Last February, SB Nation (a popular online sports outlet owned and operated by Vox Media) fired a freelance writer and an editor over an article about Daniel Holtzclaw, the former Oklahoma policer officer convicted last year of sexually assaulting multiple black women. The 12,000-word piece on the popular online sports outlet appeared mildly sympathetic to Holtzclaw, a former football player at Eastern Michigan University.
Holtzclaw’s case has now resurfaced with the launch of CRTV’s new show, “Michelle Malkin Investigates.” In the first two episodes, Conservative Review Senior Editor Michelle Malkin takes a fresh look at the case in which Holtzclaw, who had no prior criminal history, was convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault — including four counts of rape — and received a 263-year sentence. The case was heavily influenced by the local media and the Black Lives Matter mob.
Malkin has faced harsh criticism and even efforts to silence her findings, which cast doubt on the accusers’ credibility and allegations against Holtzclaw, the evidence used to convict him, and the final “guilty” verdict. But, as illustrated by SB Nation’s actions, one message has become plainly clear: Anyone who dares question the case’s outcome — as with any cause of the social-justice mob — will pay a heavy price.
The controversial SB Nation article (published approximately two months after Holtzclaw’s conviction) was taken down within hours. That same day, SB Nation’s editorial director, Spencer Hall, issued an apology for the piece:
“It was tone-deaf, insensitive to the victims of sexual assault and rape, and wrongheaded in approach and execution. There is no qualification: it was a complete failure.”
Hall referred to the piece as a “complete breakdown of a part of the editorial process.” In light of the “failure,” the Vox-owned website fired reporter Jeff Arnold and editor Glenn Stout.
Following the decision, Arnold penned a reflection several days after in February:
Arnold acknowledged that he made a “grave mistake” by not “reaching out to victims or their families,” and expressed “remorse” for any “damage” the story may have caused.
But it didn’t end there. In May, SB Nation released a statement detailing the findings of a peer review conducted in the wake of the Holtzclaw article scandal. The statement lists factors that contributed to the “editorial breakdown” that led to the article being published the first time. One of such factors was the “lack of overall diversity” on staff: “If there is one key, unmistakable takeaway from the Holtzclaw story, it is that an organization cannot afford to wait to be diverse, particularly if that organization is one that wants to tell stories.”
It’s hard to tell what “diversity” had to do with the story (or the entire Holtzclaw case, for that matter), other than the fact that racial identity social justice groups were the most vocal supporters of Holtzclaw’s alleged victims, who were all black women. Further, it seems a little extreme to fire two employees over a piece that simply sought to fill in the gaps of the prevailing anti-Holtzclaw narrative.
But if there is one “key, unmistakable takeaway” from the SB Nation case, it is that the liberal mainstream media will stop at nothing in their quest to silence opposition. This truth became apparent in November, when a CRTV billboard advertising “Michelle Malkin Investigates” was taken down in Oklahoma City due to public pressure, most notably from a group called OKC Artists for Justice. The social and racial justice group played an active role in the Holtzclaw trial, regularly staging massive protests outside of the courthouse.
The OKC Artists for Justice succeeded in bullying Tyler Media to remove the CRTV billboard, which featured Daniel Holtzclaw in his prison jumpsuit and the question, “What if he didn’t do it?” Tyler Media notified the OKC Artists and announced the ad’s removal on its Facebook page before notifying CRTV.
Michelle Malkin had some thoughts on that:
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Even prior to the billboard fiasco, as the launch of CRTV drew near , the opposition only grew stronger. When CRTV tried to tried to book a venue to host a preliminary screening of “Michelle Malkin Investigates” in Daniel Holtzclaw’s hometown of Enid, Okla., Northern Oklahoma College rejected the request.
Speaking with Conservative Review, Edwin Vineyard, vice president of NOC’s Enid campus, said the request was denied because the school didn’t have the security personnel needed for such an event.
“We have one security guard on duty, and that’s just not something we can physically handle,” Vineyard said.
CRTV Vice President Gaston Mooney, who made the initial call to arrange the event, says that’s a load of crock.
"I told them we would provide our own security, but they said the event was too controversial," Mooney said. "We did in fact provide our own security at the Central National Bank Center, where the event was ultimately held."
The most disheartening challenge Michelle Malkin has had to face for her work on the Holtzclaw case has been the hostile opposition from fellow “journalists” who seek to vilify and silence her. Take the recent example of liberal reporter Soledad O’Brien, who tried to dismiss the entirety of Malkin’s extensive investigation with a single smug tweet. That didn’t work out too well for O’Brien, however.
CR reached out to both the former SB Nation freelancer Jeff Arnold and editor Glenn Stout to see if either had thoughts on the series and investigation’s findings, which, if successful, could vindicate the journalists. Both responded, “No comment.” Given the heat Malkin and CRTV have received on the subject, we don’t blame them.
Malkin offered her take on the efforts of “vested interests” to silence any dissenting thought or questions on the Holtzclaw case.
“There will continue to be an unwritten code of silence about Daniel Holtzclaw among journalists at the local, state, and national levels,” she told CR. “Many reporters don't like to admit they're wrong — just like the police detectives and prosecutors in this case. What we have here is the perfect storm of political correctness run amok, chilling intimidation by the social justice mob, and too many vested interests clinging to false narratives.”
“No fear in pursuit of the only narrative that matters: the truth,” is the operational model at “Michelle Malkin Investigates.” And you can believe they’re not backing down anytime soon.
You can follow Michelle Malkin and coverage of the Daniel Holtzclaw case on CRTV.
Editor’s note: This article has been amended since initial publication to indicate all accusers were black women, to ensure clarity in the timeline of events, and to ensure clarity about the positions held at SB Nation by Jeff Arnold and Glenn Stout.
Carly Hoilman is a Correspondent for Conservative Review. You can follow her on Twitter @CarlyHoilman.