"Screw up, move up" is standard operating procedure in corporate and government bureaucracies. But in American journalism, the system goes far beyond rewarding incompetence. It sanctifies bias. It promotes dishonesty. It incentivizes malice.
Want to get ahead in the liberal media? Just follow this credo: "Spew lies, climb high."
Take the case of professional character assassin Talia Lavin. This week, she published a high-profile feature at MSNBC.com as an official "MSNBC Opinion Columnist." The hit piece targets a new upstart group of young college conservatives who have broken away from the establishment College Republican National Committee. The students believe that many College Republican chapters have veered far-left on social issues, foreign policy, and immigration. The split mirrors the widening schism between populists and elites in the D.C. GOP.
I know many of the leaders of the new College Republicans United organization personally and spoke to the Arizona State University-CRU chapter last year. They are energetic patriots who embrace "America First" and mean it. To Lavin, this is tantamount to "white supremacy" and "Nazi sympathies." She sounded the alarm that three campuses — ASU, the University of Arizona, and Iowa State University — now have CRU chapters. The MSNBC.com headline of her hatchet job blared:
"College students are falling in love with white supremacy."
Her proof that the kids are "white supremacists?" Their endorsement from me. Yes, really. Lavin reports: "Operating under the innocuous-sounding name 'College Republicans United,' the group claims endorsements by fringe white nationalist figures like Michelle Malkin..."
There she goes again! Well, I am indeed an unapologetic nationalist. But newsflash, freaked-out fact-benders: I am brown and the last time I went "fringe" was when I sported bangs (really bad, poofy ones) in 8th grade circa 1984.
Labeling everything and everyone she dislikes "white supremacy" and "Nazis" is Lavin's entire schtick. In 2018, she falsely accused Justin Gaertner, a combat-wounded war veteran and computer forensic analyst for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, of sporting a "Nazi" tattoo she claimed was an Iron Cross. It was actually a Maltese Cross, the symbol of double amputee Gaertner's platoon in Afghanistan, Titan 2. He lost both legs during an IED-clearing mission and earned the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Valor and the Purple Heart before joining ICE to combat online child exploitation.
The Harvard-educated Lavin was forced to issue a fauxpology after losing her job as a "fact-checker" for the once-esteemed New Yorker magazine. But she didn't retract a single bilious word of a diatribe she penned titled, "No, We Don't Have To Be Friends with Trump Supporters," which endorsed hatred and violence against "Nazis" and ICE agents. In it, she brazenly proclaimed: "When they go low, stomp them on the head."
Lavin then snagged a job as a lecturer for a New York University undergraduate journalism class (canceled for lack of interest) before serving as an "extremism researcher" for the George Soros-funded disinformation operation Media Matters for America in 2019. She secured a deal with Hachette Books that resulted in a 2020 book on white supremacy (what else?), recently published a feature op-ed in The Boston Globe on white supremacy (what else?), and was quoted earlier this month in The Forward to bolster the hysterical conspiracy theory that the Conservative Political Action Conference stage was deliberately shaped in the form of a Nazi "runic symbol."
While former President Donald Trump and countless thousands of conservatives have been purged from social media for expressing lawful, peaceful, and truthful conservative opinions, Lavin wields her blue-check-marked, verified Twitter account to spread even more falsehoods.
In 2019, she lied on Twitter about being "chased" from a free speech conference in Philadelphia. The problem, as reporters from the Post Millennial pointed out, is that the conference venue was the highly secure and intensely surveilled Sugarhouse Casino. The director of security confirmed that no foot chases or any incidents occurred: "No one got chased."
In 2020, Lavin disseminated a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette photo of an anti-COVID lockdown activist holding a sign that read, "Work sets you free." That's an English translation of the German slogan, "Arbeit macht frei," which appears over the entrance of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Lavin juxtaposed the two images with her caption: "this is intentional." Smearing "Reopen America" protesters as Nazis might have worked if not for indie journalist Andy Ngo's eagle eye. He discovered that the photo had been doctored and that the sign actually read: "Free Small Business." Instead of owning up to the deception, Lavin deleted the tweet and has spent the past year attacking Ngo as a "fascist grifter."
Spew lies, climb high. At the rate she keeps fabricating upward, Talia Lavin may soon be co-anchoring the news on MSNBC with fellow serial prevaricator Brian "Choppergate" Williams. Media liberalism has its privileges.
Michelle Malkin is a conservative blogger at michellemalkin.com, syndicated columnist, author, and founder of hotair.com. Michelle Malkin's email address is MichelleMalkinInvestigates@protonmail.com.