on Nixon complaining about Watergate without mentioning the Washington Post.

      I didn’t know that Barstool Bob moonlighted as Steno Steve.

    • 1. Never said the article was about me, or should have mentioned me. 

      2. McCarthy didn’t contact me despite the fact that he transcribed some lie that Carl and Rus told him about a nonexistent “investigation” into who sent them to me. 

      3. As a journalist, McCarthy should have come to one of us 3 from WNYMedia and simply asked, did you get the emails from Higgins? It seems like the reasonable thing to do when a statement of fact is made on the issue. 

  • tonyintonawanda

    I’ll play along.  Alan, did Congressman Higgins or his staff forward you Paladino’s emails?  I’d really like to know.  Thank you.

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