Commentary

USA Today Tries to Strip Jan. 6 Riot Defendants of Right to an Attorney

By Rob Shimshock | March 29, 2021 | 4:09pm EDT
While its name is less synonymous with left-wing activism than those of other media titans, USA Today is the most-circulated paper in the United States and is also published internationally. (Photo credit: Francis Dean/Corbis via Getty Images)
While its name is less synonymous with left-wing activism than those of other media titans, USA Today is the most-circulated paper in the United States and is also published internationally. (Photo credit: Francis Dean/Corbis via Getty Images)

USA Today has appointed itself arbiter of who does and does not deserve to hire legal representation. And if you disagree, you will be labeled a harasser.

This is the takeaway from a Sunday piece entitled "Insurrection fundraiser: Capitol Riot Extremists, Trump Supporters Raise Money for Lawyer Bills Online" -- an archived link of which can be found here if you, too, would like to avoid funding left-wing activism disguised as "investigative journalism" -- as well as the subsequent Twitter firestorm.

"The Capitol riot extremists and others are engaging [payment processors] in a game of cat-and-mouse as they spring from one fundraising tool to another, utilizing new sites, usernames and accounts," state USA Today authors Brenna Smith, Jessica Guynn, and Will Carless.

Note the use of the term "cat-and-mouse" here. Smith, Guynn, and Carless want you to know that if you use technology to pursue your constitutional right to legal defense, you are the aggressor. Meanwhile, they themselves are objective journalists, despite their repeated hounding of payment processors who dare to host fundraising campaigns linked to their political adversaries.

USA Today contacted Stripe, Our Freedom Funding, GoGetFunding, Venmo (owned by PayPal), and Cash App regarding pages devoted to legal fundraising for Capitol defendants, as well as a far-right streamer. The latter two platforms deleted accounts associated with these figures after being approached by the publication.

Make no mistake: "please comment" is journo-mafia-speak for "silence this person we dislike and remove his ability to fundraise in the new public square, or we'll make an example out of you."

Oh, and did I suggest the USA Today writers don't participate in the game of cat-and-mouse? A minor addendum: this is only when they can't be the mouse, as independent journalist Glenn Greenwald demonstrated.

Greenwald, who recently left The Intercept, an outlet he co-founded, after alleging censorship by left-wing editors, facetiously congratulated Smith on her piece.

The left gleefully leapt at the chance to attack Greenwald, who had clearly taken issue with Smith's piece because the USA Today writer happened to possess XX chromosomes.

However, some savvy tweeters recognized the outrage campaign for what it was: a hamfisted attempt to use Smith's identity as a female intern as a way to deflect criticism from one of the most pernicious assaults on constitutionally protected freedoms yet.

While a basic understanding of American freedoms and a resistance to mob impulse may be enough to elude the media lynch mob, when it comes to payment processors, the way forward is less clear. 

Conservatives can advocate for reform to the Communications Decency Act's Section 230 that will expose platforms that act in an arbitrary and partisan manner to litigation. In the meantime, they can patronize payment processors like Our Freedom Funding that do not cave to media agitators and sue those that violate their terms of service in giving users the boot. Of course, when the companies they wish to prosecute are the very ones that control the digital wallet they'd use to do so, conservatives -- and anyone who opposes the totalitarian academia-media-Big Tech hydra -- face a bit of a quandary.

Rob Shimshock is the commentary editor at CNSNews.com. He has covered education, culture, media, technology, and politics for a variety of national outlets, hosted the Campus Unmasked YouTube show, and was named to The Washington Examiner's "30 Under 30" list. Shimshock graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Media Studies.

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