Ben Penn of Bloomberg is a Very Intrepid Journalist™. Ben Penn, you see, is committed to Very Intrepid Journalism™-ing. And because Ben Penn is a Very Intrepid Journalist™ committed to Very Intrepid Journalism™-ing, he decided to launch today a Very Intrepid Piece Of Journalism™ at Bloomberg Law that regales the reader with the courageous tale of Penn's exhumation of a recent U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) political appointee's three-year-old "anti-Semitic" Facebook post. The oh-so-valiant unearthing of that hitherto buried Facebook post led, you see, to the DOL appointee's resignation after less than a month on the job. Surely, somewhere deep in the bowels of the Swamp, Very Intrepid Journalist™ Ben Penn is now celebrating his day of Very Intrepid Journalism™-ing.
The careful reader — or, rather, any reader with more than one functioning brain cell — will note that the preceding paragraph utilizes a literary device commonly referred to as sarcasm. We here at The Daily Wire are rather familiar with that literary device. But Very Intrepid Journalist™ Ben Penn seems less familiar with the literay device of sarcasm than communist Bernie Sanders is with the economic concept of supply and demand.
Leif Olson, a years-long personal friend of your humble columnist and a principled conservative who had recently uprooted his family from the Lone Star State to the nation's capital in order to humbly serve in the Trump administration, was forced to resign last Friday after Penn flagged for DOL a transparently sarcastic Facebook post of Olson's dating back to the much-ballyhooed August 2016 Paul Ryan/Paul Nehlen Republican primary race in Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District. Let us consider Olson's underlying satirical post, as well as the leading subsequent sardonic comment that Very Intrepid Journalist™ Ben Penn deemed sufficient grist for purposes of nabbing a cheap scalp.
Paul Nehlen, the reader may recall, was a vile alt-right anti-Semite whose failed insurgent bid to supplant Paul Ryan was vociferously backed by Breitbart and other nationalist populist figures. Prior to his later being banned outright from Twitter in 2018 due to serial peddling of Jew-hatred, Nehlen became notorious for promoting on the platform a list of Jewish journalistic conspiracists against him. I would know because, along with Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro and other prominent Jewish journalists such as CNN's Jake Tapper, I personally appeared on Nehlen's list.
Paul Ryan ended up walloping Paul Nehlen in the August 2016 GOP primary for Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District by an utterly embarrassing margin of 84% – 16%. Cue Olson, then a civilian, who took to his personal Facebook page to mock Nehlen and his buffoonish alt-right supporters in emphatically sarcastic fashion. As Philip Klein observes today at the Washington Examiner, it ought to take a complete lack of human sentience to miss the obvious sarcasm here: "If the over-the-top language isn't a tip off, it's a fairly dead giveaway that Olson refers to Ryan having 'suffered a massive, historic, emasculating 70-point victory.'" And as Yair Rosenberg details today at Tablet, Very Intrepid Journalist™ Ben Penn "selectively cropped" out of his calumnious screed "relevant omitted portions" and "essential context" that makes it entirely clear that Olson — who I personally know to have a very dry sense of humor — was being sarcastic. In response to one Facebook commenter's opining that the Ryan/Nehlen race was "[n]ot Breitbart's best day," Olson chimed in: "Not breitbart-dot-com's best series of months, I think you mean."
Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.
That is the entire "story" here. And for this, Very Intrepid Journalist™ Ben Penn managed to besmirch a good (if perhaps too sarcastic) man as an ignominious Jew-hater — something he manifestly is not. And what of the Labor Department? The cowardly apparatchiks at DOL who folded like a cheap suit and capitulated to Very Intrepid Journalist™ Ben Penn's disgraceful attempt to claim a political appointee's scalp ought to be brought to task and disciplined. This saga does not merely reveal Ben Penn as an opportunistic blunderbuss; it also reveals a truly shameful look for DOL. Conservatives ought to be up in arms that DOL, a prominent department of the Trump administration, is so unwilling to defend its own appointees against manufactured smear campaigns.
But don't take the outrage just from me or from Ben. Take it instead from some of the most prominent blue checkmark left-leaning commentators on Twitter:
Anti-Semitism in America is, harrowingly, very much on the rise. It is, increasingly, a dangerous time to be a Jew — especially a more public-facing Orthodox Jew — in these United States. As a proud Jew and Zionist, I take anti-Semitism as seriously as anyone else. But it is affirmatively harmful to the cause of raising awareness of actual, genuine rises in anti-Semitic rhetoric and violence when tendentious muckrakers like Very Intrepid Journalist™ Ben Penn embark on rogue crusades to smear innocent men as Jew-haters for the sake of claiming the scalp of a political opponent. Penn, via his Very Intrepid Journalism™-ing, has tragically undermined the cause of extirpating Jew-hatred in America. Ditto the farcical leftist leadership of the Anti-Defamation League, whose spokesperson was quoted by Penn as referring to Olson's comments as "clearly anti-Semitic" before the organization, tail between its legs, apparently came around to feeling contrite and expressed a willingness to retract such a mendacity.
There are no actors who escape from this saga looking clean. Shame on Ben Penn. Shame on Ben Penn's editors at Bloomberg. Shame on the U.S. Department of Labor. Shame on the Anti-Defamation League. Shame, indeed, on all those actors who are complicit in the false maligning of an upstanding man and the concomitant harm that such maligning has wrought upon the cause of hunting down and excising real, genuine Jew-hatred in America.
DOL must rehire Leif Olson — and it ought to do so as soon as humanly possible. Indeed, if anyone ought to be fired as a result of this imbroglio, it ought to be Very Intrepid Journalist™ Ben Penn.