A former New Yorker fact-checker, who set off a firestorm after accusing an officer of Immigration and Customs Enforcement of having a “Nazi tattoo” has found new employment — as an expert on far-right hate groups for the Soros-funded leftist site Media Matters.
According to The Wrap, Talia Lavin will serve as part of a team researching extremism for the “liberal media watchdog group.” She announced the job late last week.
Some personal news: I’m delighted to be joining Media Matters (@mmfa) next week as a researcher on far-right extremism and the alt-right, part of a brand-new team. I’ll be working full-time with some of the smartest, most passionate people in media right now and I’m psyched.
— Talia Lavin (@chick_in_kiev) July 20, 2018
Lavin was a fact-checker at The New Yorker for three years but, according to The Wrap, resigned after suggesting on Twitter that a wheelchair-bound ICE agent who appeared in a promotional photo had a “Nazi tattoo” on his elbow. Lavin called the tattoo an “Iron Cross,” a fairly common symbol used by white supremacists. Her publication, The New Yorker, gave over an entire article to Lavin’s shocking discovery.
That “Iron Cross,” though, was in reality “Titan 2,” the symbol of former Marine Justin Gaertner’s platoon in Afghanistan. Gaertner, who lost both of his legs in combat, wears the tattoo as a reminder of his service. On his other arm, Gaertner wears the Spartan Creed, a pledge to protect children and families. He serves as an investigator for ICE, rooting out child sex rings on the internet.
In his spare time, Gaertner “provides support to Boston Marathon bombing victims” who also lost limbs, according to a statement ICE made in the wake of Lavin’s manufactured controversy.
Lavin eventually issued a correction on Twitter but not before the story had made the rounds among leftists on social media. Even Hollywood actor Ron Perlman re-tweeted Lavin’s claims. ICE eventually issued a sternly-worded statement denying that any of their agents had neo-Nazi ink and suggesting Lavin “fact check” her own observations before smearing a wounded vet whose only job is saving children from sex traffickers.
She eventually issued a personal apology to Gaertner.
But while many media outlets might have taken Lavin’s Twitter history as a warning, particularly about her expertise in identifying far-right extremists, it seems Media Matters saw Lavin’s commitment to her craft as a feature, not a bug. She will serve as part of a team of experts investigating and exposing right-wing nationalism.
Media Matters declined to explain their hiring decision to The Wrap.