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Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz defended her recent column that revealed the identity of the previously anonymous social media influencer Libs of Tik Tok, claiming that she “absolutely did not” dox the popular conservative personality.
“We absolutely did not reveal any personal information about this woman at all, remotely,” Lorenz claimed in a podcast interview with Brian Stelter.
Fact check: False
The original article included a link with Chaya Raichik’s name, profession, and city of residence as well as a link to her real estate license which had her address.
Not only did Lorenz massage history, but the definition of “doxxing” as well which she told Stelter was “revealing highly, highly personal nonpublic information with a goal of harassment or sort of destroying someone’s life.”
By her logic, perhaps she is absolved of any guilt because “highly, highly” personal data could be more along the lines of someone’s social security number and tax return.
But don’t worry, she asserted that her reporting techniques, which have included showing up on the doorstep of Raichik’s relatives, are “very benign.”
“And, you know, I know that sometimes reporting practices can seem foreign to people that aren’t familiar with journalism, but this was very by the book and very benign,” Lorenz claimed. “We didn’t reveal anything personal and certainly, you know, not directing any kind of hate towards her.”
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) April 19, 2022
Stelter stepped in to ask about the link containing Libs of Tik Tok’s personal information that The Washington Post quietly removed after backlash.
“That’s just false,” Lorenz deflected. “That’s just patently false.”
“So what was the link to?” Stelter inquired.
“I don’t know,” Lorenz answered. “I think maybe it’s an open government database? But absolutely nothing personal – maybe like an old- I don’t know… but I just know that I went through that whole story myself. And there was nothing personal, and I know this woman’s personal information. It’s not even remotely.”
Her assertions come mere weeks after Lorenz broke down in tears during an MSNBC interview when she claimed she had “severe PTSD” and contemplated suicide over the idea that any little piece of information that could get out about her could be used to “destroy” her life.
NEW: Taylor Lorenz says she has “severe PTSD” from being a journalist and breaks down in MSNBC interview pic.twitter.com/G9FymoSdH8
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) April 1, 2022
“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,” an emotional Lorenz told MSNBC earlier this month. “It’s horrifying… It’s overwhelming.”
Lorenz told Stelter why she thought it was important to report on the identity of Libs of Tik Tok and blasted the right-wing media “machine” for “spinning these outrage cycles up.”
“The whole goal with the right-wing media is to obscure this stuff and attack journalism and to try and discredit any kind of journalist that attempts to hold these powers to account… I assumed that they would have drama, sort of like what they do,” she laughed.
“This woman is shaping the media ecosystem and shaping legislation and public discourse around legislation. She’s also talked about mobilizing her base to run for local school boards and is collecting email lists, which 100% are going to be used for political purposes. So this is a political force. This is an influential media force. The idea that this woman is not newsworthy is quite nonsense,” the 43-year-old reporter said. “I cover influencers for a living, and I’m telling you this woman is more influential than a lot of people that I cover… The right will make those arguments because they don’t want scrutiny.”
“That whole operation in the whole right-wing media- it’s a machine… it honestly doesn’t faze me very much at all,” Lorenz asserted. “They’re gonna say whatever they want. That’s their whole agenda, right?… Spinning these outrage cycles up. And I think that’s why it’s so important for traditional media, which really doesn’t understand this stuff, to recognize it and understand the shape of these campaigns that we can effectively cover them.”
“I have dedicated, you know, the past decade of my life to helping people understand the internet and helping people understand how online influence works and why it’s so important for media companies to understand these things,” she explained. “My stories are good, my stories are accurate. And I, you know, work really hard to promote them.”
Many social media users had heard enough of her retelling of history as one person noted they had the linked website in their browsing history.
I literally have the website she linked to in my browser history.
— oreuh (@loopThroughAll) April 23, 2022
She needs to just stop ✋
— Tracy Robinson (@TracyRo71285825) April 23, 2022
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