The Women’s March, Inc. tries to protect itself by unethically strong-arming journalists

Four days ago I reported on a Tablet article that investigated the Women’s March (WM) in detail, exposing the pervasive anti-Semitism of some of the leaders and their possible financial ties to the Nation of Islam (which accounts for three of the leaders cozying up to the racist, homophobic, and sexist bigot Louis Farakkhan). The upshot, as we’ve seen in several reports here, is that the Women’s March is fracturing, with local branches pulling away from the big organization (Women’s March, Inc.)—suing it for trying to have an exclusive trademark—local leaders denouncing the four present leaders (Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, and Linda Sarsour), actors like Debra Messing and Alyssa Milano peeling off from the WM because of its anti-Semitism, and the revelation of possible financial shenanigans.

When the WM founders brought Mallory, Perez, and Sarsour aboard because the movement’s leadership lacked women of color, they didn’t count on (or realize) that these women came with both anti-Semitic and pro-sharia baggage. That baggage has now detonated, threatening to destroy the whole enterprise.  But those three women will never resign (though they should for the good of the movement) because they are enamored with the big power and visibility that the WM has given them. It’s a mess.

The Tablet article, though mainstream media largely ignored it—liberal venues like the New York Times won’t say anything critical about movements like the WM, though they readily do so for right-wing enterprises—has done substantial damage to the WM.

And of course the WM has to fight back. But the way they’ve done so, as reported in The Federalist (no, I am not a conservative!), is to get a PR firm to try to make a weird deal with journalists. Click on the screenshot below to read about the “deal” that the WM public relations firm is trying to make with journalists who originally highlighted the Tablet article on Twitter.

If you don’t like that site, there’s similar piece on the more liberal site Mediaite:

From Mediaite:

A PR firm representing the Women’s March sent out a bizarre, off the record email to reporters who tweeted about a recent exposé of the progressive group by Tablet Magazine.

A couple days after the Tablet piece came out, which detailed the alleged anti-Semitism of Women’s March co-chairs Carmen Perez and Tamika Mallory, Megaphone Strategies staffer Inarú Meléndez sent out a lengthy email to numerous reporters who shared the article, claiming that Tablet planned to correct the piece soon and she could prove it — but only if they deleted their tweets.

Here’s the email reproduced in The Federalist as sent to one journalist:

Asking these things of journalists—to hide the PR firm’s communication, to delete your tweets about a story, and to get permission from the “fact-checkers” to publish their corrections—is highly unusual, and out of line. The firm should simply have issued a press release with the “corrected” facts in it, and of course contacted Tablet. As The Federalist notes:

Asking a reporter from a different news outlet to agree to a list of demands before sharing a supposed fact check is bizarre. If Tablet Magazine actually got some facts wrong in its story, Megaphone should take that up with the magazine itself and ask that a correction be issued at the top of the original story. Asking that these fact checks be kept off-the-record also makes no sense. If there truly are factual errors in the story, wouldn’t Megaphone Strategies want this to be made known far and wide? Why the secrecy?

Also, a reporter’s tweets are none of Megaphone’s business. Demanding to know whether or not a reporter will delete a tweet before sharing information is an odd request. Why would a writer from a different outlet kow-tow to a random PR flack and agree to delete tweets in order to get these supposed “fact checks”–which must remain private for some reason–from the aggrieved party?

At least two journalists got sufficiently angry that they simply re-tweeted Tablet‘s original story. The second person below actually agreed to keep mum to see what corrections WM had, but never got the supposed list of false facts. Who knows if it will ever be made public? I suspect that it won’t, but stay tuned.

Megaphone Strategy’s acts constitute bullying—not a behavior alien to WM leaders like Linda Sarsour. The journalists aren’t putting up with it, nor should they. Let the PR firm contact Tablet (and issue a press release), and let Tablet and the media decide whether the Tablet‘s facts were wrong.

h/t: Nilou

27 Comments

  1. mikeyc
    Posted December 16, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Hamfisted is putting it lightly. Monumentally stupid is closer to the mark. I suppose it’s bred of the kind of blind arrogance of those at the top of WM but holy crap, this is a case book example of how to shoot yourself in the foot. If they wanted to keep the Tablet story quiet they are in for a surprise; the Streisand effect will take over now.

