Here’s a photo, taken two years ago, of Ohio State University student Meredith Chan obviously having spring-break fun during her freshman year posing as a good-time girl in her bikini and tank-top in a beach apartment. Here and here are a couple more photos of Chan and her roomies in similar silly poses. Just nice college kids goofing around on a rainy day, right? 

And here’s a photo of another female college student in Ohio, Ashley Herzog of Ohio University. Herzog attended the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this year, and got to pose there with blogstress/columnist Michelle Malkin, who was one of the speakers.

Flash forward to a couple of weeks ago, to this column by Michelle on the recent sad decline of singer Charlotte Church, who once prided herself on her lovely religious arias and her rosary blessed by the pope:

“The 20-year-old entertainer has rebelled against the wholesome image that brought her fame, fortune and worldwide respect as a rare role model for young girls. She has traded in ‘Pie Jesu’ for ‘Crazy Chick'” – a lousy pop anthem even Ashlee Simpson wouldn’t be caught performing. Charlotte’s gone from pure-hearted to pure cr–. These days, she drinks, she smokes, she curses, she fights, she parties, and she tries very, very hard to shock and offend – like a trashier Lindsay Lohan, only with better pipes.

“The corruption of Charlotte Church is a sorry little sign of how innocence and grace have lost their mass appeal – even as parents claim to want age-appropriate role models for their daughters. A survey of 1,010 mothers with daughters 4 to 9 years old, released this week, reported that 90 percent of the moms ‘believe there are not enough wholesome role models, celebrities, characters and brands for young girls to emulate.’ Some 85 percent of those polled said they are ‘tired of the ‘sexpot’ dolls/characters’ currently available.

“They say that – and yet, the doll market is clogged with best-selling Bratz babies in thongs and Barbies with bling.”

Them’s fighting words in the land of the left, where sluts are deemed “transgressive” heroines of free expression, and the “right” to have sex early and often with anyone who comes down the pike is a key clause in the constitution of “third-wave” feminism. Furthermore, Michelle is loathed by leftist bloggers, who regularly trade in obscene and racist jokes about her that these same lefties would never cease denouncing if they were made on the right about, oh, say, Charlotte Church.

First to crawl out from under his rock was Malkin mortal enemy Eric Muller, a law professor (!) at the University of North Carolina, who once went so far as to stay up for 36 hours tracking her blog posts and their points of origin in an effort to prove that someone else was ghost-writing them for her. Even Muller’s allies on the left deemed this act of virtual stalking “creepy.”

Muller posted this photo on his blog. A scream, no? Check the tiny head. And the tiny refrigerator (Michelle is 5’1″).

And the clearly fake date-stamp: “03/27/1992”–as with Microsoft Word on Dan Rather’s IBM Selectric typewriter, I don’t think you could post a photo on a computer back then. But poor legal-eagle Muller has clearly put in so many all-nighters tracking Michelle on her blog that he forgot how to spell the word “Photoshop.” He wrote this:

“With no further ado, I give you: Michelle Malkin, Spring Break, March 27, 1992. Could that be an all-you-can-drink wristband?

“Here, incidentally, is the flickr page where the photo appears. Somebody forwarded it to me a couple of months ago. I chortled. Then I forgot about it — until today, that is, when her vicious hatchet job on a ‘half-naked’ twenty-year-old ‘skank’ brought it to mind.”

Aside from the question of whether a wearing a bikini bathing suit at the beach (and a pretty modest one, as bikinis go) is the same as dressing up like this for your boyfriend or letting yourself go like this and this, what exactly was Muller’s point? Oh, “hypocrisy.” You see, you’re not supposed to protest someone ho-esque image if you yourself have ever, ever in your life worn a two-piece bathing suit while on vacation at the ocean.

