Sunday, July 30, 2017

Kurt Eichenwald's White Privilege

"A New York Times reporter [Kurt Eichenwald] not only gave money to a child pornographer, but did business with him and even signed on to an illegal porn website as a member and administrator, documents unsealed yesterday in a federal criminal proceeding in Nashville reveal. He claims in one court document, he only 'posed' as a pedophile." Counterpunch 2007

Just when I begin to think that my web surfing and social media usage are time sucking addictions, I sometimes find out something very useful from these activities. Hence the addiction. Bear with me as I weave a tale of privilege and how white people can get away with doing terrible things without risk to their lives or careers.

First, let's observe how black people are treated when they do things they should not. Janet Cooke was a Washington Post reporter who fabricated a story about a child drug addict in 1981. Unfortunately for Cooke, the story won a Pulitzer prize. She was fired and never worked as a journalist again. Jayson Blair was a New York Times reporter. He fabricated stories and was fired in 2003. He has not worked as a journalist since that time. As I said, Cooke and Blair are both black.

Kurt Eichenwald was a New York Times reporter. In 2007 it was discovered that he administered a child porn website and paid an 18-year old who appeared on that site $2,000. Debbie Nathan reported the story in Counterpunch 2007. But others like New York Magazine excused Eichenwald and repeated his claim of wanting to save a child from the porn industry.

Eichenwald was forced to leave the Times but he went on to Newsweek and to Vanity Fair. He has also been a contributor to MSNBC. The child sex scandal was a bump in an otherwise successful career.

In 2016 Eichenwald libeled Bill Moran, then a reporter at Sputnik News. Moran was reporting on the DNC email hack and mistakenly attributed an Eichenwald quote to Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal. He realized his mistake within 20 minutes and deleted his post. But in the fast world of the internet it was still too late. Donald Trump quoted the incorrect information at a rally that very day. Eichenwald and Newsweek claimed that Moran's error proved a link between Trump and the Kremlin. Eichenwald retweeted what Moran himself admitted was a mistake more than 37 times. Newsweek and Eichenwald continued to use Moran's mistake as proof of a Trump/Kremlin connection even though they knew the story was reported as false almost immediately.

Moran lost his job at Sputnik. In a series of emails Eichenwald threatened Moran if he went public but sweetened the deal with an offer to help him find another gig. As I said, the child sex scandal didn't hurt Eichenwald. He still had connections to offer up.

Unfortunately for Eichenwald, Moran is also an attorney. He represented himself in court and succeeded in getting a settlement from Newsweek.

I also discovered that Eichenwald's porn interest continues. He took a photo of his computer which showed he had accessed something called tentacle porn. I have no idea what that is. I don't want to know. Don't tell me what it is. It isn't my business but Eichenwald revealed it himself and then used his wife and kids as his excuse. For real.

So what does any of this have to do with white privilege? I started out by saying that Cooke and Blair never worked again. Ever. Eichenwald administered a child porn site and kept working as a journalist. Newsweek knew he lied in libeling another journalist and assisted him in telling what they all knew to be a lie.

It appears that Eichenwald is no longer at Newsweek. He doesn't mention it on his twitter profile. He still lists himself as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair however.

So I'll just cut to the chase. White people can get away with a lot and never pay a price. Eichenwald has apparently departed Newsweek but I'm guessing he didn't leave empty handed.

Eichenwald had powerful defenders and friends who helped him keep working whether he paid for child porn or libeled a fellow journalist. Cooke and Blair can't get arrested all these years after their mistakes.

And that my friends is what white privilege is all about.