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Monday, August 21, 2017

The Leftwing Thought Police Department Gets Nasty

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ProPublica and the Alt-Left’s New Tactic: Tortious Interference with Contractual Relations

 

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Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.               


UPDATE
 

ProPublica’s attempt at tortious interference with contract has failed as to Jihad Watch, which was featured in the Kirchner, et al. faux “investigative journalism” report, consisting of regurgitated SPLC/ADL propaganda and an EXCEL spreadsheet listing 57 groups, including The Remnant, as “hate groups” whose accounts PayPal was apparently expected to terminate based on ProPublica’s flimsy presentation of non-evidence.

While PayPal temporarily suspended Jihad Watch’s account immediately following receipt of the results of ProPublica’s sham “investigation,” it quickly reversed that decision after a storm of protests and account cancellations by Jihad Watch supporters.   

Cue laughing trombone.

ProPublica also cut off the comment thread to its report after only 73 comments, nearly all of which condemned ProPublica for its ham-handed effort to punish Unapproved Opinion.

The almost total lack of supportive comments indicates that ProPublica has no real constituency and is merely a creature of Leftist foundation largesse—in this case, the Sandler Foundation, funded by Soros allies Herbert and Marion Sandler, major supporters of the Soros empire of some 527 far-Left front groups. As ProPublica’s website states: “The Sandler Foundation made a major, multi-year commitment to fund ProPublica at launch.”

In short, ProPublica is no “independent investigative newsroom” but just another alt-Left façade, propped up by foundation money without which it could never survive. 


The email from an outfit called ProPublica arrived in the Remnant’s inbox at 2:08 PM with a “deadline” of 5 PM. Sent by one Lauren Kirchner, the email reads as follows:

Hello Remnant, 

I am a reporter at ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative newsroom in New York. I am contacting you to let you know that we are including your website in a list of sites that have been designated as hate or extremist by the American Defamation League or the Southern Poverty Law Center. We have identified all the tech platforms that are supporting websites on the ADL and SPLC lists.

We would like to ask you a few questions:

1) Do you disagree with the designation of your website as hate or extremist? Why?

2) We identified two tech companies on your website: PayPal, and AdPeeps. Can you confirm that you receive funds from your relationship with those tech companies? How would the loss of those funds affect your operations, and how would you be able to replace them?

3) Have you been shut down by other tech companies for being an alleged hate or extremist web site? Which companies?

4) Many people opposed to sites like yours are currently pressuring tech companies to cease their relationships with them - what is your view of this campaign? Why?

Our deadline is 5pm EST today.

Thank you,
Lauren Kirchner

As the tone and content of the email should make clear, Kirchner is not acting as a “reporter” engaged in traditional journalism for a news organ with subscribers, but rather as a foundation-subsidized ideological operative whose political activism is aimed at suppressing speech deemed unacceptable by the Leftwing Thought Police Department (LTPD) of the alt-Left establishment. That establishment includes the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ADL, whose baseless accusations of “hate” Kirchner merely recirculates, disguising her leftwing political activism with the trappings of a “nonprofit investigative newsroom.” Insofar as this subject is concerned, Kirchner has “investigated” nothing, for that would involve real journalistic work, which takes a lot of time and digging for facts as opposed to snippy emails with three-hour deadlines in support of the predetermined conclusion that the SPLC’s and the ADL’s targets must all be destroyed.  

Like her fellow “investigative journalists,” Kirchner is a member of the Fake News Industrial Complex (FNIC), including CNN, NBC, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, the New York Times and The Washington Post. While its leftist bias was always apparent, the FNIC has fully unmasked itself as an immense leftwing propaganda machine with its 24/7 promotion of the “Trump-Russia collusion” fantasy for nearly a year. 

But the longest running fake news story the Left has ever concocted is rapidly deflating as the FNIC exhausts its supply of evidence-free hot air.  And now there are indications that it was not Russia, but Debby Wasserman Schultz’s IT guys—a veritable Pakistani crime family— who “hacked our democracy,” meaning the DNC’s email account, rife with evidence of Hillary Clinton’s corruption. 

No matter, the FNIC has already moved on to the next fake news narrative: Trump the neo-Nazi, white supremacist sympathizer, whose Presidency of course cannot survive after the violence in Charlottesville, which he failed to deplore with the correct formula, or with the correct formula recited in time, or with the correct formula recited both timely and sincerely. Or whatever it takes to destroy Trump—and if not this, then something else, surely.  

The FNIC is the Pravda of the alt-Left establishment, an ultimate embodiment of that tyranny of public opinion originating in post-revolutionary America (cf. Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, I.II.7), which now dominates the sociopolitical arena of the entire post-Christian West.

At any rate, herewith my reply to Kirchner’s demand—sent 56 minutes past her three-hour deadline (one does what one can):

Dear Ms. Kirchner:

In reply to your email to The Remnant (see below), be advised as follows:

1.   The allegation that The Remnant, a fifty-year old Catholic newspaper, is “a hate group” according to the SPLC, a left-wing propaganda organization known for its reckless accusations against conservative groups, is as laughable as it is malicious.  Indeed, the SPLC equates the teachings of the Catholic Church itself with “hate."

2.   Here is The Remnant’s most recent response to this ridiculous accusation: http://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/3349-a-profile-in-fake-news-wcco-tv-links-the-remnant-to-charlottesville-white-supremacists   The response was prompted by a local TV news story by a reporter who failed to mention that her supposedly corroborative source, a sociologist at a Catholic university, in fact told her that The Remnant is NOT a “hate group,” contrary to the SPLC’s libelous claim.  The sociologist is quite dismayed by this evidently malicious omission. 

