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VICTOR JOECKS: Libs of TikTok targeted by journalists for doing journalism

Investigative journalism is a surefire way to earn the ire of many journalists.

Chaya Raichik runs the popular X account “Libs of TikTok.” She has amassed millions of followers by sharing videos and photos of what liberals have said or done. What she posts is so outrageous that she doesn’t usually offer lengthy commentary. Just shining a light on nonsense is a winning argument.

For instance, she recently broke the story of the National MS Society forcing a 90-year-old volunteer to quit because she “was asking what pronouns are after she was required to start using them.” After Raichik broke the story, the group publicly apologized to the volunteer.

In one case, Raichik exposed a preschool teacher making pornography at work. She’s shared videos and photos of male teachers wearing drag at schools. She has posted videos of schoolteachers talking about how they indoctrinate elementary students into transgender ideology.

Exposing outrageous behavior is one of the media’s important jobs. “Democracy dies in darkness,” as the pretentious Washington Post likes to put it. In another time, Raichik’s investigative journalism would be heralded and win awards, especially because it often produces results.

But because Raichik targets liberals, the national mainstream media want to destroy her.

“After Libs of TikTok posted, at least 21 bomb threats followed,” a recent NBC News headline reads.

Officials in four places, the article breathlessly states, “told NBC News they believe Raichik sparked threats in their localities with her posts.”

Wow. Sounds scary. The implication is that Raichik is in league with criminals. She’s not. The article even has to admit it. “Raichik, 29, is not accused of making any bomb threats in Iowa or anywhere else,” it states.

A story about someone who didn’t do something isn’t much of a story. And neither is revealing that there are crazy people on the internet.

But the goal isn’t to inform. It’s to smear Raichik. The not-so-subtle implication is that she’s doing something wrong by reporting what people, often in public schools, are doing. Perhaps, the police or FBI, which has already targeted moms speaking up at school board meetings, will investigate her.

NBC’s hit piece isn’t a one-off.

“Twitter account Libs of TikTok blamed for harassment of children’s hospitals,” a 2022 Washington Post headline reads.

“When Libs of TikTok tweets, threats increasingly follow,” USA Today wrote in 2023.

“Critics blame negativity from ‘Libs of TikTok’ ” for the death of an Oklahoma student,” The Oklahoman reported Wednesday. Raichik had never mentioned the student but had posted about a teacher at the student’s school in 2022. Absurd.

There are two major problems here. First, Raichik isn’t responsible if someone responds inappropriately to her reporting. She can’t control strangers. It would be like blaming Sen. Bernie Sanders after his supporter shot at congressional Republicans during a baseball practice.

Second, this type of heckler’s veto would be the end of investigative journalism, which exists to expose outrageous behavior. The more outrageous the behavior, the better the story. The more urgent it is to reveal it. The more the public will be interested. The more likely a stranger who reads the story will do something rude or illegal.

An example. Say someone read NBC’s story and sent Raichik a death threat. Is NBC responsible? By its own logic, yes.

This isn’t idle speculation. Raichik said Monday that she received “about two dozen death threats after the media and activists repeated a libel about me.”

Don’t expect a flurry of think pieces on the national press’s culpability. They’re too busy targeting Libs of TikTok for doing journalism.

Contact Victor Joecks at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on X.

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