    • BJ
      Posted December 16, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      The Streisand effect can only take over if the people who need to hear this start seeing it in the media they read, and the media they read isn’t reporting on it. It doesn’t matter if a bunch of smaller outlets and Right-affiliated publications report on it. These articles don’t reach the Facebook or Twitter feeds of the vast majority of people who continue to support WM and its leaders. The mainstream press is effectively keeping this under wraps, and I think the leaders of WM know this. It doesn’t matter what they say or do, so long as they are being protected by the media that their followers read and trust.

      • Posted December 16, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        I disagree. I mentioned this episode to my wife and it was news to her. As a female liberal, she’s interested in the Women’s March but she doesn’t follow it closely or know the names of its leadership. She does have connections within the local Korean community that seeks redress for the sexual slavery inflicted on the so-called “comfort women” of World War II. Many in that community undoubtedly also follow the Women’s March. Conversations like mine will get out the word that the Women’s March leadership are a bunch of crazies. This PR agency stunt has very likely backfired on them.

        • BJ
          Posted December 16, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

          Unfortunately, all the conversations I’ve had ended up with responses that amounted to “so what,” “I don’t care because they’re doing good work,” and “I’ll believe it when it comes from a source that isn’t biased [AKA a mainstream liberal source like NYT].”

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted December 16, 2018 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

            It would help if the mainstream would report on it but even then your conversations may end the same way, because people are so entrenched in their “side”. I hope at least this coming to light will start a conversation and other movements with better leadership will emerge. Of course, it will fracture the movement, which is probably a nice side effect for the odious hidden agenda of these WM leaders.

            • BJ
              Posted December 16, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

              You’re probably right. In the end, most people are instinctively tribalist. I guess there’s nothing we can do about that.

        • Posted December 16, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

          I disagree. I mentioned this episode to my wife and it was news to her. As a female liberal, she’s interested in the Women’s March but she doesn’t follow it closely or know the names of its leadership.

          Doesn’t that support BJ’s point though? The Tablet article and the bizarre follow up hadn’t reached her.

          • Posted December 16, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

            I interpreted what BJ wrote to mean that the Streisand Effect would not work in this case unless the media took it up. My point was just to say that word of mouth can also work, though not as well. Clearly the PR effort hasn’t done much to suppress the story but has triggered a Twitter storm.

      • Posted December 16, 2018 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        I’ve brought the WM co-organizers’ anti-Semitism (and, likely, anti-LGBT attitudes) to the attention of some people who I *thought* would cry “Fake news!” or “rightwing lies!” or something similar — and they actually signed petitions against Sarsour, Mallory, Perez, and Bland. But I think it was Tablet’s reporting that actually convinced them that the WM “leadership” is, ahem, problematic.

        Slightly off topic: my circle used to be full of SJWs. I parted ways with them (i.e. deleted all social media to get them out of even my digital life) once they started mocking Otto Warmbier for his “white privilege.” But I’m totally curious what they have to say about the WM leadership’s bigotry. There were/are some borderline anti-Semitic (“anti-Zionist”) attitudes among that crowd, although one of the loudest ringleaders is Jewish. “Politics makes strange bedfellows.”

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 16, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          I got unfriended by a Jew because of my dislike of Sarsour and my like of Maajid Nawaz. 🙄 People that far gone in the SJW are really something.

          • Posted December 16, 2018 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

            I hear you. Some people who don’t really know any SJWs think SJW is a rightwing meme. And I don’t deny that *some* right-leaning types try to smear label any left-leaning person as an SJW. But there are definitely some far-left authoritarians out there, and they believe things like it’s okay for communist dictatorships to execute people of certain races, nationalities, etc. That’s pretty disgusting IMO.

  2. GBJames
    Posted December 16, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    sub

  3. BJ
    Posted December 16, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    It sure would be nice if mainstream sources would report on this, but of course they refuse to do so. I can’t imagine how much play this would be getting if it turned out a huge right-wing or Republican affiliated/supported protest movement had these kinds of connections and leaders with these views. And, since the mainstream refuses to report on it, very few people know about it. Everyone I know has no clue about any of this (almost everyone I know is liberal to far Left and supports this organization), and when I send them articles like the one from Tablet or try to pass on this information through conversation, they simply dismiss it, either as a Republican conspiracy or unfounded likely “fake news.”

