The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Less Than Fake News’

Posted on | August 31, 2017 | Comments Off on ‘Less Than Fake News’

OK, so Laura Ingraham has a web site called LifeZette, the chief executive of which is a guy named Peter Anthony, who allegedly is a “creep.”

Anyway, Betsy Woodruff and Lachlan Markay — two young conservative journalists I happen to know personally — wrote a story for The Daily Beast detailing various creepy things Peter Anthony has allegedly done, e.g., making sexual comments about female employees of LifeZette and urging employees to drink shots at staff Happy Hour parties.

The basic problem with this story is that (a) all these allegations are made by anonymous sources and (b) nobody’s filed a lawsuit or anything. Also (c) who cares about D.C. newsroom gossip, anyway?

While I don’t want to take lightly the accusation of sexual harassment, I wouldn’t push the “publish” button on that kind of story without some kind of documentation — preferably a verified court filing, but maybe an internal company memo or an email. You’ve got to have something more than just “anonymous sources said” before you run a story like that, because otherwise you’re setting yourself up for a libel suit.

These are journalistic considerations that have nothing to with whether Peter Anthony is or is not a creep, or whether working conditions for women in the LifeZette offices are ideal. You can say, “Well, the story quotes multiple people saying this guy’s a sexist pig,” but none of those people have filed a lawsuit, nor are they otherwise willing to go public with these accusations under their own names, and this is problematic.

If you don’t like your job or you don’t like your boss, quit — a simple solution, and if you want to badmouth your ex-boss, OK. But where else except in D.C. do people have this perceived need to “expose” the ex-boss they don’t like by giving anonymous quotes to the media?

Joe Curl used to work at LifeZette, and before that he worked for Drudge, and before that he worked at The Washington Times, and I’ve known Joe for almost 20 years now. Seeking to verify their story about LifeZette, the Daily Beast reporters emailed Joe some questions:

In response to an email from The Daily Beast, Curl replied by writing, “So, Houston is under water, North Korea’s firing missiles over Japan, the cost of health care has tripled under Obamacare, and you’re writing about — LifeZette happy hours? No wonder so many Americans despise the media. Your ‘story’ is less than fake news — it’s utter bullshit.”


Really, it’s D.C. media reporting about the D.C. media, and unless it involves a lawsuit or an arrest, it’s difficult to justify such a story.

Does Peter Anthony have a “habit” of making “crude observations” about female employees’ appearance? I don’t know. But I also don’t know if anyone outside the world of D.C. journalism cares. The LifeZette office could be Animal House, and so what? “Double-secret probation”?


“Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll be brief. The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female party guests — we did. But you can’t hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg — isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!”

God bless America!



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