Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has irrationally considered reporter Taylor Lorenz to be an enemy for a while now. Last year, for example, it cheered when Fox News host Tucker Carlson attacked her -- which led to threats against her by his rabid fans -- for doing a story on Carlson. And in an April 1 post, Alex Christy complained that MSNBC "blamed Fox News, Tucker Carlson, and Glenn Greenwald for online death threats and sexual harassment directed at female journalists, which included Washington Post tech columnist Taylor Lorenz tying such attacks to her PTSD, then gave Carlson a pass for his hate: "The point of Carlson’s segment wasn’t mocking Lorenz for being encountering the worst parts of the internet, but pointing out that she claims to be against harassment but, because she isn’t very good at her job, she ends up being what she claims oppose [sic]." Christy did eventually concede that Lorenz writing about things "doesn’t justify death threats or sexual harassment," but he won't admit Carlson helped incite those threats and harassment.
So when Lorenz wrote a Washington Post story exposing the woman behind the Twitter account Libs of TikTok -- which reposted videos from TikTok of LGBT people talking about things, which typically resulted in attacks and threats on the video subject by the account's followers -- the MRC was enraged. Kevin Tober kicked off the rage against Lorenz in an April 18 post for doing the simple reporterly act of seekoing comment from people and going to people's houses to interview them:
In a stunning act of hypocrisy, Washington Post columnist and technology reporter Taylor Lorenz who weeks ago cried on national television that people were harassing and threatening her online, reached out to Governor Ron DeSantis’s press secretary Christina Pushaw to help her expose the person behind the popular Twitter account “Libs of TikTok.”
Late Monday evening, Pushaw posted to Twitter an email from Lorenz seeking comment about her story " exposing the woman behind the ‘Libs of TikTok account.”
Amongst the predictable uproar on social media, The Babylonbee's social media manager posted from her Twitter account @Morganisawizard to reveal she has confirmation that not only has she reached out to Pushaw, but Lorenz also knocked on the door of a relative of the woman who runs Libs of TikTok, and has been calling numerous family members.
Because no MRC employee ever worked as an actual journalist, Tober clearly doesn't understand that seeking comment about a story and going to someone's house to interview them regarding a story is Journalism 101 -- which is why he huffed, "Needless to say, this is Orwellian stuff.
The next day, Nicholas Fondacaro lashed out at Lorenz for writing the story at all:
If you dare to expose the lunatics, groomers, and general extremists of the left (particularly those exposing it to kids) via the videos they themselves put out, The Washington Post and hypocritical malefactor Taylor Lorenz have declared Tuesday it’s okay to run down them, their family, and those on the periphery in an attempt to open them up to retaliation and life-threatening danger. They’ve effectively set the rules of engagement in the culture war in targeting and doxxing @LibsOfTikTok.
In a totally serious segment for MSNBC on April Fools’ Day, Lorenz cried crocodile tears about how she lived in fear of information about her getting on the internet. “You feel like any little piece of information that gets out on you will be used by the worst people on the internet to destroy your life and it's so isolating,” she said, claims she has “PTSD” and had “contemplated suicide.”
But that’s exactly what she wanted to happen to Libs Of TikTok account owner Chaya Raichik when she and The Post outed her identity to the world in a piece titled, “Meet the woman behind Libs of TikTok, secretly fueling the right’s outrage machine.” A piece packed with quotes from leftists from the ACLU and Media Matters who were eager to spit venom.
Fondacaro then tried to whitewash Raichik's intent in maliciously posting the videos with the goal of harassment:
The content shared by the account is just reposts of videos put out by the liberal teachers and activists themselves. The videos have illustrated how their enthusiastic subversion of parents and intense indoctrination of gender and political ideology. Essentially, it's provided examples of why Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill was needed.
But Lorenz takes issue with the truth being exposed to the world and frames it as just stoking “outrage” for the sake if the “right-wing” “machine”:
If Raichik was doing nothing malicious and hateful, there would be no reason for her to hide behind anonymity and no reason to complain she was outed.
Deliberately oblivious to the fact that Libs of TikTok has a mission to demnonize people Raichik hates, Fondacaro went on to rant:
Lorenz was out to demonize Libs Of TikTok and make an example of anyone even vaguely in the same orbit. Libs Of TikTok shared a Twitter message she received from an account with a similar name as her real one, in which Lorenz threatened to ruin their life if they don’t respond to her message. “You’ve been mentioned as the administrator of the ‘Libs of TikTok’ account … you’re being implicated as starting a hate campaign against LGBTQ people…” she wrote.
Actually, that's called reporting. If there are two Twitter accounts out there with similar names, Lorenz obviously wanted to make sure she had the right person. Again, that's reporting, not a "threat." (And Fondacaro identified no threat in Lorenz's message anyway.) Nevertbhess, he went on to rant:
Unironically, and without evidence, Lorenz tied the “popularity of Libs of TikTok” to purported doxing and execution calls of school officials. She also lamented the “chilling effect” caused by just reposting the videos that are already out there.
Libs Of TikTok seemed to have gone into hiding after Lorenz’s doxing. “Thankfully I’m currently holed up in a safe location. I’m confident we will get through this and come out even stronger,” she tweeted. “Words cannot express how appreciative I am of the support I’m receiving right now … Grateful for all the thoughts and prayers[.]”
Who's being unironic here? Fondacaro's sputtering rage -- which seemed to be on the verge of going violent -- is a perfect reason for Lorenz to go into hiding. And there are even more unhinged right-wingers than Fondacaro out there who would be happy to do personal harm to a reporter for commiting an act of journalism, and people could very well be inspired to act on the rage spewed by Fondacaro and his fellow right-wingers.
In another post that day, Alexander Hall baselessly called Lorenz an "infamous disgraced journalist" despite identifying nothing in her article that was incorrect. He went on to cite a couple of right-wingers (while not identifying them as such) attacking Lorenz over her story, counterfactually insisting that Libs of Tik Tok is merely an "innocuous content aggregator," despite the fact that Lorenz's article exposed Raichik's real-life homophobia.