They Might Be Foreigners! Washington Post’s Lorenz Justifies Hit Piece On Libs of TikTok

YouTube Screenshot

Libs of TikTok has been much in the news recently after a column by the Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz and a suspension by Twitter.  Lorenz was on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on which Brian Stelter praises her writing and said that “I can’t wait to see what you’re working on next.”

However, it was one of the key justifications for the piece that stood out in the interview. Lorenz said that Washington Post targeted the host because she might be a foreigner. Since the Russian collusion stories, the media has been whipping up a fear of how “foreigners” are secretly influencing our society, politics, and culture.  It increasingly seems like “They might be foreigners” is now the rallying cry for the left to justify every excess.

The Post column ran around the same time that Twitter moved against the Libs of TikTok. The suspension was particularly bizarre because the site was accused of “hateful conduct” due to its re-posting of liberals talking about themselves. Notably, there are many sites that watch and repost videos of evangelical ministers and conservative figures for use on liberal sites.  That includes “Right Wing Watch” run by the liberal People for the American Way.

Lorenz came under attack for joining liberal groups like Media Matters in targeting Libs of TikTok. Both Lorenz and these other groups admit that they went after the site because it was having an impact in the debate over alleged radical agendas in schools.

Many on the right objected that Lorenz just appeared on national television in an emotional interview on how “horrifying” and unfair it was to be targeted in the media. That led to critics objecting to her pursuit of the host of this site and publishing details on her work and identity:

Lorenz’s view is that the site is now so influential, the identity of the founder was legitimate news. However, the piece had classic elements of a hit job, particularly given the collateral actions taken by groups like Media Matters and Twitter.

Lorenz and the Washington Post joined in the characterization of the site as engaged in hate speech for re-posting views of these teachers.  Lorenz told CNN that this is “an LGBTQ hate account that’s the whole goal is to get trans and LGBTQ people sort of excluded from public life and drive these very harmful narratives around trans people.”

However, Lorenz insisted that she and the Post were concerned that those damn foreigner might be behind the site:

“Well, it wasn’t — I would say it’s equally important describing the power that this account has,” she said. “I think it’s rare to see an account gain so much prominence so quickly and be shaping these narratives in such an effective way, especially against trans people. So, I was — I mean, my story was kind of long, but I really wanted to make the case like why this account mattered. And I think it’s incredibly important, you know, as someone that covers the influencer industry to know who is exerting influence in this way. I mean, for all we knew, this could have been a foreign actor, right, or someone — we just didn’t know.”

Of course, she obviously learned that there were not foreigner actors behind the site but still did the hit piece. However, the question is why it would have matter if the host was someone in another country who had the same objections to such alleged radical agendas in schools.

There is a growing xenophobic element to such reporting that harkens back to far right groups in the 1950s. It is particularly striking in someone who covers “influencers,” a group of people on social media that is notably transnational in scope. Social media has erased national borders with many of the most influential figures coming from outside of the country. Likewise, many political movements are transnational with NGOs and civil liberties groups working across borders.

Notably, the Oxford English Dictionary says that “xenophobia” first appeared in a London weekly in 1909 when German and Italian archaeologists did not like the views of a French historian and geographer that contradicted their own conclusions on ancient Rome. They attacked the viewpoints of Paul Frédéric Gauckler on the basis that he was a foreigner.

The Washington Post itself has denounced such xenophobic “fear-mongering” arguments, though tying it to the right and Trump.

Notably, Stelter (who has been a voice for censorship to combat disinformation) did not ask why the Post did not look into possible foreigners lurking behind other influential sites from the left. He simply accepted the old saw that “they might be foreigners” to justify targeting a conservative site as if Lorenz just happened to light upon Libs of TikTok.

Lorenz was unchallenged in explaining:

“You know, attention whether it’s YouTube account or Instagram or TikTok or Twitter, and I think we need to, you know, take a step back and make sure we know who we’re getting our news from, make sure that things are framed correctly and not just buy into things that, you know, feed into our — the point of views that we already have, if that makes sense.”

