Journalists sometimes put their neck on the line to speak truth to power to ensure the American public is informed on important issues. Unfortunately, this is not an account of one of those noble times. Instead, this story exposes the terrifying reality that some progressives in the press push a personal ideology and punish those who dare to oppose it.
The Daily Beast recently published a hit piece on the person alleged to have first posted an altered video poking fun at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). In the article, the writer exposed private information about this individual in a brazen attempt to smear him. This is not the first time in recent memory that a news outlet has threatened a citizen in this manner. If this reprehensible conduct becomes a trend, right-leaning Americans who express their views on social media are in trouble.
Daily Beast Doxxes Video Creator
In the piece, writer Kevin Poulson highlights Shawn Brooks, the person supposedly responsible for spreading the viral video that makes it appear Pelosi is slurring her words during a press conference. According to Poulson, Brooks is “a 24-year-old day laborer currently on probation after pleading guilty to domestic battery” and “an avowed conservative and a proud member of Trump’s razor-thin African-American support base.”
NEW: I went looking for the Russian troll behind the 'Drunk Pelosi' viral video hoax. Turns out he's an itinerant forklift operator from the Bronx who's been secretly running hard-right "news" outlets across social media for years. Also, not Russian. https://t.co/mChiyVqy0B
— Kevin Poulsen (@kpoulsen) June 1, 2019
Brooks, who runs two right-leaning Facebook sites that post news stories from a conservative perspective, states that he backed Trump because Obama’s lax immigration policies cost him his job as a forklift operator. While he posted the video on his Facebook page, he maintains that he did not create the video. Nevertheless, The Daily Beast decided to single out Brooks as the culprit.
The author goes on to highlight Brooks’ Instagram feed, which supposedly includes misogynistic posts. Then, he details Brooks’ frequent arguments with a girlfriend in California that led to domestic-battery charges. The article is a blatant hit job in which Poulson lists the most damning information about Brooks as possible. Even worse, Brooks’ identity is now exposed to everyone, including the New York City neighborhood in which he currently resides. If you think that this piece could easily put him in a potentially dangerous situation, given the current political climate and instances of violence against Trump supporters, you’re probably right.
Shawn Brooks Responds
Brooks released a statement on Twitter taking issue with The Daily Beast’s portrayal. “I am one of the admins of the page but DID NOT CREATE THE VIDEO NOR DID I POST IT to the Politics WATCHDOG page,” he wrote. “They need a fall guy and they choose me because of my background.”
He also speculated that the reason The Daily Beast placed him in its crosshairs is because of Facebook’s refusal to take down the video. “Facebook was taking heat for not taking down the video so they made me the scapegoat of this pelosi video which was the final piece for The daily beast to throw me under the bus with their article.”
Brooks claims that the “Details in that article are not 100% accurate.” He is concerned about his well-being. “I’m in New York City,” he argued. “Very liberal. People make judgments. I just don’t want to be linked to a conservative right-winger and be potentially denied services and stuff… People are nasty. You should see some of the messages that are coming in.”
Some argue that The Daily Beast is just providing information in the public’s interest, as any journalistic outlet would. But the caustic personal nature of the piece belies that intent. Is there a valid reason to publish an article that focuses primarily on negative personal information designed to malign Brooks? But this is not the only news organization that has used its platform to target conservatives.
Remember last year, the left was all in a tizzy because Trump tweeted a doctored video showing him beating up CNN at a WWE event? Progressive pundits castigated the president, accusing him of inciting violence against journalists. CNN responded by tracking down the person who created the video. Then, it published a piece stating that since the content creator was remorseful, it would not publish his name. Nevertheless, CNN reserved the right to publicize his identity if he went off the reservation again.
…punish those who dare to support Trump…
But that wasn’t all. The network also targeted an elderly woman for promoting a pro-Trump event allegedly organized by Russian agents in the 2016 election-interference campaign. CNN reporters approached the woman’s home with cameras rolling to harass and shame her for supposed complicity in aiding the Kremlin.
These are just a few examples of media going after private citizens who hold anti-progressive views. Given the fact that exposing the identities of these individuals contributed nothing meaningful to the news stories, the media’s true objectives seem clear: to punish those who dare to support Trump or attack leftist politicians and to send a message to those who might be tempted to do the same.
The notion that a private citizen could be subjected to this treatment is concerning, especially in light of the nation’s fractured political climate. The Fourth Estate may not be an official government apparatus, but the power wielded by the media enables them to engage in journalistic tyranny that endangers the security of everyday Americans who happen to hold conservative views.
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