The MRC Attacks Facts -- And Those Who Report Them
When the Washington Post's Taylor Lorenz exposed the person behind the anti-LGBT Libs of TikTok Twitter account, the Media Research Center not only lashed out at Lorenz for telling the truth, it defended the hateful woman behind the account.
By Terry Krepel
In the statement in question, The Times claimed “Tucker Carlson opened his show last night by attacking a journalist” and described it as “a calculated and cruel tactic, which he regularly deploys to unleash a wave of harassment and vitriol at his intended target.”
So Carlson -- and, thus, Fondacaro -- doesn't think that doxxing reporters and sending them death threats because they didn't like something that was reported constitute "harassment"? Interesting.
Jeffrey Lord tried on pile on in a post a couple days later with more blame-the-victim ranting: "One doesn’t know whether to laugh at the ridiculous Lorenz tweet or The Times statement. It is The Times itself, not to mention all manner of left-wing television and print/Internet outlets that routinely 'unleash a wave of harassment and vitriol' at Tucker. The Times loves to write articles reporting on Tucker advertisers who have been intimidated by leftists into leaving. It has outright lied in saying that he 'derides immigrants.' On and on go the attacks. Even on his home, with his wife quivering inside." He concluding by spouting a right-wing talking point: that this episode proves "the American left - in particular The New York Times - wants to silence conservative media. Period and for good."
Then, in a post a couple days after that, Donovan Newkirk pretended the undisputed claim that Carlson attacks journalists isn't true. When a CNN analyst noted that "when Tucker Carlson puts you on his target board, people throw out crazy threats and death threats", he sneered in response: "Apparently stating someone’s name more than once in a sentence constitutes endangering the welfare of 'a lot' of people."
It seems that the MRC would be quite happy if a deranged Tucker fan followed through on threats and harmed a reporter Tucker targeted.
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 backhandedly concede that Lorenz writing about things "doesn’t justify death threats or sexual harassment," but he wouldn't admit that Carlson helped incite those threats and harassment.
So when Lorenz wrote a Washington Post story in April 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 seeking 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.”
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.
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.
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 demonize 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.) Nevertheless, 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.
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 committing 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 TikTok is merely an "innocuous content aggregator," despite the fact that Lorenz's article exposed Raichik's real-life homophobia.
The rage increases
The MRC's rage was just getting warmed up. Fondacaro howled that the Post defended Lorenz's story:
In a statement penned Tuesday, Washington Post senior managing editor Cameron Barr stepped up to defend hypocritical malefactor Taylor Lorenz after she doxed the owner of the Libs of TikTok Twitter account, including her identity and address, all because she exposed the lunatics, groomers, and general extremists of the left. And rightfully, there was a great public outcry against the paper.
In fact, Lorenz doxxed nobody. Raichik's personal information was found on publicly available websites; a link to one of them was quickly deleted. Fondacaro then demonstrated his ignorance of how journalism works by portraying standard reporting methods like going to someone's house and talking to them or confirming someone's identity as a threat:
Lorenz even bragged about harassing her target’s family at their homes. “A woman at the address listed to Raichik’s name in Los Angeles declined to identify herself. On Monday night, a tweet from Glenn Greenwald confirmed the house that was visited belonged to [Chaya] Raichik’s family,” she wrote.
Fondacaro then gloated that Lorenz was feeling "reap what you sow" by noting that people (like Fondacaro) angry with her story were engaged in actual doxxing of her, her family and "any random friend I've tagged" on Instagram.
Tim Graham's April 20 podcast lashed out at Lorenz as well, whining that she and the Post are part of a "left-wing outrage machine" for exposing Raichik, whining that the story is a "very one-sided pile of propaganda, loaded with LGBTQ media monitors and ACLU activists" and insisting that all Libs of TikTok does is posts videos of LGBTQ people "obviously proselytizing and propagandizing" and who are feeding their children "gender identify propaganda." Graham repeated the MRC talking point that Lorenz doxxed Raichik, and ranted that Lorenz engaged in basic reporting behavior: "Talyor Lorenz was not Woodward and Bernstein.... Look, a lot of people don't like it. They don't like a reporter coming and knocking on your door."