It might make a little more “sense” if the Post targets sites with equal vigor on the left to see if there were any foreigners hiding in the shadows trying to “frame” our discussions or “feed into our …point of views.” Once again, however, the focus on the nationality of such influencers raises serious questions over the suspicion or vilification of influencers because they are not Americans. We live in a global marketplace of ideas and, yes, influences. Indeed, this blog often comments on attacks on free speech or other rights in foreign countries. Indeed, many LGBT advocates (including critics of Libs of TikToc) are foreign citizens but their views are not diminished by their nationality.

There was another interesting part of the interview when Lorenz attacked the host for deleting tweets:

“you know, case in point, this woman deleted thousands of tweets the day my article came out because she realized that she was going to be under increased scrutiny and that she could get — that people are really going to start looking at her account.”

Lorenz has been accused of locking her account to prevent access in the past. Most recently, there was a controversy that thousands of old tweets by Lorenz have been removed from the archives accessible by the WayBack Machine (though there is no response on whether Lorenz requested such removal).

Here is the interview:

145 thoughts on “They Might Be Foreigners! Washington Post’s Lorenz Justifies Hit Piece On Libs of TikTok”

  1. Poll: will Turley denounce Hannity for “Texts show[ing] Hannity sought to bring out the vote for Trump on Election Day” as reported in Turley’s

    “New text messages reveal Fox News host Sean Hannity consulted with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in an effort to turn out more voters for former President Trump during the 2020 election.
    Contained in a massive trove of text messages Meadows turned over to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol are text messages between the Fox prime-time host and Meadows, CNN reported.”

    “On the afternoon of the election, the outlet reported, Hannity texted Meadows and asked him how turnout was looking in North Carolina.”

    “Stress every vote matters,” Meadows reportedly wrote back. “Get out and vote.”

    “Yes sir,” Hannity responded. “On it. Any place in particular we need a push.”

    “Pennsylvania. NC AZ,” Meadows added. “Nevada.”

    “Got it. Everywhere,” Hannity answered.”

    Turley is on the record objecting to this sort of partisanship in his article entitled:


    “I have been highly critical of what I view as the erosion of the line between journalism and advocacy in cable news, including a column this week criticizing CNN for its unrelenting anti-Trump coverage. MSNBC has previously been criticized for its host, Al Sharpton, appearing at campaign rallies. Now Fox is facing an equally serious incident after Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro. Both are known to be close confidants of Trump, but they also work for a news organization that is covering Trump and this election. While many view the journalistic rule of separation as artificial in the age of partisan cable programming, it represents the most glaring breach in the rule that we have seen. The incident raises an increasing conflict with journalistic values and programming. All of the networks now have anchors who are openly partisan but maintain facial neutrality by not contributing or campaigning for parties. The fear is that a departure from that technical rule will lead to a race to the bottom of networks working as an extension of political parties and a return to the age of “Yellow Journalism.”

    So, how many here think Turley will condemn Hannity’s naked violation of “journalistic values” consistent with Turley’s well-established views? How many think we will hear crickets?

    1. Get out the vote efforts are a cornerstone of democracy.
      We can use Zuckerberg as our guiding light on how that should work.

  2. Subpoenas formally issued for evidence in Georgia ballot trafficking case
    Subpoenas ask election integrity group True the Vote and its researchers to turn over identities of ballot harvesters, John Doe whistleblower and suspected funding arms for 2020 ballot trafficking operation.

    In a major escalation, Georgia election regulators have issued four subpoenas demanding the identity of a John Doe whistleblower and other evidence concerning an alleged ballot trafficking operation in the 2020 election, Just the News has learned.

    Delivered late last week to the election integrity watchdog True the Vote, its founder Catherine Engelbrecht and its researchers, the subpoenas seek evidence that backs up the group’s complaint last November alleging that as many as 242 people illegally gathered third-party ballots during the battleground state’s November 2020 election and subsequent U.S. Senate races, according to documents obtained by Just the News under a state open records request.


  3. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, but George shall be among the first to call for someone’s banishment from this blog for expressing a view, opinion, sentiment, etc. that does not meet his approval.”

    1. If you want to buy goods made in the USA – go ahead. What right do you have to push govenrment to pass a law that restricts the freedom of people other than you ?

      1. Just scrolling by 4 a second.

        I don’t think the US Citizens should have their employees, AKA Govt using our taxes to subsidize foreign companies that are competing against US Biz.

