After a highly controversial post regarding Fox News host Tucker Carlson, a funeral and a sex worker, BuzzFeed News’ Kate Aurthur is now being told to “learn to code.”
Aurthur is the chief Los Angeles correspondent for the website, which recently made its own kind of headlines after a round of layoffs and subsequent complaints regarding a popular meme telling some of its staffers they might have better luck dumping their journalistic aspirations and getting qualified to find work in the IT field.
A quick scan of Aurthur’s Twitter feed shows she doesn’t like a) the movie “Green Book,” b) President Trump and c) Tucker Carlson, in roughly that order. (On the first count, one may concede a bit of recency bias.)
However, it’s Carlson that has her in the news. See, Aurthur dug up a couple of tweets regarding Carlson taking a picture with a woman who was apparently a prostitute and used it to say that his stances on family values were therefore hypocritical.
“Remember @tuckercarlson’s lecture during the height of family separation in June about how the left doesn’t care about family values?” Aurthur tweeted on Friday.
“Well, I’m not one to kink shame, but here he is with a sex worker. Go Tucker?”
Remember @tuckercarlson‘s lecture during the height of family separation in June about how the left doesn’t care about family values? Well, I’m not one to kink shame, but here he is with a sex worker. Go Tucker? pic.twitter.com/B4qfAD9RTB
— Kate Aurthur (@KateAurthur) February 23, 2019
Aurthur was likely referring to a June 2018 monologue in which Carlson said liberals don’t care about American families as much as they do families that tried to cross the border illegally.
While that monologue was certainly controversial at the time and remains such, I’m not quite sure Aurthur’s tweet rebuts any of it. You make the call:
Then again, how well the rebuttal holds up is probably the least problematic aspect of Aurthur’s whole gambit.
First, for this to actually do damage to any of Carlson’s words, he would have to have known that he was being embraced by a sex worker.
Furthermore, one could rather safely argue that even if he did, just being embraced by her isn’t necessarily a sign that he approves of what she does. Furthermore, did he actually do anything untoward with her? And then there’s the question of context: Was he at a brothel? Was he at some sort of adult industry event? Or was this strictly incidental?
So, here are the answers to those questions: a) He apparently didn’t. b) That’s kind of irrelevant now, right? c) There’s no evidence of that. d) This was allegedly at a funeral.
I took that photo at… a funeral. Christina didn’t even tell Carlson her profession. All anyone spoke about that night was our dead mutual friend. It was the most PG-rated night in Nevada history
— Mitchell Sunderland (@mitchsunderland) February 23, 2019
So. That went well.
Mitchell Sunderland, an editor at Penthouse, said that the embrace occurred during “the most PG-rated night in Nevada history.” I’m not terribly sure I trust an editor at Penthouse to give me that assessment, but maybe PG-13. This was apparently at the memorial service of Dennis Hof, owner of the Bunny Ranch brothel — a business that is perfectly legal in Nevada, mind you — and a surprising Republican.
It’s been unreal to wake up and see someone take a photo I took at my dear friend Dennis Hof’s funeral and use it to smear a sex worker in the name of wokeness. Carlson didn’t even know Christina had worked as a hooker, and Christina didn’t even discuss politics with him https://t.co/NLgsgH4ckp
— Mitchell Sunderland (@mitchsunderland) February 23, 2019
The memorial service, just in case you were wondering, wasn’t at a brothel.
Furthermore, according to Quartz, the sex worker involved had a much different reason for choosing sex work than you might think.
“Christina Parreirra (her real name), in her early thirties, had a different reason for working in the brothel. She is a doctoral candidate in sociology at UNLV,” a September 2016 profile of the sex worker read. “Setting a new bar for dedication to field work, she worked at the Alien Cathouse (a Hof-owned brothel in Southern Nevada) for research.
“Back in 2012 she was doing a PsyD at the University of Hartford. Christina already had experience (various forms of pornography) and an interest in sex work. In 2013 she moved to Nevada and enrolled in UNLV’s PhD program in sociology,” it continued.
