A baldfaced lie, and even more, an easily debunked baldfaced lie. Late yesterday, the Washington Post released a statement from senior managing editor Cameron Barr claiming that their doxxing of the woman behind the Twitter account @LibsofTikTok “comport entirely with The Washington Post’s professional standards.” Furthermore, Barr insisted, “we did not publish or link to any details about her personal life”:
— Kristine Coratti Kelly (@kriscoratti) April 19, 2022
In the first place, the article exposes the previously anonymous user’s name, which could hardly be more personal. People remain anonymous online for different reasons, and exposing them is an act of exposing “personal details.” Furthermore, the animus in doing so was clear from almost the first word of Lorenz’ report, which reads less like journalism and more like an activist’s audition for Media Matters — which Lorenz quotes repeatedly in the article.
So that’s untrue from the jump, but it’s not the actual baldfaced lie. Lorenz’ report did indeed publish a link to even more personal details for @LibsofTikTok — her real-estate license listing, which has nothing to do with her Twitter activities, which also included one of her addresses. The Washington Post stealth-edited the link out of their article, not noting the change, well after its publication.
Many people, including myself, noticed it at the time, and Becket Adams got screen caps showing the change:
appears WaPo has since removed the hyperlink to the real estate license (pic one is the cached version; pic 2 is current online version).
but how the link to the license made it into the final draft that published is … curious. pic.twitter.com/ipOefW2pFp
— Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) April 19, 2022
When I first read the Post’s article, the link was live and showed the address and other information in her real-estate license. What does that have to do with @LibsofTikTok’s Twitter activity? Absolutely nothing. Exposing it had nothing to do with her politics, but everything to do with creating a dangerous situation for the user. The stealth-edit of the link removal is a tacit admission of that fact, too.
As for their “professional standards,” neither Lorenz or the Post have managed to explain their description of @LibsofTikTok’s feed as “propaganda” when it entirely consists of re-publishing content from TikTok posted created and willingly publicly by its users. It’s not changed or even given much comment.
Given all that, this situation also served as a test of integrity for Washington Post’s management. They failed it miserably.