        If one has been around RE 4 a while they’ll see it everywhere just a US worker see’s the illegals here stealing their wages & votes.

        1. Should the US government “Buy American” ?

          That is a perfectly legitimate choices that voters can make through their elected representatives.

          We can make that for government.
          We can not morally make that choice for others.

  4. Alexander the Great, Ceasar and Napoleon were watching a russian military parade on Red Square.
    Alexander the Great said, “If I had had russian tanks, I would have conquered the whole world!”
    Ceasar said, “If I had had russian troops, l would have conquered the whole world!”
    Napoleon said, “If I had had Russian TV, the world still would not have known about Waterloo!”

  5. I’d be interested in Turley’s view of the argument that Florida’s removal of special treatment for Disney was unconstitutional retaliation burdening 1st amendment rights. Anyone have informed views on this?

    1. Dan, you are the attorney, so you have a better grasp than most, even though this might not be your specific field. Nothing has been taken away from Disney that all other businesses operate under. It will continue to operate under customary laws. Right now, it seems that the case would revolve around the right of a politician to punish a company because the company has political disagreements with him. But DeSantis appears to be representing the majority of Floridians. Other issues are bound to arise when the attornies view the initial documents granting them a virtual kingdom along with Florida’s Constitution and its laws.

      The House of the Mouse has more to fear than just this, as it is a virtual inland island in the middle of nowhere except the Orlando area, which prospered because of Disney. Disney depends on a lot under state control, such as the highways, water systems, electric grid etc. The state has always done things to enhance Disney. Will the state be so happy to offer so much help in the future?

      I hope DeSantis wins this battle.

      1. Alan, because Disney’s special district is going away, residents in 2 counties could see their taxes rise by up to 20%. Do you think they’ll be pleased with DeSantis?

        1. My taxes went up substantially because of Trump’s tax legislation. I thought it proper that less affluent people not subsidize my property taxes. I even sent Trump’s campaign money. Conservatives and libertarians have principles, something Democrats frequently lack, so a few might stray from DeSantis when the bill hits their pocketbook. However, families in Florida are getting sick of how their children are being treated. Politically, it will likely be to his benefit.

          Take a look at Trump supporters and how loyal they are to him. You don’t see such loyalty among Democrats except maybe those who supported Sanders.

        2. The operative word is COULD. They could see their taxes go down too. The media hysteria is designed to help Disney.
          Clearly the District will have to be reestablished and there are a few ways of keeping the tax burden concentrated on the property owners in Reedy Creek.
          It is in Disney’s best interest to make sure there is not need to economize on public services within the boundaries of the District

          1. Just a quick edit

            “The operative word is COULD. They could see their taxes go down too. The media hysteria is designed to help Disney. hurt Republicans”

        3. I don’t know how the structure of the special district for Disney actually works but I can assume that they take care of all the infrastructure etc within the district in exchange for not paying into the tax base. By removing the special district status Disney will now become subject to property taxes based on the value of their property, just like any other landowner. This would have the effect of increasing the taxes paid to the town/city that are in the boundary. It may actually end up being more of a benefit to the city than everyone is surmising considering that the Disney property is worth a helluva lot of money in commercial real estate which is usually taxed at a higher rate than residential properties. So until everything washes out people are only using scare tactics by saying that residents taxes will increase.

        4. No, that red herring was already taken care of. The original analysis that implied residents would see a tax increase failed to take into account the replacement income from taxing everything that was previously exempt.

          1. It is near certain that adding a public government will decrease the efficiency of Disney special districts.
            And that means added cost that someone will have to pay.

            That is most likely to be Disney, and therefore Disney’s consumers.

            Regardless, if those on the left are so enamoured of the anarcho-capitalist model of governance – because that is what the Disney Special District is, then lets move to it everywhere.

            It is inherently more efficient.

      2. S. Meyer,

        The repeal of the special district will affect the operations of the company. It will not be able to operate at the high standards that it demands and taxpayers will be on the hook for maintaining the company’s massive infrastructure.

        Furthermore, the law the republican legislature passed is in direct violation of the 1st amendment. The whole reason for the repeal of the special status is because the governor was upset that Disney criticized the “don’t say gay” bill. Republicans punished Disney for having a different point of view.

