Tony Ortega: The End of Credibility

The staff at the Village Voice, working under Tony Ortega, had a reputation in New York City for ruthless retaliation on people that poked their nose into its classifieds section, Backpage. Readers of this blog will recognize Backpage as the human trafficking site which tried to cloak itself under the First Amendment’s “Freedom of Speech” clause. In the twisted logic of the Backpage the “Freedom of the Press” guaranteed in the Constitution means one can call “classifieds” part of the “press” and sell human beings in the classifieds section. Voila, legal Human Trafficking.

When Amber Lyon, an investigative journalist for CNN known for her work reporting human rights abuses, aired an exposé called “Selling The Girl Next Door” to shed light on the goings on at Backpage, then Editor In Chief of the Village Voice, Tony Ortega, unleashed his own in ham-fisted retaliation, gaslighting Lyon and attempting to discredit the findings of her report.

Ms Lyon reporting shows the trauma experienced by these young women, many of whom were forced into the business as children. Lyon’s reporting draws a straight line between sex trafficking and the Backpage.

Maybe that’s why Ortega accused Lyon of being a religious zealot and insisted the sexual slavery epidemic did not exist, writing:

At the end of her broadcast, Lyon’s sources are singled out for “special thanks.” The list includes several Atlanta-area foundations, deep in the Bible Belt, that have done as much as anyone to create the current panic about a nonexistent epidemic of sexual slavery.

Whatever the reason, Ortega’s self-serving attempt to paint Lyon’s reporting as hysterical exaggeration backfired and was proved to be entirely false – read here for more information.

We would call it the the beginning of the end of Ortega’s credibility, but by this point it seems pretty clear Tony Ortega never had much in the first place.

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