USA Today Is Now Using College Kids To Censor Media They Dislike
An alliance between Big Tech and leftist papers to suppress dissent is a deeply sinister thing. The amount of scorn required for this already troubling work to then be outsourced to partisan college kids is incredible.
USA Today uses left-wing college interns to censor news media and opinion articles they disagree with, working hand in glove with unaccountable social media giants to suppress it. Newspapers earn a lot of money performing this task for Facebook and its related companies, and are proud of the job they do to police public speech, even bragging about it publicly on social media platforms.
If you begin to feel an intense and crushing feeling of dread at this reality, don’t be alarmed. That indicates only that you are still sane.
Ella Lee is a college senior who transferred to DePaul University in Chicago. There, she edits a school paper with a proclivity for left-wing activism and casual accusations of racism against fellow students. Her Facebook “likes” include Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as a political activism group that claims Donald Trump is a Nazi and an illegitimate president who must be physically resisted. In her spare time, Lee enjoys photography and employing partisan talking points to shut down legitimate debate on contested matters of serious public importance.
On Nov. 25, for example, she called an oped at The Federalist false, relying on differing reads on intent, as well as two partisan, Democratic spokesmen and one co-author. Although many of The Federalist’s staff’s emails are publicly listed on the site, in her totally expectable amateurism she reached out only to a mass-communication media email for comment. In a continuation of her inexperience, she decreed the opinion article “misconstrues the two articles it uses as evidence,” apparently misconstruing opinion, debate, and prediction with checkable facts subject to her suppression.
The Federalist op-ed is titled “Biden COVID Advisor: Those Older Than 75 Should Get Vaccines Last,” and uses the completely reasonable evidence of Joe Biden advisor Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel’s own opinions on the value and quality of his life after 75 as supporting evidence, compounded by an article he co-wrote years later stating, “we propose using Standard Expected Years of Life Lost (SEYLL) averted per dose of vaccine as the metric for premature death.” The author, Elizabeth Bauer, clearly delineates between his personal preferences and his policy suggestions, and leaves room for debate, asking readers, “what would health-care policy look like if Emanuel is not just one adviser among many but becomes a key adviser on policies for the elderly?”
“Americans,” she concludes, “should be wary to find out.” Now actively wondering what health policy impact a key policy maker’s stated opinions on quality of life — plus a suggested vaccine supply metric based on Standard Expected Years of Life Lost — is no longer allowed. Not, at least, according to USA Today, Facebook, and Instagram.
Earlier in her college years, Lee wrote an opinion column to push for leftist causes she stood for as well as ideas she stood against, but now she doesn’t need to do that because USA Today has handed her a censor’s stamp.
It’s not Lee’s first foray into suppressing public debate. In August, just two months into her internship, she declared “Hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work against COVID-19 — not here, not abroad, not anywhere,” despite a heated and unresolved scientific debate that continues amongst actual experts to this day.
She joins a long and storied history of left-wing hack jobs by USA Today. A month after Lee began her internship, another “fact-checker” in her department declared the Trump campaign used a Nazi eagle in a T-shirt design. Later that day, they issued a “clarification” that “the eagle is a longtime US symbol, too.” Three days later, following a delightful level of public mockery, they “updated” the “fact-check” to “inconclusive” “to reflect further reporting and analysis.”
A favorite tool for the fact-checkers to cover for their leftist friends is the “missing context” ruling. A completely true article about Democratic politicians ignoring their own stay-at-home advisories, for example, was apparently insufficiently harsh on Republicans to satisfy Abby Patkin, who was previously the editor in chief of Brandeis University’s social-justice obsessed paper, aptly named The Justice.
On just Tuesday Camille Caldera, one of Lee’s fellow summer interns, declared a completely true tweet about high-level Democratic spokesperson Jen Psaki wearing a pink Russian hat with a hammer and sickle symbol on it was “missing context.” The picture apparently lacked sufficient cursory add-ons to please an intern’s journalistic sensibilities.
Remember: All these fact checks are brought to you by the same newspaper that claimed in a hysterical 2017 video that “a chainsaw bayonet” is an actual, real life, not-a-joke AR modification. Authoritative subject expertise such as this is hard to come by.
It’s all easy to laugh at, but the reality is that an alliance between Big Tech and leftist papers to suppress dissent is a deeply sinister thing. The amount of scorn required for this already troubling work to then be outsourced to partisan college kids is incredible.
The Federalist reached out to USA Today seeking clarity on its processes — a clarity fact-checkers have grown more loathe to provide as their power has increased with the censorship of social media giants supplanting the historic and democratic requirement to earn readers’ trust. We asked to what extent interns are used as USA Today’s primary fact-checkers, if an editor reviewed and approved the article, and why no individual staffers were contacted for comment.
We asked if USA Today is comfortable with empowering interns to censor journalism on social media, and inquired into the process by which fact-checking interns are chosen. Is there any effort, for example, to avoid openly partisan participants such as Lee?
We asked if USA Today takes any steps to train interns that fact-checks are not opinion articles but should instead concern checkable matters of fact. We asked how much USA Today is paid to participate in Facebook’s fact-checking program, and if any of those earnings are paid to their fact-checking interns. Finally, we asked for comment on Lee’s amateurish mischaracterization of our article.
Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page was quick to reply, saying she would forward our questions to the appropriate USA Today staffers, although we heard nothing by end of day. Fact-check editors Martina Stewart and Katie Wadington did not respond to The Federalist’s emails. They might have missed a clearly marked press inquiry. More likely they just don’t even care.
Christopher Bedford is a senior editor at The Federalist, the vice chairman of Young Americans for Freedom, a board member at the National Journalism Center, and the author of The Art of the Donald. Follow him on Twitter.
Author: Christopher Bedford
Source: The Federalist: USA Today Is Now Using College Kids To Censor Media They Dislike