Billionaire’s lefty website embarrassed – again
Once again, I am forced to confess that I am a bad person, for I am taking pleasure in the travails of others. Even worse, jealousy may well be a factor (hanging head in shame).
You see, when a lefty internet billionaire announced he was committing $250 million to a left-wing internet publishing outfit, I was a tad peeved, having launched American Thinker on a shoestring and a prayer. It didn’t help that the “marquee voice” of the outfit was Glenn Greenwald, an old acquaintance/sparring partner of mine dating back to the dawn of the internet. Glenn’s a smart guy, sociable in person, but he has gone hard left in the years since we knew each other.
The website that eventuated from this lavishly funded partnership is called The Intercept, and it first blazed its way to fame as a vehicle for publishing the stolen secrets of Edward Snowden. Since then, it has burned through a series of prominent editors and writers who have left in disgust.
The Intercept's initial masthead (since replaced, like several editors in chief).
But now, The Intercept has been busted and has officially apologized for the worst of sins: publishing made-up quotes from interviews that just happen to serve its left-wing agenda. Ashe Schow reports in the Examiner:
Intercept reporter Juan Thompson was fired last month for fabricating quotes in his articles and creating fake email accounts to impersonate sources. (snip)
The Intercept has retracted one of Thompson's stories completely (but has left it up on the website with a note) and made corrections to others. The retracted story involved Scott Roof, the alleged cousin of Charleston, South Carolina shooter Dylann Roof. Dylann made headlines in 2015 when he murdered nine black churchgoers in an attack motivated by racism.
Thompson claimed he spoke to Scott about the shooter. Scott allegedly told Thompson that "Dylann was normal until he started listening to that white power music stuff" and "he kind of went over the edge when a girl he liked starting dating a black guy two years back."
During their investigation, editors for the Intercept spoke to members of the Roof family, who said they had never heard of a cousin named Scott.
In another story, about Black Lives Matter activists being blocked from a Donald Trump rally, Thompson invented quotes and people. He gave the full name of one of his sources, who told The Intercept that she was not at the rally, was not a Trump supporter, and never spoke to Thompson. The Intercept also couldn't verify the existence of a BLM activist who allegedly provided a quote to Thompson.
Pierre Omidyar, who made his fortune by founding, and then selling eBay, has not exactly covered himself in glory. It is supposed to be fun being a lefty billionaire – you get to be rich and escape criticism from the left. But it turns out that journalism is a lot of work and tricky to manage. Maybe he finally will decide that this lavishly funded left-wing internet stuff isn’t worth the trouble.