By Emma Fiala
As independent media journalists and outlets reporting on all things Jeffrey Epstein continue to find themselves under the microscope, some important revelations about mainstream media’s reporting of the convicted pedophile have come to light, thanks to the New York Times.
The double standard by which social media platforms, fact checkers, and news consumers alike judge independent versus mainstream media is, in short, incredibly unfair. Every time information about the ills of mainstream media surface, it is important to take note and adjust the lens through which one consumes mainstream media accordingly.
This latest revelation regarding the less-than-transparent side of mainstream media involves outlets like Forbes, National Review and HuffPost and Epstein’s attempt to improve his public image after his stint in the Palm County Jail back in 2009 after he plead guilty to two prostitution charges for soliciting a minor in Florida in 2008 in an attempt to avoid federal charges related to sexually abusing underage girls.
None have been sanctioned, all still have blue check marks and work in our media.https://t.co/VBMHDlrDub
— Alan MacLeod (@AlanRMacLeod) August 20, 2019
His efforts resulted in the publishing of multiple puff pieces casting the deceased financier as an intelligent and selfless businessman with a passion for science. And while Epstein was indeed a philanthropist, these articles failed to mention his criminal past or current controversies.
While all three articles referenced have been deleted since the report, the New York Times included quotes from each:
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“The Forbes.com article, posted in 2013, praised him as “one of the largest backers of cutting-edge science around the world” while making no mention of his criminal past. The National Review piece, from the same year, called him “a smart businessman” with a “passion for cutting-edge science.” The HuffPost article, from 2017, credited Mr. Epstein for “taking action to help a number of scientists thrive during the ‘Trump Era’,” a time of ‘anti-science policies and budget cuts’.”
The New York Times notes the little known method employed by corporate online publishers in which a contributor not typically associated with the outlet writes for little or no pay with little to no input from the outlet’s editors.
Another less-than-transparent occurrence is precisely what happened at Forbes back in 2013. As seen in the screen shot above, the article titled “Science Funder Jeffrey Epstein Launches Radical Emotional Software For The Gaming Industry” appears to have been written by Drew Hendricks, contributor to Forbes. In early July, the Times revealed that Hendricks was in fact not the author of the article. Hendricks admitted to having been paid $600 to attach his byline to the text and publish it on the Forbes website after having been contacted by a public relations firm.
Hendricks claims to have not known about Epstein’s history:
All I knew was, this is a guy doing a science thing. If I had known otherwise, I wouldn’t have done it.
As it turns out, until recently HuffPost engaged in a process of allowing outside writers to contribute to the website without editorial review—a process that allowed for the publishing of yet another Epstein puff piece written by Rachel Wolfson, a “digital marketer,” in 2017.
The National Review’s Epstein article was written by Christina Galbraith, a supposed “science writer” who had published articles previously at both Forbes and HuffPost. And Galbraith just so happens to be listed as a contact in news releases from 2012, 2013, and 2014 promotion Epstein’s foundations and other work.
In addition to the positive press campaign engaged in over the years, in 2010, after having completing his stint in jail, Epstein’s social life kicked into high gear. According to the Times’ July article, Epstein was suddenly rubbing shoulders with well-known people like Katie Couric, George Stephanopoulos, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. Harvard University published a website praising the convicted pedophile’s accomplishments and highlighting that he donated millions of dollars to charity. And Epstein published his own website showcasing his own science event to which Stephen Hawking was a guest.
Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College, said Epstein was “like an ex-con who had done well on Wall Street” who donated $50,000 to Bard in 2011 and $75,000 in 2012. “If you looked up Jeffrey Epstein online in 2012, you would see what we all saw,” Botstein said, speaking to the success of Epstein’s efforts to craft his preferred public image.
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