When we started this web site, we spent a lot of time criticizing what was then called the “mainstream media.” Over the years, I have done this less and less. Twenty years ago, the legacy press at least pretended to be fair and objective its reporting, so we pointed out errors and biases. But today, the pretense is gone: most media outlets are shills for the Democratic National Committee, and make no bones about it. Pointing out bias has become mostly pointless.
At times, though, it can still be entertaining. I wrote yesterday about Susanna Gibson, Democratic candidate for the Virginia House, who raised money (likely for her campaign, it appears) by going on a porn site called Chaturbate and performing sex acts with her husband while asking the audience–she had more than 5,000 followers–for “tips.” You can think that is depraved or you can consider it enterprising, but there is zero doubt about what she did.
Unless you are reading the New York Times. In its effort to help the Democrats in Virginia, the Times slides from spin to outright falsehoods. It headlines: “State House Candidate in Virginia Condemns Leak of Sex Tapes.” But there was no “leak.” Susanna Gibson performed sex acts in public, for money. The videos were posted by her, not someone else. Nor was there a “sex tape,” which carries connotations of nonconsensual posting of a private video by another party. No: Gibson did this herself, publicly, for cash. And the paper’s suggestion that the story here is Gibson’s “condemnation” of Republicans, not what she did, is risible.
The Times purports to explain:
Releasing damaging information about candidates of the opposing party into the heat of a campaign is an age-old political practice, but the sensational nature of the disclosure of sex tapes — reportedly featuring Ms. Gibson and her husband, a lawyer — is highly unusual.
Most of the rest of the article is about whether Republicans committed a crime by cluing voters into what Ms. Gibson was doing on Chaturbate.
It is true that “[r]eleasing damaging information about candidates of the opposing party…is an age-old political practice.” But the Times’s characterization of “releasing damaging information” presumes that Gibson was entitled to engage in public sex for money without the fact becoming known to voters. In fact, the “release” of damaging information was done by Gibson when she uploaded her videos (there were more than a dozen) to Chaturbate, to be watched by the public. And, yes, this situation is “highly unusual.” It is unusual because most politicians do not use porn sites to engage in sex acts for money.
The Times will never change, of course. It is not a newspaper, it is a political operation. But we can still enjoy a laugh at their expense.