“Soon after that, she approached the Alien Cathouse about living there and doing research. They told her only if she worked there too. Following a long talk with her advisor, she agreed. During her second semester, she worked at the Alien Cathouse on-and-off for six months, took a long break, and returned this past summer. Now that the semester started, she does not work at the brothel as she’s too busy with grad school.”
“I knew that I wanted to speak to the women. And that’s how I ended up working with them because that, as I found, was (at least for me) the best and the easiest path to get in and get the information that I wanted,” she told Quartz. “And I decided that I wanted to do it as an insider instead of just, you know, as an outsider.”
This, by the way, could have been easily determined via Google, if Aurthur had been interested. And that’s not even really the point. The left will generally jump to the defense of any sex worker with talk of how they’re a marginalized community.
In this case, Kate Aurthur specifically marginalized a sex worker because it helped her make a not-really-point about Tucker Carlson, a Fox News personality liberals dislike even more than most Fox News personalities. Nice work there.
And here’s how Parreirra herself described her interaction with Carlson in a piece published by The Federalist:
“There was nothing salacious or inappropriate about this moment with Carlson. It was a celebrity taking a few minutes out of his day to make a fan feel good. I approached Tucker and told him what a huge fan I was, and he was kind enough to say yes to a photo. It was nothing more and nothing less. When I offered to buy him a drink, he declined. He had a club soda instead…
“I hope this episode serves as a lesson to Aurthur and her ilk, but I doubt it. She immediately blocked me when I attempted to explain the circumstances. We deserve better from journalists, and I am getting tired of one ‘fake news’ hit piece after another. Do better.”
I don’t know if you’re familiar with the term “ratioed,” but it’s basically a Twitter neologism meaning that you sent out something stupid. The general definition involves a ratio of comments to retweets and likes of more than 2:1.
As of early Tuesday morning, Aurthur’s tweet had 90 retweets, 326 likes, and 1,600 comments. That puts it at a ratio of roughly 4:1. And a lot of the comments hoped for more layoffs at Aurthur’s employer:
Here for the ratio
Also, here’s hoping for more layoffs!
— Freedom for Books (@camcamyeg) February 23, 2019
Y’all reaching. Hooray for future layoffs. pic.twitter.com/pxn3c3ZACV
— Jimmy McNulty (@McNutty116) February 23, 2019
Here’s hoping for more layoffs.
— PGQue 🇺🇸 (@PGQue) February 23, 2019
There were also plenty of “learn to code” comments — the meme which mocked media figures who were outraged at the BuzzFeed layoffs but had previously written or been with publications that wrote patronizing articles about laid-off coal miners being taught computer programming.
One does not have to even like Tucker to hate you for sinking to these depths. #learntocode
— Tony Bruno (@TonyBrunoShow) February 23, 2019
So there’s 3 words for Kate, that begin with an l, a t, and a c.
— Kevin Tierney (@CatholicSmark) February 23, 2019
You’ve made me so happy I’m not like you!
Have you considered acquiring the ability to use programming languages?
— Learn to Pounce (@AboutAverage) February 23, 2019
I’m not a fan of wishing generalized layoffs at a company because of one stupid tweet. That being said, the prospect of layoffs seems to be a particular bee in the bonnet of BuzzFeed employees, who treated the axing as if it were some kind of grave affront to journalism and voted to unionize afterwards. (Aurthur has the union logo as her avatar.)
Part of the problem, if you were to ask me (and I know you were going to) is that BuzzFeed was a massively overvalued property that overextended itself.
Part of that overvaluation had to do with the fact that they were busy relying on people forever clicking on “26 Reasons Why Michigan’s Coney Island Hot Dogs are the Best Hot Dogs In America” or what-have-you.
Another part, however, is that its news division was busy churning out hot takes like this. Yes, BuzzFeed has done some good work, but one can espy a whole lot of sloppiness when someone tries to take an out-of-line swing at Tucker Carlson by posting a picture with him and a sex worker when she couldn’t verify he knew what the sex worker did, when it would have been easy to find out the woman was in sex work as part of pursuing her Ph.D and when the picture took place at a memorial service.
I’m not saying Kate Aurthur should learn how to code. But perhaps learning how to Google might be on her to-do list.
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