Tony Ortega’s policy: If you can’t win the argument with facts, start slinging dirt


Back before certain voices in the current political administration began attacking Deputy Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice, Rod Rosenstein, in an apparent attempt to discredit him, another desperate voice sought to similarly influence the narrative surrounding an on-going investigation through mudslinging. The name of that seemingly prescient propagandist? Tony Ortega, of course!

According to Gawker, Tony Ortega, then editor-in-chief of the Village Voice, had no shortage of reasons to want to protect the interests of his dying publication-turned-human trafficking site.

On April 23, 2011, The Washington Times ran a story on sex trafficking with statistics and a special mention to the online trafficking:

U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein in Maryland said the sex trafficking of minors is a top priority of his office, but bringing offenders to justice has become more difficult in recent years. He said the traffickers’ use of the Internet has made it harder to locate their victims, meaning that many of the girls and young women are no longer on the street or at truck stops where law enforcement can see them.”

The Washington Times – Saturday, April 23, 2011

Clearly, it was Tony Ortega and his ilk Rosenstein, then U.S. Attorney for the state of Maryland, had in mind when he drew this line in the sand. Through months of controversy, Ortega remained silent until female reporter Amber Lyon ran a piece drawing a straight line from Rosenstein’s report to Ortega’s Backpage.

It was only then that Ortega would fight back, publishing a tirade targeting Lyon while obliquely addressing the numerous complaints explicitly cited in Rosenstein’s report.

Perhaps it was easier for him to try and bully a woman than a sitting U.S. Attorney?

The cowardly indirectness employed by Tony Ortega in the form personal attacks and rage-fueled character assignation is nothing new for Ortega. It’s his favorite form of critical engagement, in fact. Ortega’s operating policy is: If you can’t win the argument with facts, start slinging dirt until the waters are muddy.

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