        1. Svelaz, you generally talk without any knowledge like you are doing now. The best guess is that Disney will be hurt financially, or they would have voluntarily made this happen earlier. I am not going to do a lot of speculation without the facts. I leave that type of inanity in your hands.

          As I have already said, I don’t know the legalities. I leave that in the hands of those more capable of analyzing the law. While I see the possibility of problems for Florida, I don’t see the First Amendment violations. Someone more knowledgeable than me will have to make the case. You are not that person. When you are asked questions about what you say by many different people, you cannot answer them.

          I thought Disney was foolish for becoming political, but they have been doing it more and more, so I am happy DeSantis did what he did. I don’t have the prejudices a lot on the left seem to have, so I do not need to virtue signal. I don’t care what sex anyone calls themselves or what race they are. What matters to me are the people and their ideas.

          I do not like the abridgment of parental rights over their children. The state is a much worse proxy parent. I don’t want teachers who overstep their boundaries and don’t recognize that their skills do not translate well into defacto parents. Whereas, when most of us were young, today’s teaching profession (IMO) is not as strong in the intellect department as a whole though not necessarily individually.

          Overzealous teachers should not abridge parents’ rights over their children. Such teachers are a danger to our youth. Overzealous companies are likewise a danger and Disney represents one of the worst.

          1. Twitter agreed to the Musk Buyout.

            My guess is that some lawyer pointed out to them that if they don’t and the stock takes a dive – there could be massive shareholder lawsuits.

            I point that out because it is relevant to ALL “woke” public corporations.

            We have seen many businesses “go woke” and then quietly change their minds.

            A public corporations first duty is to its shareholders. Its second duty is to its share holders, its 3rd …

            Disney is damaging its brand. Disney produces childrens entertainment. Parents make the choices. Parents are not likely to want Disney pushing gender issues on kids. Even woke parents mostly prefer characters in childrens entertainment to NOT be pushing gender messages. Woke snowflakes have taken over the staff of myriads of big corporations. For sometime those in those businesses have kowtowed to their staff. But when it starts to obviously cost shareholder value – trouble is brewing.
            If the corporation is public – even a majority of shareholders can not change the duty to make profits.

            I strongly suspect this is why Musk is taking Twitter private – Private corporations can do whatever they please.

            A business that has a narrowly defined market that is inherently woke to start – can “go woke”, but businesses like Coca Colla whose market is everyone can not piss off 10% of their consumers – because that harms shareholders.

            There are reasons that big public business have tended to be apolitical.

            Shareholders and employees can Donate as they please.

            Often when you hear that AT&T or Goldamn is in bed with Democrats or republicans – that really means that the company provided means for employees to contribute to each party – and most employees picked one party.

          2. S. Meyer,

            What the governor and the Republican legislators in Florida did WAS a violation of the 1st amendment.

            Punishing Disney because they had a different political view is unconstitutional. Disney has the right to freedom of speech just like everyone else.

            DeSantis already made it abundantly clear that Disney is being punished because it disagrees with the governor on his anti- LGBTQ law.

            “ I do not like the abridgment of parental rights over their children.”

            So you agree with the parental rights of those parents of transgender children to seek the medical care they choose?

            You seem to agree that criminalizing transgender treatment is a government infringement on parents’ rights over their children.

            1. “WAS a violation of the 1st amendment.”

              It might be a violation of Florida’s law or Florida’s Constitution. I don’t know, but can you show how it violates the First Amendment? The people of Florida didn’t like Disney’s attitude towards parents. Disney had its say, and through DeSantis, the people of Florida had their say. Are you looking to deny democracy to the people of Florida?

              One might say this is not punishment but rather rectifying the problem that Disney had rights Universal was denied. The law’s timing creates a problem, but that is usual in politics.

              Tell us what would justify this as a First Amendment case that should be brought to the Supreme Court and why this is the business of the Supreme Court of the United States? Don’t bore us with the inane answer that this is a First Amendment case. You have to prove the substance behind your hollow claims.

