I’ve written before about the gutter tactics that are sometimes employed by the Daily Beast in efforts to “own” public figures their reporters don’t like, including the one time they published a vicious hit piece on South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem that practically accused her of killing her own grandmother with her COVID policies.
At least in that instance, however, they were directly criticizing a politician, and politicians are definitely fair game for critical reporting regardless of whether or not one agrees with the criticisms.
But in a more recent and far more troubling example of what’s increasingly become the Daily Beast’s more tabloid-style type of “reporting,” one of their writers took it upon himself to actually dox a random guy on spring break in Florida, digging deeply into personal information about the man’s private life that was not necessary to make his “point” – and all in an effort to COVID-shame Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The website’s official Twitter account promo’d the story this way:
NEW: We unmasked the Spring Break Joker and he’s a COVID truther https://t.co/B2IQe6VRiP
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) March 25, 2021
The writer of the piece, Francisco Alvarado, was a little more open about the reasons behind the article, quoting the so-called “Spring Break Joker” (who we’ll call SBJ throughout this story) talking about how DeSantis “invited” him to Florida, and how the COVID guidelines “were a joke.” He proudly has this tweet pinned to the top of his Twitter page:
Meet The Joker turning up Miami Beach spring break: “We were invited to come down here by the governor,” the wannabe influencer told The Daily Beast.
“When it comes to COVID and the guidelines, it’s all a joke. It’s all propaganda,” he addedhttps://t.co/KaHZQhvgrM
— francisco alvarado (@thefrankness) March 25, 2021
The so-called “Spring Break Joker” was sought out by Alvarado after a 21-second video of him celebrating in Florida while yelling “F*cking COVIDs over baby! F*ck that sh*t!” went viral on social media over the weekend.
The SBJ was interviewed by Alvarado, who got the unsuspecting “wannabe influencer” to not only spout off conspiracy theories but to also reveal that he’d had marital problems in the past. It was a split with his wife, in part, that inspired the SBJ to travel and take on the “persona of the Joker to protest COVID restrictions and lockdowns.”
The SBJ did not want to give his real name to Alvarado, instead preferring to go by the pseudonym “Lace.” But the SBJ’s request for Alvarado to at least respect that part of his privacy was ignored, because Alvarado had a narrative to push, namely, that the folks DeSantis was allegedly influencing to come to Florida to flout local COVID restrictions were essentially co-conspirators in his supposed misinformation war about the dangers of COVID.
Alvarado proceeded to doxx the SBJ:
“A search of public records databases and social media accounts connected him to a 34-year-old Chicago man named [redacted]. A LinkedIn account associated with that name describes a “versatile, driven manager with a talent for hospitality management and a focus on exceptional customer service.”
The self-described “freelance journalist” then tracked down the SBJ again to confirm it was him. “Yeah that’s me,” he said when asked about his legal name. “I don’t give out my name to protect myself from identity theft from people I don’t know. But obviously, you can find who I am if you search the internet.”
In the piece, Alvarado yo-yo’d back and forth between alleging the SBJ was a liar and nutcase as well as peppering in commentary from supposed “medical experts” about how DeSantis’ rhetoric about COVID can lead to people like the SBJ going off on tangents and spreading baseless conspiracy theories about the coronavirus.
“Spokespeople for DeSantis did not respond to email requests for comment for this story,” Alvarado noted at one point, as though that was supposed to be some black mark against DeSantis instead of a point in his favor that his spokespeople did not provide comment for a trash hit piece on a private citizen in an effort to “own” the governor.
There was tons of understandable pushback against Alvarado’s actions and the Daily Beast’s decision to publish the piece, with many pointing to how just recently the DB and other media websites went nuts after Tucker Carlson criticized New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz and had the nerve to use her name on his program:
Just a week ago everyone at the Daily Beast went crazy because Tucker used a NYTs reporters full name on the air…… https://t.co/Aht3UICKKV
— NevilleTheCat (@FearTheFloof) March 25, 2021
We had a mass freakout from people in the press for weeks over "harassment" against certain journalists due to them being called out by others. Where are the same people on a news outlet doxing and smearing some random guy and exposing him to inevitable harassment?
— AG (@AGHamilton29) March 25, 2021
Tucker Carlson says a journalist's name on television and it's "inciting violence" against her.
News outlets dox private citizens in viral videos and it's "reporting." https://t.co/kecW7dofil
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 25, 2021
Exceptionally sleazy “journalism” by @thedailybeast. The guy they “unmasked” is an oddball who went viral for 5 minutes whom they wanted to use to frame all dissident COVID views as harmful. But that wasn’t enough so they had to publish his name despite it not being newsworthy. https://t.co/J8538iED2Z
— John William Sherrod (@jwsherrod) March 25, 2021
Media: We don’t deserve to be subjected to online harassment and criticism.
Media again: Let’s ruin some random person’s life for blowing off some steam. https://t.co/6ow49ykXEk
— #NotMyPineapplePizza (@Sarge_87) March 25, 2021
He should've said the magic words "I'm doing this for justice for George Floyd" and they would've left him alone, or maybe hired him. https://t.co/pyr9ruzkNE
— Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) March 25, 2021
— The Doctor (@TennantRob) March 25, 2021
Journalism is indeed dead if so-called “journalists” are resorting to doxxing random imperfect people on the street in order to use them as proxies in their wars against politicians they don’t like.
I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised to see garbage “journalism” like this coming from the DB, though, considering the fact that disgraced Never Trumper Rick Wilson, a smear merchant in his own right if there ever was one, is part of the editorial team.
That, in and of itself, speaks volumes, and none of it good.