This punishment does not fit the crime.
Over the weekend, the Daily Beast — apparently with Facebook’s help — exposed the identity of the man who allegedly uploaded the now-famous “drunk Nancy Pelosi” viral video. It turns out that it wasn’t a Russian troll who posted the video but rather a “day laborer” from the Bronx. The man denies responsibility for posting the video.
But the Daily Beast didn’t just describe him in general terms. It didn’t just provide his name. No sir, the reporter combed through his personal history, exposed his criminal record, and even evaluated whether his personal Instagram posts were “misogynistic.” The report wasn’t a news story; it was a 2,000-word piece of opposition research — all directed at a relatively powerless American citizen who’d made a single deceptive video about arguably the most powerful woman in the world.