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NYU cancels former New Yorker fact-checker Talia “I can’t tell a disabled combat vet’s Maltese Cross from a Nazi Iron Cross” Lavin’s journalism class after only two students sign up

June 1, 2019
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Photo: The Wrap /YouTube
This story (from the Wrap) makes me feel so sad:

New York University has canceled an undergraduate journalism class that former New Yorker fact-checker Talia Lavin was scheduled to teach this fall after only two students signed up.

You might remember Lavin. She’s the gal who had to resign from the New Yorker in 2018 after posting a tweet that falsely accused a disabled Marine combat veteran working for Immigration and Customs Enforcement of having a Nazi tattoo.

Nonetheless, NYU hired Lavin to teach an elective called “Reporting on the Far Right.”

In her original course, Lavin promised a fulsome exploration of the “far right,” saying she would show students how to track and identify online extremism.

“In an era when hate is on the rise, this course will provide student journalists with a thorough grounding in far-right and white-supremacist movements in the United States, briefly examining their history and delving into their sprawling present incarnations,” reads a now deleted course description, which also promised “a careful analysis of pieces that have fallen short of the mark.”

But NYU students are no dopes. They must have figured that Lavin’s mistaking the Maltese Cross that wheelchair-bound Afghanistan vet Justin Gaertner had tattooed on his elbow (a symbol commonly used by foreign-war veterans) for a Nazi Iron Cross suggested that she wasn’t much good at even identifying the far right, much less reporting on it.

NYU says that low enrollment was the only reason it canceled Lavin’s class–which it has no plans to offer again in the future. But other facts reported by the Wrap suggest that Lavin was already on shaky ground at NYU:

Lavin’s official NYU faculty bio — which lauded her as an expert in “far-right extremism and social justice” — was removed sometime around April 20, 2019, according to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

April 20 happened to be five days after Lavin wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post accusing conservative author Ben Shapiro, who had called the fire-ravaged Notre-Dame Cathedral a symbol of the West’s “Judeo-Christian” cultural heritage, of fomenting Islamophobic arson conspiracy theories. Criticizing as cultural imperialism calls to return Notre-Dame to its pre-fire condition instead of letting starchitects go to work on it, Lavin likened Shapiro’s remarks to the manifesto of New Zealand mosque murderer Brenton Tarrant. Shapiro called Lavin’s accusation “the sheerest form of disparaging bulls–t” and said he had never speculated that the Notre-Dame fire was anything other than accidental.

A few days earlier Lavin had Twitter-bombed Texas GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw for criticizing Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar over her downplaying the 9/11 massacre as “some people did something.” Lavin called Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL who lost an eye in Afghanistan “Captain s–thead.” Lavin later deleted the tweets.

Lavin seems to be unable these days to hold down a job. The Wrap reports that after her three-year fact-checking stint at the New Yorker came to an abrupt end in 2018:

Lavin later worked as an “extremism researcher” at Media Matters for America, a liberal media watchdog organization, before being laid off in January.

The tears can’t stop running down my face.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

From → Uncategorized

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