Good Reporting

If you go on Twitter, you will find the reactionary crowd of flying monkeys squealing in porcine outrage because a reporter at the Washington Post wrote a story about a formerly online anonymous Twitter user who has been doing their best to get their followers to engage in violence against out members of the LGBTQ community with the help of Joe Rogan and Tucker Carlson.

They are offended that Taylor Lorenz reported on the anonymous poster, and confirmed her identity as Chaya Raichik.*

They are mortified that she attempted to talk to Ms. Raichik in person and knocked on her door, and further confirmed her status by walking up to the doors of her relatives and getting confirmation as to her identity.

She actually walked up to the door, and knocked on it, and asked questions! Merciful heavens.

What can you call outrageous behavior like that?

Gee, I dunno, maybe you call it, “Shoe Leather Journalism.”

Yes, shoe leather journalism is a good thing, but these days, reporters want their anonymous sources to meet them in parking garages, because it’s too much damn work.

Let me be clear here, posts by Chaya Raichik (and her Evil Minions™, are an explicit attempt to encourage violence against members of the LGBTQ community. It is stochastic terrorism, where there is an attempt whip up enough hysteria that someone out there will engage in violence.

“Libs of TikTok,” did not know who would do this, and did not when it would be done, but they knew that it would happen to someone that they targeted as, “Groomers,” and the like, much in the same way Bill O’Reilly was calling for someone to assassinate Dr. George Tiller when he described the doctor as a, “Baby Killer.”

This is deliberate incitement through statistics, and while not technically illegal, the 1st Amendment makes doing so very difficult, anyone who does this should be named, and then shamed and shunned by polite society:

On March 8, a Twitter account called Libs of TikTok posted a video of a woman teaching sex education to children in Kentucky, calling the woman in the video a “predator.” The next evening, the same clip was featured on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News program, prompting the host to ask, “When did our public schools, any schools, become what are essentially grooming centers for gender identity radicals?”

Libs of TikTok reposts a steady stream of TikTok videos and social media posts, primarily from LGBTQ+ people, often including incendiary framing designed to generate outrage. Videos shared from the account quickly find their way to the most influential names in right-wing media. The account has emerged as a powerful force on the Internet, shaping right-wing media, impacting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and influencing millions by posting viral videos aimed at inciting outrage among the right.

………

The account has been promoted by podcast host Joe Rogan, and it’s been featured in the New York Post, the Federalist, the Post Millennial and a slew of other right-wing news sites. Meghan McCain has retweeted it. The online influencer Glenn Greenwald has amplified it to his 1.8 million Twitter followers while calling himself the account’s “Godfather.” Last Thursday, the woman behind the account appeared anonymously on Tucker Carlson’s show to complain about being temporarily suspended for violating Twitter’s community guidelines. Fox News often creates news packages around the content that Libs of TikTok has surfaced.

………

Just four months after getting started, Libs of TikTok got its big break: Joe Rogan started promoting the account to the millions of listeners of his hit podcast. He mentioned it several times on the show in August, then again in late September. “Libs of TikTok is one of the greatest f — -ing accounts of all time,” he said. With his seal of approval, Raichik’s following skyrocketed.

Libs of TikTok gained more prominence throughout the end of last year, cementing its spot in the right-wing media outrage cycle. Its attacks on the LGBTQ+ community also escalated. By January, Raichik’s page was leaning hard into “groomer” discourse, calling for any teacher who comes out as gay to their students to be “fired on the spot.”

Her anti-trans tweets went especially viral. She called on her followers to contact schools that were allowing “boys in the girls bathrooms” and pushed the false conspiracy theory that schools were installing litter boxes in bathrooms for children who identify as cats. She also purported that adults who teach children about LGBTQ+ identities are “abusive,” that being gender-nonconforming or an ally to the LGBTQ+ community is a “mental illness,” and referred to schools as “government run indoctrination camps” for the LGBTQ+ community.

………

As the account has grown in prominence, Raichik has taken steps to obscure her identity. Though she has done numerous high-profile media appearances, she’s appeared anonymously. However, when registering the domain LibsofTikTok.us last October, she used her full name and cellphone number linked to her real estate salesperson contact information.

……….

When a reporter called the phone number registered to Raichik’s real estate profile and LibofTikTok.us, the woman who answered hung up after the reporter identified herself as calling from The Washington Post. A woman at the address listed to Raichik’s name in Los Angeles declined to identify herself. On Monday night, a tweet from Glenn Greenwald confirmed the house that was visited belonged to Raichik’s family.

Though Raichik has claimed to run the account alone, last August Grant Lally, a lawyer and Republican operative, filed a trademark for Libs of TikTok as a “news reporter service.” Lally said he is “not at liberty” to comment when reached by The Post.

………

While Libs of TikTok briefly had a TikTok account of its own, it was suspended for violating community guidelines. Last week, the account was briefly suspended from Twitter for a second time for violating the platform’s rules on targeted harassment.

………

Tyler Wrynn, a former English teacher in Oklahoma, posted a video telling LGBTQ kids shunned by their parents that Wrynn was “proud of them” and loved them; it was featured on Libs of TikTok last week. Since being featured on the page Wrynn has been barraged with harassment and death threats.

Harassment and death threats are the goal of Libs of TikTok. This is not an accident.

Violence and intimidation is the goal.

………

On a recent podcast, Raichik said that as her following continues to grow, the fullest extent of her impact may not be realized until the elections this fall. She has encouraged her audience to overtake school boards and run in local elections. “These people,” she said, referring to members of LGBTQ+ community, “some of them are literally evil and grooming kids, they should not be in schools, they should not be teachers.”

This is a specific call to violence, but it is not specific enough to cross over the line into illegality, so maybe we stick with shaming and shunning.

*Just to clear here, she is Jewish, and she is a shanda fur die goyim, and had she she been in Egyp[t, she would not have been redeemed.†
†To be clear, while I believe that her behavior is contemptible, I not in any way shape or form calling her a Rodef .(Hebrew: רודף, literally a “pursuer”) That would be an explicit encouragement to violence, and I do not do that. She is an embarrassment, not a רודף.

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