Oh, and do check that page that purports to be posted by one “yeowoman1970” just this July. Why there’s Ashley Herzog, in many a photo! And there’s another photo, also bearing an “03/27/1992” date stamp, of Herzog cavorting with–who? Another Michelle-head? How fashion-forward of Herzog to be wearing hip-hugger jeans some 14 years ago when no one had ever heard of them. And there’s that CPAC photo from last year of Herzog and Michelle again. Lucky Herzog–she hasn’t aged a day in a decade and a half.

Immediately after Muller put up his post, Wonkette (now the creepy and un-funny Alex Pareene) followed suit with the same bikini photo, beating the same hypocrisy drum:

“Malkin doesn’t like these young sluts flashing their skin like the basic Whore of Babylon.

“If legit — and the resemblance is certainly there — this 1992 shot would put Malkin at a nubile 21, perhaps while still at Oberlin and dreaming of future Fox News stardom. We’re going to assume that yellow band on her right wrist was issued by a liquor-serving public house of some description, and that this candid scenario predicated at least a little second-base action for the photographer.”

It’s not a string bikini (Alex, you need to get out more), but Wonkette’s sister site Gawker picked up the meme:

“And yet … there appears to be a picture of Malkin doing the ‘Girls Gone Wild’ semi-boob flash, while cavorting about in a string bikini like a common hussy, from 1992!”

And when Michelle sent Gawker’s Ken Layne and Wonkette a couple of e-mails pointing out that the pic was an obvious and crude piece of fauxtography, Layne responded wittily:

“The story so far: Malkin is apparently claiming the all-but-naked picture of her is somehow ‘photoshopped,’ whatever that means. Sure it is, Michelle, sure it is.”

And both sites’ commenters added yards of the usual racist and obscene cracks about Michelle that pass for humor on the left.

I guess they hoped the story would end there–except that both Meredith Chan and Ashley Herzog have come forward to protest the use of their pictures as slander-fodder. Remember that both of these young women are still in college, a little young (Chan couldn’t have been older than 19) to be made a butt of off-color sarcasm just because they posted some innocent pictures of themselves on the internet–although dragging innocent young women through the mud isn’t the kind of thing that bothers the left. Chan was particularly upset that a photo of her body was being circulated around the web.

And now Ashley Herzog, who’s no fool and wields a mean pen, has written a scathing column of her own about the incident on Town Hall. You may read the whole thing on Michelle’s blog, but here are some salient excerpts:

“Whoever made the photo page apparently wasn’t content to insult Malkin, an Asian woman, with racial slurs – a popular activity among her critics. Instead, they aimed to expose her as a hypocrite. Using pictures stolen from various accounts, including mine, the creator wrote captions to imply that I had had been a classmate of Malkin’s at Oberlin College in the early 90s – and that she was anything but a moralist back then.

“By the time I discovered the hoax, liberal blogs were already hard at work smearing Malkin as a ‘slut,’ ‘hussy,’ and ‘b-tch.’

“I was shocked as I scrolled through posts and reader comments about my pictures, some of them photoshopped or falsely labeled as pictures of Malkin. Racist jokes and sexual denigration were common themes.

“Beneath a picture of me with a close friend from high school, someone had written, ‘She looks so happy back then…I wonder what made her become such a bitch? Maybe her grandma never sent her a care pack of adobo and lumpia shanghai.”

“When someone commented that the photo of Malkin in a skimpy bikini appeared to be photoshopped, a reader responded, ‘A too small head on Malkin’s body doesn’t mean it’s Photoshopped. It just means that she has to put in the extra effort when she gives b— j–s'” The malicious posts did not appear on obscure blogs serving the political fringe. In fact, the most aggressive attacks came from a law professor at the University of North Carolina and a blog conglomerate valued at $76 million. Despite Malkin’s insistence that the photo site was an obvious forgery, the blogs continued to deride her as a hypocrite and, above all, a ‘skank’…

“Gawker and its ilk appear willing to perpetuate bald-faced lies in order to advance an agenda. And they don’t mind taking a few innocent college girls along for the ride.”

But don’t hold your breath waiting for an apology.