            2. “So you agree with the parental rights of those parents of transgender children to seek the medical care they choose? ”

              No. There is a lot of case law on what a parent can or cannot do when it comes to the health and safety of their children. You are reckless and ignorant on the topic.

              “You seem to agree that criminalizing transgender treatment”

              It is already criminal for physicians to harm knowingly. PC attitudes do not represent scientific knowledge, but listening to you argue on this blog tells me you have nearly zero scientific knowledge.

              If a physician thinks an experimental surgery on the heart and lungs could improve lives, do you believe he should be free to do this on his patients?

            3. The law was passed by the collective legislature. Going to be hard to get into the head of each of those members. All legislation is voted on by members that vote for a variety of motivating factors. So while some may have voiced an opinion about Disney’s foray into politics, that in no way cancels out their other reasons to vote in favor of overturning legislation passed back in the 60’s. There was most likely legislators that always wanted to reverse the special districts and get the whole state on the same playing field. Disney sticking the head up and getting shot, is on Disney.

        2. You are not that sharp.

          First arguing that FL should not kill the Special district – because there will be a cost – which is probably true – is advocating for anarcho-capitalism – that is really extreme right wing economics.

          So you are saying that FL should be required to allow disney to operate under extreme right wing economics ?
          You like the snow flakes at disney probably have never even thought that Disney running its own little government is anarcho-capitalism
          So we have a bunch of marxists dependent on the most extreme right form of economics there is.

          Regardless, it will be less efficient to have a public government for Disney properties.
          That additional cost will be born by Disney.

          Disney can up and leave FL – abandoning maybe 100B in assets. That is not likely.

          Visitors to Disney world might be less happy – there may be all kinds of new taxes and service may get worse.
          But the net negative on Florida will not likely be that large, the cost will be borne by Disney.
          Florida will loose a small amount of Tourist revenue as Disney is less popular.

        3. I thought you lefties said Corporations have no first amendment rights ?

          Wasn’t that the left wing rant over Citizens United ?

          Regardless, This is not government censorship.
          No one is telling Disney it can not participate in FL politics, or speak as they please.

          They are telling Disney that if they wish to misinform people about FL legislation, that there is no reason for FL to provide them special privileges.

          You can not claim that Disney’s right to free speech was infringed on when what they have lost is not something they were entitled to.

          A couple of hundred billion in government contracts have been redirected because Biden won the presidency.

          How is this different ?

        4. Sounds like they did the right thing; bring Disney back to an equal footing with every other company. There is no 1A issue though. The government has done nothing to stifle Disney’s “speech”.

      3. Governments do not have rights, they have powers.

        There is potentially an attentuated first amendment issue here. But even it is complex.

        Saying “You attacked me politically and I am going to punish you by taking away your special priviledges so that you are like everyone else”
        is probably legitimate government response to speech it does not like.

        But the biggest constitutional issue is that of motive.

        SCOTUS has been dancing arround this for a while.

        Maybe this will get SCOTUS to close the circle and rule that MOTIVE is irrelevant to the analysis of individual rights or government powers.

        We punish bad motives in government acts by voting people out.

        The Courts sole job should be to address the constitutionality. A law is constitutional regardless of the allegedly bad motives of those passing it.

        it is OBVIOUS that it is constitutional for FL to revoke Disneys special status if it did so to raise money.

        An act of govenrment that is constitutional with a good motive must be constitutional with a bad one.

        If the legislature passes a law making murder illegal and makes a big stink about doing so because black people commit more murders – is the law criminalizing murder constitutional ? Clearly the legislature had Bad Motives. But it is still obvious that a law criminalizing murder would be otherwise valid. Could FL of all states be forbidden to criminalize murder – because it had offered a clearly racist justification ?

        We have addressed this issue at Scotus repeatedly.

        The Trump immigration EO’s were attacked for bad motives – Trump won.
        The Questions on the census were criticized for having a bad motive – Trump lost.
        SCOTUS’s oppinion was actually stupid – they almost Begged the Commerce Sec to impliment the same regulation over with some new justification and the court would pretend to ignore the Remarks of the Commerce Sec the 2nd time around.

        All that does is highlight why Scotus was wrong.

        We get into the same thing with Gerrymandering. Nearly all state legislatures have political motives for the maps they create – GET OVER IT. The courts can not stop politicians from being political. They are their to adjudicate the constitutionality of a measure – not the political motives.

