Source: Grant Baker
Weeks after the New York Times failed in its motion to dismiss Project Veritas’s defamation suit, the NYT was forced to answer the allegations in writing. The answers were recently made public. Though carefully tailored to reveal as little as possible, the answers betray incredible insight as to how the “Newspaper of Record” works behind the scenes, as well as the division of labor in the manufacturing of American political propaganda.
In September 2020, Project Veritas ran a story featuring unedited video clips of Mr. Liban Mohamed, a Minneapolis political operative working for Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, conducting an illegal ballot-harvesting racket and bragging about it in his native language of Somali. The videos, taken and uploaded to social media by Mr. Mohamed himself, feature stacks of ballots in his vehicle as he boasts “numbers dont lie!” and “All these here are absentee ballots. Can’t you see? Look at these — my car is full.” “Money is the king in this world … and a campaign is driven by money.” In another video, Mr. Mohamed flaunts a stack of ballots in his hand as he burns the midnight oil: “Two in the morning. Still hustling.”
In response, Maggie Astor of the NYT wrote an article claiming that the “deceptive video” made claims “through unidentified sources and with no verifiable evidence” and “was probably part of a coordinated disinformation effort.” The article also contained false claims about the legality of ballot-harvesting, despite Minneapolis law stating that no person may be a designated agent for more than three voters to handle their ballots. The article was placed in the “A” news section and subsequently transmitted these defamatory claims to tens of millions of direct readers.
The damage did not stop there. The article was subsequently quoted by USA Today and other “independent fact-checkers” used by Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other “Big Tech” companies, which drew up notifications, red flags, ranking penalties, and other tools to suppress and delegitimize the voter fraud story while defaming Project Veritas.
Publicly, the NYT stood by its journalism, but under oath, its agents admitted that there was no journalism. “Defendants admit that Ms. Astor, her editors, and The Times did not reach out to Mr. Mohammed, Mr. Jamal, or Mr. Awed for comment” despite their being required to by their own Editorial Standards and Guidelines on Integrity.
The NYT also admitted knowing that ballot-harvesting in Minnesota is illegal despite saying otherwise in its article. Additionally, the “Times’s lawyers asserted that certain challenged statements in the Astor Article were plainly opinion and not actionable as a matter of law,” yet the article did not appear in the opinion section. The NYT “admit that Ms. Astor is not an opinion writer for The Times and is a political reporter.”
The most stunning admission by the NYT was its defense against Project Veritas’s assertion that its reporters and editors acted with reckless or actual malice in their haste to publish the defamatory story. “The court finds that the documentary evidence submitted by Defendants fails to refute plaintiff’s factual allegations. Notably, Veritas documented in its complaint metadata and screen shots that demonstrate the unlikelihood that Ms. Astor read and digested the EIP report/blog post, reviewed news reports on Minnesota ballot issues, viewed the Video online, obtained comment from Alex Stamos, wrote her own Article, submitted it to her editors, and had it posted online, all within 63 minutes.”
In response, the NYT answered:
Defendants admit that researchers from Stanford University and the University of Washington published a blog post about the Video on September 29th as part of a joint project called the “Election Integrity Partnership[.]” … Ms. Astor received an embargoed copy of the EIP Report before it was published … after receiving a copy of the EIP Report — and before the publication of the September 29, 2020 article titled “Project Veritas Video was a ‘Coordinated Disinformation Campaign,’ Researchers Say” — Ms. Astor read and digested the EIP Report, contacted the authors of the EIP Report for comment, contacted other individuals for comment, submitted her draft article to her editors for review and approval, and finalized her story.
These admissions show that the NYT did not conduct an investigation, but instead deferred to the Election Integrity Partnership. In their own words:
The Election Integrity Partnership is a coalition of research entities focused on supporting real-time information exchange between the research community, election officials, government agencies, civil society organizations, and social media platforms. Our objective is to detect and mitigate the impact of attempts to prevent or deter people from voting or to delegitimize election results.
This would explain why the NYT did not disclose its reliance on the Election Integrity Partnership in its motion to dismiss Project Veritas’s lawsuit, holding out until it had no choice but to reveal its backchannel.
Using Chairs of Journalism bought by the Knight Foundation for left-wing political operatives at Stanford and other universities, the Election Integrity Partnership is laundering the reputation of Stanford to help pass off opinion blog posts funded by billionaire tech titan Craig Newman(Craigslist) and dark moneyed interests in the NYT as reliable sources to help “fortify” the 2020 election results. The false claims made by these third parties, legitimized by academia, were scooped up by their partners in the NYT and other media outlets to delegitimize proof of voter fraud. Afterward, “Big Tech” companies bolstered the “debunking” and censored the stories featuring proof of voter fraud. The division of labor and propaganda supply chain were orchestrated by groups such as the Election Integrity Partnership. The Election Integrity Partnership and similar groups introduced themselves four months before the 2020 election, meaning their incorporation and staffing occurred at least seven months before the election, their financing and conception at least twelve months before the election. How did these organizations know that voter fraud would be a serious issue and take a side an entire year before the election? For the first time, the public is getting a look at what the infamous Time Magazine article called “The Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.”
Since the 1964 landmark Supreme Court Case New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, institutional media have had a free pass to defame so long as the victim could not prove a set of highly subjective standards regarding “recklessness” and “malice” in a court district tremendously deferential to institutional power. In an era where readers are unwilling to pay for journalism, where the outcomes of elections decide the fate of trillion-dollar economies, institutional media have increasingly sought the patronage of political interests by means of proliferating their talking points, legitimizing institutional narratives, and defaming disruptive individuals.
“This was a coordinated hit between outside organizations and a so-called reporter from the New York Times,” attorney and political commentator Robert Barnes noted during his weekly livestream. “They better be careful about their new business model of propagandizing Pravda-style and disguising it as investigative, fact-based journalism.”