I’m a member of the press. I believe everyone has the right to share their stories. Former Congresswoman Katie Hill’s op-ed in The New York Times is a function of that right and I fully support it. However, in order to defend the integrity of our reporter Jennifer Van Laar, I feel it is important that Hill’s narrative does not go unchallenged.
While we may all feel some measure of sympathy for the embarrassing circumstances she involved herself in, it must be reiterated that Hill is not a victim. She was a sitting congresswoman who violated the House ethics rules she herself voted for. You cannot sleep with the people who work for you. End of story. Furthermore, the #MeToo movement exposed the dangers of an unequal relationship between an employer and the person who depends on said employer for their living. If you want women to have equal representation, the rules must also apply to them equally. While she may deny some of the allegations, the fact remains that a mere four days after the House announced they would be launching an investigation into her violations, Hill resigned of her own accord. She chose to step down rather than be vindicated. Perhaps she knew there was no vindication to come, because she knew what she did.
Hill spins a moving yarn about Pelosi not wanting her to resign, but again that feels like narrative-building rather than truth. The left’s reaction to Pelosi wagging her finger at a reporter who asked her if she hated Trump is all you need to know about Pelosi’s well-earned reputation. There is a reason Nancy Pelosi is ostensibly the most powerful woman in America – this is a woman who handles her business. Nothing happens on the Democrat side of Congress without Pelosi’s blessing, a right she has spent decades earning. If she truly did not want her congresswoman to resign, then Katie Hill would still be there. We’ve seen the Democrats go to the mat for a baseless impeachment that is steeped in hearsay and innuendo. Are we to believe Pelosi and company don’t have the resolve or energy to defend a completely innocent freshman congresswoman from what she claims are baseless charges?
No. That’s silly and we all know it. Pelosi was either already aware of or made aware of Hill’s misconduct and acted accordingly. She knows the stakes in 2020 and she was cutting dead weight. Pelosi had the power to keep Hill right where she was. She didn’t. That speaks volumes.
I sympathize with Hill’s frustration with harassing media. To be clear, while RedState broke the story, we were not nor would we ever be a part of such aggressive reporting tactics and I find it abhorrent that anyone would resort to following and frightening her extended family just to feed the media beast.
Katie Hill is not the only person dealing with such fallout. In fact, Van Laar is from the same community as Hill, and she has been mercilessly attacked by Hill’s proxies and libeled by Hill herself. She is a single mother and business owner. Her family has been harassed and threatened. Her children, one of whom is a minor, have had to face online harassment. She has been forced to beef up security around her home. After repeated hack attempts she’s had to completely reconstruct her online privacy protocol, including taking extra measures to protect her financial accounts, which have also been subject to hack attempts. Her business has suffered, and she has been made the subject of a smear campaign in the very community she depends on to support herself and her family.
And for what? For publishing embarrassing photos? No. For telling the truth. Our reporter literally did the job the mainstream media refused to do. Hill claims her scandal was the result of a “coordinated campaign” by RedState, Van Laar, and her political opponents. Nothing could be further from the truth. What she witnessed was not a “coordinated campaign”…it was journalism.
One very important fact has been left out in nearly all the coverage of this story. Katie Hill was the vice-chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and she sat on the the Armed Services Committee. She was privy to some of the most sensitive national security information in our government. It is imperative that the people who occupy those committee assignments not be vulnerable to bribes or corruption. Hill’s ethics violations made her an easy target.
In another era, publications like The New York Times would have been digging into such a threat. After Woodward and Bernstein broke Watergate, investigating government corruption became the clarion call for every legitimate and aspiring reporter in the business. Mainstream reporters,to this day, are fond of portraying themselves as “truth tellers.” The ‘Grey Lady’ and her compatriots will spend a week digging into whether or not a meme Trump tweets out is photoshopped but they have completely acquiesced all professional curiosity about nearly every other part of our day-to-day governmental process. This was a story made for national headlines, and yet every single mainstream publication punted. It was left to a single mother and freelance journalist from a small town to report the truth. That took a serious set of stones, and yet at a time when she should be winning awards for the old-fashioned, hardscrabble, shoe-leather journalism that broke this ethics scandal she is having to defend herself and her family against threats, accusations, and professional smears.
Jim Acosta spends all day every day railing about “attacks” on the free press, and how Trump is endangering the lives and professions of good, honest reporters who only want to tell the truth. I often laugh at his overdramatic, self-aggrandizing victim routine. However, if Acosta wants to see an instance of true press suppression, he need look no further than our own reporter.
Unsurprisingly, we’ve heard nothing but crickets from the likes of the Acosta set.
And one final note about THE PICTURES: We thought long and carefully about the images and the consequences. Our concern was exactly the concern that everyone else has expressed. We did not want to shame anyone for their personal romantic choices. We chose to publish only two images as proof of a relationship. Nothing else. Without the images and the accompanying texts there would never have been a story. It would have been a reporter making very serious allegations with no evidence. That might be how they operate at The New York Times, but that is not how we do business here at RedState. Hill’s personal sexual proclivities were never the subject of our investigation and remain meaningless. This was an issue of government corruption, a #MeToo era scandal worthy of exposure. Nothing more. Certainly nothing less.
Hill is spinning her misconduct into what is essentially a job interview for a career in media or activism. I don’t blame her at all. A girl’s gotta eat. She can say and do what she wants now. She is a private citizen thanks to her own actions and the stellar reporting of our journalist. However, her false narrative of victimhood cannot go unchallenged publicly. Hill’s scandal was of her own making. I’m sorry that it had to end so embarrassingly for her, but she’s very young and she’s learning a lesson we’ve all had to learn, though few of us must face the nightmare of learning it so publicly and that is: your actions have consequences and adulthood means bearing those consequences, however painful.
Anyone who thinks this is a case of “revenge porn” has not read our story or seen the evidence against Hill. I urge you to review the facts. Our editorial team is 50% female, and our writing staff skews about the same way. We do not take such charges lightly. Our choice was measured and appropriate and I’ve made my case for it. We do not nor will we ever support “revenge porn”. We do support basing serious claims in evidence and that’s what we’ve done.
Hill can spin all she wants, but she knows what she did and that’s exactly why she’s writing op-eds in The New York Times instead of sitting in Congress right now.