Tony Ortega: Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

Recently here at the blog we took a deep dive into the timeline of the government’s case against Backpage and all the sordid twists and turns its heartless founders, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, attempted in order to throw authorities off their trail.

Today a reader of this blog alerted to us a ‘response’ of sorts by Backpage’s chief propagandist, the ever-slippery Tony “Backpage Pimp” Ortega. What is fascinating about this editorial supplement, written by Ortega himself in his capacity as Village Voice Editor-At-Large shortly before he was fired, is the sheer number of lies and untruths he manages to pack into his skewed, contemporaneous account of events.

From the very first line Ortega tips his hand as he colors his version of the timeline with his typically biased characterization. Ortega writes: Congress hauled in Craigslist on September 15, 2010. There, feminists, religious zealots, the well-intentioned, law enforcement, and social- service bureaucrats pilloried the online classified business for peddling +100,000 to 300,000+ underage prostitutes annually.

‘Feminists, religious zealots, bureaucrats, and maybe some well-intentioned law enforcement,’ this is how Tony Ortega chooses to describe those who would dare to criticize Backpage and its inherently corrupt business model.

Do you see how diabolically a shameless propagandist like Ortega operates? From the outset he is seeking to cast doubt in the hopes that his readers will ‘shoot the messenger’, ignoring the truth of their charges because of the bias Ortega deviously attempts to convince us motivates their outrage.

In the legal world this is known as the ‘fruit of the poisonous tree’; a metaphor used to describe the process by which arguments can be invalidated if the evidence supporting them cannot be trusted. The logic of the terminology runs this way: if the source of the evidence or evidence itself is tainted, then anything gained from it must therefore be tainted as well.

With his long history of feeding his readers a steady diet of ‘poisonous fruit’, the irony of Tony Ortega characterizing honest brokers this cannot be overstated.

Tony Ortega knows he cannot defend the sex trafficking Backpage supports. He cannot defend the greed that drives the organization. He cannot defend the stonewalling and obfuscation his bosses employ at every opportunity. Instead, his only recourse is to ‘poison the well’ by condemning the arguments of his accusers as ‘fruit of the poisonous tree’ in hopes that his readers will be so dazzled by the manufactured ironic detachment of his half-baked snark that they will miss the rhetorical sleight of hand he’s trying to pull.

But then distraction and deception have always been Ortega’s hallmark. It comes as no surprise that the cultivated spin he gives his fictitious retelling of the Backpage timeline should be so infected by the ‘poisonous fruit’ of Tony Ortega’s own strain of homegrown propaganda.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.