        Trump’s impeachment was all about “motive” – is there anyone who thinks the president is barred from asking a foreign leader to investigate credible allegations of corruption ?

        Biden is purportedly ranting in the halls of the whitehouse because AG Garland has not indicted Trump.
        How is that different from what democrats impeached Trump over ?

        We get into this a little with the stupid Totenberg decision.

        There was no insurrection – that is the END of the issue. Fundimentally Totenburg is attempting to judge MTG’s motives.
        Even if it was proveably false that that the election was stolen – which is clearly not factually established, it is STILL constitutional for a representative to oppose certifying the election.
        Which just raises another legal and constitutional error of the left. If the law or constitution grants a power to government or legislators, that ALWAYS means they have atleast two LEGITIMATE choices. If congress is required to vote – then the act of voting Yea or Nay is legitimate – even if the law or other action taken is unconstitutional. Ir an act is constitutional – speaking to demand that act is also constitutional – even if you are wrong about the facts.

        1. “But the biggest constitutional issue is that of motive.”

          Excellent point, John. The courts are straying from their job description, and as you have pointed out, this creep creates more problems than it solves. We need a textualist or originalist interpretation of the Constitution and deal with its faults through the process of Amendment. Push the legislators to do their jobs.

          Professor Turley sometimes mentions he favors the legislature more than the executive branch and seems to want the legislature to have the upper hand. I won’t take sides, but I wish he would say the same about the courts.

      1. Thank you for this reference, whichever Anonymous you are. The analogy to the permissibility of firing a high level political appointee for his speech seems relevant here.

        1. SCOTUS has been dancing arround the issue of political motivation, it is possible this might tip them in the right direction.

          Disney’s political action against FL is a very bad reason to pass a law eliminating Disney’s special status.
          But Florida’s bad motives do not alter that unless we are going to go full anarchocapitalist we should not outsource government to special interests.

          So Florida is doing a good thing for a bad reason.

          The ONLY questions the courts should entertain – is whether FL’s law is constitutional or not.

          We have touched on motives – with the endless parade of redistricting cases.

          We dived deep into it with Trump’s immigration executive orders.

          And the house tried to make political motivations the basis for removing Trump for office.

          The courts should get over it – politicians are political. The motivation of those passing a law is a matter for voters.
          Courts should stick to whether the law is constitutional.

          There is an attenuated first amendment issue – but it is not direct.
          If the courts toss the FL law – how is it that FL or any other state could pass a similar law ?

          1. “So Florida is doing a good thing for a bad reason.”

            That is a good way of putting things. The timing is what I question most, though one needs to ask why Disney has a leg up from the State of Florida, and Universal, in the same area, doesn’t?

      2. ATS, thank you for letting me know that Volokh’s first thought was no different from my own where I worried about unconstitutionality based on “political disagreements.” Volokh said basically the same, “because it is in retaliation for Disney’s “political activity,” which was the initial thought of many.

        The question arises, does the state of Florida have the right to remove the special district they created over 50 years ago? Does Universal Studios or Sea World, both in the same area, have the same rights as Disney? It makes one ask the question, why not? Therefore, as I said before, one cannot adequately assess the problem. One first needs to look at the initial documents, Florida’s Constitution and Florida’s laws. Though you answer questions and search only for superficial data that meet your ends, this will require far more than you or I have to offer. The people of Florida elected a legislature and a governor who speak on their behalf so that we will see.

        I responded to Daniel not because I had any specific legal knowledge but rather because I am interested in this topic. I Posted this subject as an OT response the other day, hoping to hear different opinions about the House of the Mouse, but none were forthcoming, so I responded to Daniel, hoping more would follow. Alas, I got you, the one who defends the killing of Ashli Babbitt. You can’t say I didn’t try.

  6. Idiot Bob Reich in a Newsweek op-ed just commented on Musk’s impeding purchase of Twitter. You guessed it. ” It might well upend democracy”
    I have lost count. How many things are liberals now claiming ” Will be the end of democracy”? Can moron Max Boot be far behind? And who’s *ss will Stelter kiss first?

Leave a Reply