Tony Ortega: Fraud at Village Voice Front

The rise and fall of the Village Voice reads like a Greek tragedy. Having long been a stalwart of strong writing and interesting points of view, it went from being an American icon to a national disgrace in a matter of a few short weeks following Tony Ortega being installed as Editor-in-Chief.  It was around this time that New Times Media became “Village Voice Media,” and the Sith lords at its helm, James Larkin and Michael Lacy, felt they had free reign to exploit the seamiest possible underbelly of American media: online prostitution, and, in particular, the underage sex trade market.

The Voice was just a front.  That’s all it was ever intended to be.  With the arrival of Tony Ortega, its costs had been slashed to the bone, its editorial staff annihilated — but in the end none of that was ever important to Lacey or Larkin, or even the spineless Editor-At-Large hired to oversee the death of the paper. None of it mattered because behind it stood the single largest online purveyor of schoolchild sex slaves for cash — the Backpage.

And Tony Ortega stood at the ready to become the chief apologist for the sordid venture.  In true Ortega fashion, the themes of his propagandistic rants were poorly thought through, condescendingly trite, and shot through with lie upon lie.

Consider the following bullet points outlining just some of the rhetoric Tony Ortega used:

  • The “problem” is vastly exaggerated by a sensationalist media.  It’s not 40,000 kids a day – it’s actually much smaller than that.   (Well, even granting that – and we don’t by any means- does this make pimping kids somehow acceptable?)
  • We spend millions “policing” our sites to avoid running illegal ads.  (yet make an estimated $50 million a year on the ones that somehow manage to squeak through.)
  • We have a first amendment right to do this.  (So did the Nazis in Charlottesville.)
  • I’m not associated with backpage.com.  (No — its revenues just pay your salary and your bar tabs.)
  • Even if we suspended our “personal” advertising, someone else would do it.  (Well, you ought to know.  When Craigslist killed theirs, your revenues suddenly tripled.  Get out of here with that.  When was that ever an acceptable reason for swinish behavior?)

The fact of the matter is that Tony Ortega began his Voice career with personal character assassination for profit.  Now the thing he will forever be remembered for is being an apologist for a national organization that defiled kids by the tens of thousands every day it was in operation.

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