Talia Lavin is (or was, at last word) a fact-checker for the New Yorker. She achieved overnight Twitter-fame by accusing an ICE agent of being a white supremacist. The New York Post has the story:
A Harvard-educated fact-checker for the New Yorker is being excoriated by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency for “baselessly slandering” a Marine veteran — by falsely accusing him of having a Nazi tattoo, according to reports.
Officials with ICE are now demanding that the New Yorker and Talia Lavin apologize over her erroneous tweet about Justin Gaertner.
In the gaffe, Lavin allegedly implied over the weekend that Gaertner, a combat-wounded veteran and ICE forensics analyst, had the Nazis’ Iron Cross inked on his elbow.
But she deleted her post after “military veterans responded that the tattoo looked more like a Maltese cross, a symbol associated with firefighters,” ICE said in a statement.
The tattoo, according to Gaertner, is actually a “Titan 2” symbol for his platoon when he served in Afghanistan.
This is the photo:
As you can see from the picture, Justin Gaertner is a double amputee:
Gaertner lost both of his legs and suffered other permanent injuries when an IED exploded during his deployment to Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He served as a fire team leader and lead sweeper for IEDs.
Now Gaertner is a para-Olympic athlete who has “volunteered his time to motivate other wounded warriors and Boston bombing victims,” according to ICE. With the immigration agency, he helps solve criminal cases related to sexually abused children.
An obvious question is, what on God’s green Earth would cause anyone to think that the vaguely cross-like symbol on Gaertner’s elbow is a Nazi or white supremacist sign? Only a person far gone in hatred for ICE employees would leap to such an irrational conclusion.
Part of the story, I think, is that the Left is hard up for white supremacists. Liberals talk about them all the time, but to the best of my knowledge, I have never met one. Have you? Liberals need to come up with someone other than Richard Spencer; hence the eagerness to libel a heroic ICE employee.
Lavin made her Twitter account private after the falsity of her smear was revealed, and the New Yorker appears to be throwing her under the bus:
“The New Yorker has just learned that a staff member erroneously made a derogatory assumption about ICE agent Justin Gaertner’s tattoo. The personal social-media accounts of staff members do not represent the magazine, and we in no way share the viewpoint expressed in this tweet,” a spokesperson said in a statement to National Review. “The tweet has been deleted, and we deeply regret any harm that this may have caused Mr. Gaertner.”
This incident might not be worth noting, except that Ms. Lavin is not just a goofy Twitter flake. A Harvard graduate, she was a Fulbright scholar and writes for the Forward as well as, on occasion, the New Yorker. And her writings in other venues suggest that her smearing of ICE agent Justin Gaertner was no fluke.
Just a few days ago, the Forward published an article by Lavin titled “No, We Don’t Have To Be Friends With Trump Supporters.” The article’s theme is that Republicans are more or less equivalent to Nazis and should be shunned:
The truth of the matter is that anyone who willingly declares themselves [sic] a Republican is aligning themselves [sic] with an administration whose official policy is to torment minorities, to empty the public purse both for private gain and for sheer cruel parsimony, to strip away healthcare from the afflicted and to comfort the wealthy.
Anyone who is a current Trumpist might as well be an ICE agent ripping an 18-month-old child from its mother’s arms, or shipping a five-year-old boy to Michigan to dream of his father and weep in a stranger’s house.
One companion to the legion of Trump-voter-as-curious-oddity portraiture is the endless stream of op-eds prevailing upon liberals to be more tolerant. To cease being smug. To simply reach across the aisle, grasp a hand, and speak softly, leaving the big stick at home.
To which I say: tough nuts, sugar. When they go low, stomp them on the head.
Which is what Lavin did on Twitter. Only, of course, Gaertner wasn’t “going low.” But for liberals like Ms. Lavin, working for ICE is more than enough to justify the most vicious smears. Nazis of course rear their heads in this leftist’s fantasy world:
In 2018, the question is not “Who goes Nazi?” but rather “Who goes Trump?” While Trump is far from Hitler and his supporters are a far cry from Nazis, it is undeniable at this point that his is a regime ruled by cruelty and evil.
It is high time, when you find yourself next at a dinner party with someone who has gone Trump, to smash your glass to shards and leave. It is time to push yourself away from the table. It is time to cease to behave with subservient politesse towards those who embrace barbarity with unfettered glee.
These are more or less insane ravings, but they are typical of what liberals are saying to one another nowadays. Smearing double amputee veterans with false imputations of Nazi sympathies? For today’s liberals, it is all in a day’s work.
ONE MORE THING: I didn’t comment on the irony of a New Yorker fact checker making such an absurd mistake on her own facts. I’m so old, I can remember when the New Yorker was justly famed for its fact checking. Unfortunately, in the era of Jane Mayer those days are long gone. The New Yorker is now just another left-wing rag with no standards.