    There are gatekeepers of information, and those gatekeepers are assuring that this information doesn’t reach too many people. It’s disgusting. It’s not just the double standards that chafe at me, but the willingness to let extreme bigotry and malfeasance slide because the people “on the right side of history” are engaged in it.

    • Posted December 16, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Media-ite is Leftish, and remember that Bari Weiss wrote about the corruption of the Women’s March in a NYT op-ed. Of course, that was the demonized Bari Weiss, but still–it’s the New York Times, and they wouldn’t print her column if she was telling lies.

    • max blancke
      Posted December 16, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      I see your problem right there in your first sentence. The does not seem to be a “mainstream media”.
      Last night on network news, I noticed a story about a subject of which I have in depth knowledge. As usual, the network coverage excluded basic facts on the issue, and exaggerated others. There seemed to also be an effort to imply things that were not accurate. This happens all the time, and I have to assume that subjects that I do not have expert knowledge in are misreported as well.
      I have had a lot of issues trying to understand the odd tolerance that modern western leftists have for Islam and antisemitism. I do believe that part of it is people who do not really think the issue through.
      “Resisting” is very fashionable these days. It makes one appear to be deeply committed to something, and it is sort of edgy to wear a keffiyeh. Of course, a part of the appeal is that one need not endure the risks and privations that actual resistance fighters experience.
      But this is exactly the sort of crap that gives very destructive movements the momentum to do truly terrible things.

      • BJ
        Posted December 16, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        “I have had a lot of issues trying to understand the odd tolerance that modern western leftists have for Islam and antisemitism. I do believe that part of it is people who do not really think the issue through.”

        Unfortunately, antisemitism has a long history in these groups. If you walk into most radical left/Marxist/black power-oriented bookstores, you’ll find copies of things like The Elders of the Protocols of Zion, Farrakhan/Nation of Islam’s The Secret Relationship Between Jews and Blacks (which pushes such conspiracy theories like the Jews ran the slave trade, control all the world’s finances, use their secret power to oppress black people all over the world), and other deeply antisemitic, conspiracy theory-laden shit. Sometimes, you’ll even find a copy of Henry Ford’s The International Jew.

        Here’s an Amazon link to Farrakhan’s disgusting book: https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Relationship-Between-Blacks-Jews/dp/0963687700

  4. CAS
    Posted December 16, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    No fact checking of our “fact checking”!

  5. Jon Gallant
    Posted December 16, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    News about the doings of the WM “leaders” is banished from pages of the NYT just as news of the USSR’s Terror Famine in 1932-33 was banished while its correspondent Walter Duranty was reporting on how lovely things were there. The pop-Left of each generation seems to insinuate itself into the editorial choices of the grey lady, at least to some extent or for a while. It tends to correct course eventually, say after 20 years.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted December 16, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      For which Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize. After all, in his infamous words, “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.” “No enemies on the left” is not a new attitude.

    • Richard Sanderson
      Posted December 16, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Cf: Sy Hersh, who is now a war-crime denier and conspiracy theorist on behalf of Assad and Putin.

      “But he won a Pulitzer Prize” his defenders keep insisting, at which point, I mention Walter Duranty.

      Same sort of guff comes from John Pilger fans, who are incredibly cultist, and always pointing out how he is an “award-winning” journalist.

      • BJ
        Posted December 16, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        This brings Glenn Greenwald to mind.

        • Rich Sanderson
          Posted December 16, 2018 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

          Indeed.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 16, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      There were, nonetheless, a number of Leftists who spoke out to criticize the Russian Revolution from the get-go, both as to its abuses and its ideological shortcomings. Emma Goldman and Rosa Luxemburg come to mind.

  6. Jenny Haniver
    Posted December 16, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    What is one to expect other than something like this, when the leaders of the Women’s March are the foxes guarding the hen house? (Oh, dear, that expression must be banned as offensive to female humans and chickens.)

    I read that Planned Parenthood is “proudly” maintaining its ties with the Women’s March. Interesting. What’s their rationale? They’re already in the sights of conservatives; this is only adding fuel to the fire.

  7. Posted December 16, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    It seems that, when people want to combat racism and introduce diversity, they tend to lose their principles and common sense. Didn’t trouble at Evergreen also start this way? It seems that “diversity” has become a word that, similarly to “gas”, should be a signal to put on protective gear ;-).

  8. rickflick
    Posted December 16, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Promise not to tell the teacher what I did and I’ll save you a cookie from my lunch next week.


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