Graham then played whataboutism, huffing that the Post felt it "simply must rip the veil of anonymity from a popular Twitter account when the Washington Post, for the last few decades, has lived and thrived on anonymous sources that get to establish narratives and feed that left-wing outrage machine without anyone knowing who they are."
Fondacaro returned to lash out at frequent MRC target Brian Stelter, complaining that the CNN host "refused to address the 'roiling debate' and 'ethics' of the Washington Post and hypocritical malefactor Taylor Lorenz releasing the name and address of the Libs of TikTok account owner. Instead, he brought on a radical liberal teacher to rail against the account and concerned parents." Rob Shimshock accused the Internet Archive of allegedly having "apparently excluded from its database screenshots of the Twitter account of Washington Post columnist Taylor Lorenz, after Lorenz doxxed the identity and location of an individual who poked fun at leftists on Twitter." Yes apparently destroying people's lives by posting out-of-context clips of them is merely "poking fun" in the eyes of the MRC.
P.J. Gladnick, meanwhile, fixated on doxxing semantics:
The Atlantic magazine has come up with a creative but laughable way to defend the extreme doxxing by Washington Post writer Taylor Lorenz, who once was a staff writer at their periodical. Their tactic is to broaden the definition of "doxxing" to make it fluid enough to serve the purposes of liberals. Therefore, according to the Atlantic's semantics game, what the Libs of Tik Tok did by presenting unedited videos uploaded by liberals to the very public TikTok platform was somehow "doxxing;" but when Lorenz exposed the name and other personal information of the creator of Libs of TikTok that wasn't really doxxing at all.
Gladnick didn't explain what was "extreme" about Lorenz's "doxxing"; he also didn't rebut the Atlantic writer;'s argument that "Raichik’s identity is in the public interest, given the account’s political goals; it was also easily discovered via a domain-registration website." Instead, he complained about the argument that Raichik was guilty of doxxing by posting videos of people she hated for purposes of ridicule and harassment: "Creative definitions of 'doxxing' make Libs of TikTok guilty of that practice while Lorenz gets a free pass if you so desire thanks to very convenient semantic tricks."
Kevin Tober was still whining about the whole doxxing thing in an April 24 post, nearly a week after Lorenz's story came out, seeking any excuse to heap ever more abuse on Lorenz:
On Sunday, leftist sleazebag and professional victim Taylor Lorenz of The Washington Post appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources to double down on her lie that she never doxxed the woman behind the popular Twitter account Libs of TikTok. Which is a bald-faced lie.
Tober did not dispute Lorenz's depiction of Libs of TikTok and its mission. Still the whining continued:
Lorenz’s next denial was claiming that she “absolutely did not reveal any personal information” about Raichik and thumbed her nose at critics by claiming “reporting practices can seem foreign to people that are not familiar with journalism.”
Again: Her address was only in a link, not in the article, and the link -- to publicly available information -- was dropped shortly after the article was posted.
Nowhere in these posts did the MRC mention that Raichik deleted thousands of posts from the Libs of TikTok account before and after her identify was revealed, and that more of her homophobia was revealed in falsely smearing the suicide prevention organization The Trevor Project as a "grooming organization." Ironically, it was also revealed that Raichik engaged in actual doxxing, posting a woman's name, address, workplace and phone number, then boasted of having people call her employer -- debunking any claim by the MRC that the account is only about"poking fun." Raichik was also busted for posting a false claim, directing readers exactly where to lash out at the false claim, then tried to keep the story alive after it was proven false.
Alex Pareene wrote an excellent summary of the exceedingly hostile response of the MRC and other right-wing activists to Lorenz's story:
These people on this ascendant right don't just have different ideas about the role and function of journalism; they don't just believe journalists are biased liberals; they don't just believe the media is too hostile to conservatives; they are hostile to the concept of journalism itself. As in, uncovering things dutifully and carefully and attempting to convey your findings to the public honestly.
The MRC wants more of the hate that Libs of TikTok dishes out, it doesn't want the haters to be held accountable, and it will try to obliterate anyone who does. That's not "media research" -- that's political activism, deliberate sabotage and personal destruction.