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Another attempted hit job on conservatives

Mark Hemingway | But this time, a Washington Post article backfires

The Washington Post building in Washington, D.C. Associated Press/Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais (file)

Another attempted hit job on conservatives

Tuesday was a brutal day for corporate media in America. Spectator columnist Stephen Miller summed it up: “LibsofTikTok is alive and CNN+ is dead.”

Reports were circulating that CNN’s ballyhooed streaming service had already blown through $300 million in funding and was in the process of being shut down—almost as soon as it had launched.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post had published a remarkably vicious attack on the anonymous operator of a Twitter account known as Libs of TikTok that had gained prominence for highlighting the radical left-wing activism and sexual perversion some public school teachers are promoting in the classroom.

One of America’s preeminent newspapers attempted to take on a single private citizen with a Twitter account and found itself, rather than its target, humiliated for its effort.

The Post article didn’t just reveal the name of the anonymous operator of the account, it also included a link to the woman’s home address in Brooklyn, N.Y., before the newspaper removed it. The article was remarkably biased and leaned heavily on radically left-wing sources such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Media Matters to condemn and mischaracterize Libs of TikTok.

Tweets by Libs of TikTok did indeed result in professional consequences for several teachers across the country. But despite Post reporter Taylor Lorenz’s dishonest contention that her article was about “the harm done to average LGBTQ+ people,” she completely whitewashed the serious deviancy the Twitter account highlighted.

For instance, Lorenz reported, “On March 8, a Twitter account called Libs of TikTok posted a video of a woman teaching sex education to children in Kentucky, calling the woman in the video a ‘predator.’” She went on to lament that Fox News reported on the tweet.

At best, Lorenz’s article was a clumsy attempt to intimidate an effective critic of left-wing radicalism.

Lorenz did not mention that the woman in the video describes herself as a “magical pleasure worker” who works at “Sexy Summer Camp” for children in rural Kentucky. Topics covered by said summer camp include “lessons on ‘sex liberation,’ ‘gender exploration,’ ‘BDSM,’ ‘being a sex worker,’ ‘self-managed abortions,’ and ‘sexual activity while using licit and illicit drugs.’”

At best, Lorenz’s article was a clumsy attempt to intimidate an effective critic of left-wing radicalism. It’s not paranoia to say TikTok is a Chinese website aimed at amplifying radical messages to undermine America’s youth. To the extent America’s left-wing radicals are unwittingly playing a role in this, they’re afraid of being exposed. All Libs of TikTok did was repost what teachers themselves were saying publicly on TikTok. As one Twitter user put it, the outrage here is really about the fact that “the progressive left really doesn’t like their own beliefs and ideas to be leaked into the mainstream at a rate and in a manner they don’t control.”

The public blowback to the article was such that Post management issued a statement later in the day defending Lorenz as “an accomplished and diligent journalist,” which poured gasoline on the fire. It was bad enough that the Post was defending Lorenz, but the statement disingenuously claimed, “We did not publish or link to any details about [Libs of TikTok’s] personal life.”

Of course, the Post felt obligated to defend Lorenz, who left her previous employer, The New York Times, in a huff, making public complaints about the newspaper’s lack of support. Then, earlier this month, MSNBC interviewed Lorenz, who broke down in tears over the online harassment she had received—an act of startling hypocrisy, given her high-profile career has exposed people for petty reasons and held them up to needless ridicule.

As Lorenz rose to national prominence for her reporting on internet culture, she’s committed journalistic crimes too voluminous to quickly detail—you can watch a YouTube video detailing many of them. Suffice to say, this isn’t the first time Lorenz had revealed the personal details of someone online for purely political reasons. She once claimed a prominent Silicon Valley investor had used a slur when he had not, and she’s currently being sued for defamation.

“Taylor Lorenz’s rise is a proxy for death of U.S. media credibility,” observes Saagar Enjeti, host of the popular YouTube political show Breaking Points. “Everyone in the business privately admits she is out of control and yet they say nothing or defend in abstract. They are cowards and their inability to internally police is why they have no credibility.”

Not that long ago, a vendetta against a single private citizen being targeted by The Washington Post was something to be feared. But Libs of TikTok is alive and well—and America’s corporate media are now faced with an existential choice: They can continue foisting their radical politics on a public that no longer trusts them or they can save their credibility. They cannot do both.

Mark Hemingway

Mark Hemingway is a senior writer at RealClearInvestigations and the books editor at The Federalist. He was formerly a senior writer at The Weekly Standard, a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Examiner, and a staff writer at National Review. He is the recipient of a Robert Novak Journalism fellowship and was a two-time Global Prosperity Initiative Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He was a 2014 Lincoln Fellow of The Claremont Institute and a Eugene C. Pulliam Distinguished Fellow in Journalism at Hillsdale College in 2016. He is married to journalist and Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway, and they have two daughters.


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