3.  We hereby advise you that we expect you to preserve all records of communications of any kind, in electronic form or otherwise, between you, your organization, PayPal and AdPeeps.  We will consider those records relevant to any interference with The Remnant’s longstanding relationship with those companies, and will view their destruction as spoliation of evidence.  We include in this demand any records of telephone contacts, including notes of conversations with representatives of PayPal or AdPeeps.

Sincerely,
Christopher A. Ferrara
Pro bono legal counsel for The Remnant
Admitted NY, NJ and SC 


As paragraph 3 of my reply indicates, the LTPD has settled upon the tactic of tortious interference with contractual relations on which conservative speakers may depend in providing digital content via the Web. The idea is to induce PayPal, Facebook and other Web-based services to choke off the revenue streams of the individuals and groups targeted for censorship based on nothing more than gratuitous accusations of “hate” and “extremism,” meaning disagreement with the FNIC’s leftwing party line.  

Leaving no doubt of tortious intent, ProPublica’s article—following less than 24 hours after its emailed demand for information on three hours’ notice—reveals a “methodology” according to which reputable conservative groups smeared by SPLC or ADL, including The Remnant, were ranked according to Web traffic and then included in a spreadsheet sent off to PayPal and other tech companies. 

This is a blatant attempt to intimidate PayPal and other Web services into ending their contractual relations with the targeted groups­—for no other reason than that they are falsely accused of “hate” or “extremism” by SPLC/ADL. Again, neither Kirchner nor her fellow “investigative journalists” conducted any independent investigation of the “hate group” designations, which they merely collated in spreadsheet form.

An update to the article admits that “In response to ProPublica’s inquiries, PayPal spokesman Justin Higgs said in a statement that the company ‘strives to conscientiously assess activity and review accounts reported to us.’” That is, PayPal states that, after multiple contacts from ProPublica, it is reviewing the websites of the groups ProPublica has “reported” based on a mere rote repackaging of SPLC/ADL’s already well-known defamatory falsehoods.  

Should PayPal or other service provider terminate its contractual relations with any of the targeted groups (including The Remnant) based on ProPublica’s sham “investigative journalism,” there might well be a viable cause of action against ProPublica and its “reporters” for tortious interference with contractual relations. While formulations of this sort vary from state-to-state, the basic elements, as summarized by the Cornell Legal Information Institute, are: (1) that a valid contract existed, (2) that defendant had knowledge of the contract, (3) that defendant acted intentionally and improperly, and (4) that plaintiff was injured by the defendant’s actions. 

I would suggest that every victim or potential victim of ProPublica’s witch-hunt, as well as similar operations conducted by other elements of the FNIC and the LTPD, consult legal counsel about possible claims for tortious interference with contractual relations. 

Meanwhile, with good reason has Tucker Carlson argued that the time has come to treat the Internet as a quasi-governmental space subject to regulation as a public utility, including enforcement of First Amendment protections. The growing tyranny of Google, Facebook and other Internet giants, aided and abetted by Brown Shirts at organizations like ProPublica (which is just another version of the SPLC), is a prime example of how the unbridled “free market” uses government-subsidized infrastructure to obtain monopoly power on a quasi-governmental scale while evading regulation and Constitutional protections under the guise of “private” ownership.

How Tucker’s idea could be implemented without unforeseen consequences worse than the problem to be solved is another matter for another day.  At present, however, the victims of organizations like ProPublica are not entirely without legal remedies, despite the almost insuperable difficulty of maintaining a claim for defamation under American law where the plaintiff is a public figure.  

Nor is the court of public opinion without value in resisting the Left’s attempted digital purge of Unapproved Opinion. ProPublica’s article elicited overwhelmingly negative comments, including this one: “The Left just realized an open marketplace of ideas is not to their benefit anymore. In spite of their almost total control of the mainstream press, there is still the little problem of the Internet free speech. Sorry to inform you, Leftists, but jack-booted censorship tactics will backfire on you and you will lose the next election too.”

We can only hope this is so.  For if the Left wins the next election, we might well see the outright criminalization of Unapproved Opinion in the mode of Canada and the EU, and the digital purge may become a purge that ends in a jail cell. 

Remnant Editor’s Note: We are exploring our legal options, obviously, and have consulted a large law firm that has experience with the SPLC. This fight will be costly in terms of time and treasure, but I’m convinced it must be fought. This is all about a perverse and hateful attempt to conflate Christianity with Nazis, the KKK and similar actual hate groups.  It’s about crushing Christianity’s free speech in America -- freedom of the press, freedom of religion. Please help us fight back by donating to our tax exempt Remnant Foundation. We are already receiving threatening telephone calls and emails, of course, and would very much appreciate your prayers for God’s help and protection during this new 'reign of terror'. MJM

 

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Read 8649 times Last modified on Monday, August 21, 2017
Christopher A. Ferrara

Christopher A. Ferrara: President and lead counsel for the American Catholic Lawyers Inc., Mr. Ferrara has been at the forefront of the legal defense of pro-lifers for the better part of a quarter century. Having served with the legal team for high profile victims of the culture of death such as Terri Schiavo, he has long since distinguished him a premier civil rights Catholic lawyer.  Mr. Ferrara has been a lead columnist for The Remnant since 2000 and has authored several books published by The Remnant Press, including the bestseller The Great Façade. Together with his children and wife, Wendy, he lives in Richmond, Virginia.

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