FILE – This July 27, 2006 arrest file photo made available by the Palm Beach, Fla., Sheriff’s Office shows Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein, a wealthy financier and convicted sex offender, has been arrested in New York on sex trafficking charges. Two law enforcement officials said Epstein was taken into federal custody Saturday, July 6, 2019, on charges involving sex-trafficking allegations that date to the 2000s. (AP Photo/Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, File)
The desire to have everything attached to the deceased pedophile ringleader is ensnaring more than hoped-for targets.
It happened with an alacrity that we have not seen since the heyday of the #MeToo movement. On Friday in The New Yorker Ronan Farrow had an expose printed that revealed how The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab had been found to be taking donations from the now-deceased Jeffry Epstein. More than simply having taken funds from a donor believed to be a pedophile Farrow exposed that the Media Lab had taken additional funding from the billionaire after his criminal involvements were reported.
Epstein had been listed as ”Disqualified” regarding his donor status at the school, yet not only did officials continue to accept his largesse, but when alerted about it and told the money was not to be accepted steps were taken to veil the donations. Despite the story breaking in what is commonly seen as the ”document dump’’ period before a soft weekend cycle, the announcement came down in less than a day that Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab, had tendered his resignation.
To get a sense of how extensive the tendrils of academia are in the publishing realm, and by extension politics, Ito’s involvement here exposes much. Ito was also on the board of the New York Times — a position he has also stepped down from already. Then we see the repercussions radiating from this story throughout the media elites and academia, and it shows how the desire to use Epstein as a political cudgel can lead to the infamous circular firing squad.
Soon after Farrow’s story broke a website petition was set up on Friday, with hundreds of colleagues signing on in support of Ito. It was a knee-jerk response, as these elites did not allow for the full story to come out. That list can be seen here.
By Saturday the full revelation of facts came to be known, Ito resigned, and this list of backers has been taken down in an attempt to memory-hole their support. This is but some of the fallout that will take place when the desire to go forward with details is not fully considered. With many in the media looking to use Epstein as a political weapon to go after President Trump, as well as other potential targets, what some fail to heed is that Epstein had far-reaching contacts across the political and campus spectrums.
Then as if the impetuous move by the Ito acolytes was completely disregarded Jay Rosen from the NYU Journalism School rushed headlong into the story, and promptly made a professional face-plant. Rosen raced in with the charge that the New York Times knew of Ito’s issues but sat on the story, speculating this was done on behalf of him acting as a board member.
Following what some people regard as best practice (other people disagree) I have deleted the original tweet that had five, "We know…" sentences. I said it showed poor judgment and I apologized for it. By deleting it, you stop it from spreading further. Here's a screenshot. pic.twitter.com/pFhiVGRPyy
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) September 8, 2019
Rosen has had to not only walk back his claims but issue apologies, as it was learned that the source of the Ito intel only alerted The Times after thee Farrow story broke. While there is some applause to give for Rosen coming clean and removing the original claim, we still need to look objectively at his actions. He not only a teacher of journalism at an elite university on the subject, but he works in the heart of the publishing center, and he fashions himself a critic of the press. Yet here he is falling prey to the very actions he is purportedly charged with analyzing.
This entire weekend has been a marvelous reveal of the state of journalism these days. The rush to judgement, the lack of vetting stories, and the power of the assumptive thought process were all on display, and done so by the very elite minds who claim to have the moral high ground on these same issues. Their willingness to sidestep the normal journalistic ethics, and while doing so in the reporting of one of their own, is a sign of just how deep the problems in the industry run.