Richard Paolinelli

The Fading 15 Minutes of Jason Sanford’s Fame

Its been 36 hours – the same 36 hours DisCon III gave Toni Weiskopf before they dis-invited her, so that appears to be the standard for allowing a response – since I e-mailed Jason Sanford as well as the President and Trustees of the Ohio News Media Association regarding Sanford’s despicable, misogynistic, ableist, anti-Semitic hit piece against Weiskopf, a Jewish, single mother of a special needs child.

The response so far? No reply at all from anyone connected to ONMA.

Sanford blocked me without responding on Twitter after I asked him about the allegation that he’d had a manuscript rejected by Baen Books before the hit piece was written.

Curiously though, he did react and it doesn’t make him look any better. He issued a denial that he’d submitted a book to Baen. That wasn’t the allegation. A manuscript could be an article, a short story or even a book. Instead of saying “I have never submitted anything to Baen for publication”, which would have fully laid the question to rest, Sanford only says “book”. 

Within a few hours of my e-mail questioning his apparent lack of journalism experience to his employer, the ONMA’s website goes down sometime between 1 a.m. Sunday Morning and 6 a.m. Sunday morning. When it comes back online, only one thing is different – Mr. Sanford’s bio.

Where on Feb. 20th his bio mentions he is a science fiction writer – but makes no mention of any journalism experience – on Feb. 21st his bio suddenly no longer mentions his sci-fi credits, but does state he was “a newspaper journalist and editor.”

Curious. You would have thought the information regarding his journalism experience would have been mentioned in the first place – seeing as how he is employed by an association of actual journalists. And why is his sci-fi credits suddenly no longer important enough to be listed?

Regarding his newfound journalism experience, it would be nice to know where, and for how long, he worked as a journalist and editor? He does not list the newspapers he once worked for. I have every paper I worked for and when listed here. Why is Sanford unwilling to list his? Was there a reason his newspaper journalism days were cut short and he had to turn to communications employment instead? 

EDIT (6:30 p.m. EASTERN, Feb. 22) Mr. Sanford’s bio on the ONMA website has been changed again! Here is the newest version, which not only no longer includes the reference to his being a sci-fi author, but has removed the claim that he was once a newspaper journalist and editor. Now, why was this change made, I wonder?

I suspect there is an interesting story there, mainly owing to the several violations of journalistic ethics and standards Sanford has displayed in this sordid affair.

  • He failed to contact the subject of the story for comment.
  • He failed to post screenshots of the alleged “offensive comments” from Baen’s forum in his story until after he’d been called out on it over the weekend and only after the Forum has been taken down so no one can independently verify his screenshots have not been altered.
  • He refuses to properly defend his work, instead accusing any challengers to the accuracy of his story as “threatening him.”

Had he been in the field any length of time, he would have learned no matter how long you practice the profession, your work will always be challenged and you had damn well be ready to face it, defend your work and do so without being a crybaby soiboi about it. He also should know that when you run a story, especially one that would clearly unleash all sorts of hell, you’d better make sure you properly present said story with all the evidence to back it up the instant you go to press. Waiting several days to produce his “evidence” when it can no longer be verified is not journalism.

The ONMA is losing credibility with its membership every minute they refuse to respond to legitimate queries regard Mr. Sanford. They have sicced a lawyer on Matthew Hopkins, who is doing a wonderful job of holding Sanford’s and the ONMA’s feet to the fire on his website – http://matthewhopkinsnews.com/ – only to discover Matt is an accomplished lawyer who sprinkles other lawyer on his breakfast cereal every morning. When that failed, they sicced the Wokian Horde on him to get his website taken down. I think Matt’s web provider is still laughing at them.

As for Sanford himself, his 15 minutes are almost up. He was an unknown writer before this and even with the publicity he’s received from his hit piece, most of his books sit in the 2.4 million range on Amazon. He has two books running between 590k and 1.1 million – which means he sold 1 copy of those two books at some point during the last week and no copies of all of the others. 

How adorable. My latest book, Galen’s Way, comes out tomorrow and its already at 50,000 in the rankings. And that’s just the e-books. Because I am not using Amazon to print or sell the hardcover and paperback editions, that number really should be even higher.

So if Sanford was hoping to use the publicity to jumpstart his non-existent fiction writing well he’s going to be disappointed. At best he’ll get a Hugo nomination for Best Related Work next year. He’ll probably win, just like Jeanette Ng did after she trashed a dead man’s reputation in 2019, and then fade away to obscurity. Ng has one book to her credit, written in 2017.

I hope he plans on remaining with ONMA for the rest of his professional life. I cannot imagine any reputable agency or news organization that would take him on after this ugly affair. Doubt me? Remember another Jason who played fast and loose with the ethical rules of journalism? His name was Jason Blair and in 2003 he was a writer for the NY Times with a bright future ahead of him.

Then the plagiarism and the false stories were uncovered. Have you heard from Mr. Blair since? Aside from a biography in which he tried to blame his crimes against the profession on other things besides himself, he hasn’t written a thing.

That is the path Mr. Sanford has chosen for himself and there is no rehabilitating himself enough to ever land a job for any news organization. How could they risk it? The first time he screws up and gets his paper sued they will have no defense. His previous history has been displayed for the world to see. He’s done it once, the plaintiff’s attorney will point out to the jury, and his employer knew.

So I hope Mr. Sanford enjoys the accolades he is getting from the lowlife sewage that unfortunately has permeated the world of SF/F. In the end, that’s all he’ll get out of this and they will discard him like a hot rock the instant the next Ng/Sanford assassin arrives on the scene and forget about him just as quickly.

DisCon III is also feeling Karma’s wrath. The hotel they had booked for their dying convention went bankrupt and is not returning what was sure to be a hefty deposit. They are scrambling for a second venue but are having trouble getting it. Assuming that is, that COVID restrictions are relaxed enough and all of D.C. hasn’t turned into an armed fortress – instead of just the Capitol area – by then.

As for Toni Weiskopf and Baen, they will weather this storm just fine. They are selling even more books than before and will continue to do so long after the Sanford’s of this world are a distant memory.

What do you know, the good guys win and the bad guys rot in the stench of their own sewage.

Now that’s what a call a perfect ending to this story. 

2 thoughts on “The Fading 15 Minutes of Jason Sanford’s Fame”

  1. It was so obvious, I almost didn’t think about it. Sanford’s Wikipedia page has his writing and editing experience. Nothing about journalism, and even though he says he’s an ex-Archeologist, there’s almost nothing about that either. There’s more about the two years he spent with the Peace Corps in Thailand teaching English. Anyway, you can read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jason_Sanford. Oh, his novella “Sublimation Angels” was a finalist for the 2010 Nebula Award for Best Novella so he’s not super duper obscure.

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