Tablet Magazine published a massive expose Monday detailing the anti-Semitic origins of the Women’s March and its shady financial practices. Two days later, many of the reporters who shared the Tablet article on Twitter received an e-mail from Inarú Meléndez of Megaphone Strategies, a nonprofit social justice media firm that lists the Women’s March as a client on its website.
According to sources whose accounts were published in the aforementioned article, Women’s March co-chairs Carmen Perez and Tamika Mallory made anti-Semitic remarks at one of the organization’s initial meetings back in 2016. The story also reported that the organization had never picked a Jewish woman to sit on its board and that it excluded anti-Semitism from its unity principles. Tablet also detailed problems with the organization’s financial practices, which have also been reported by The Daily Beast.
In an e-mail sent to The Federalist’s Sean Davis and numerous others, Meléndez claims that “Tablet is in the process or making several corrections to the story,” and offered to share a list of these supposed “fact checks” — but only if Davis would agree to meet a set of demands.
LOL at this ham-fisted, amateur PR response to @tabletmag's expose on the anti-Semitism that forms the foundation of the Women's March. "Promise to delete your tweet about an article we don't like, and we might send you 'facts' you're not allowed to publish because journalism." pic.twitter.com/GMMD5bT1Cg
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) December 12, 2018
“Before we share the fact-check: Can you confirm that what I am sending you is off the record, and will not be published?” Meléndez writes. “If you are interested in publishing any parts of the fact-checks below that you will contact us first to secure our agreement? You will let us know if you intend to delete your tweet pushing an article that includes sources/allegations, which were not vetted properly and in line with journalistic ethics? Once I receive your reply, I’ll send over the corrections. Please note that we are sending this to a number of reporters who shared this article.”
An identical e-mail was sent to a number of other reporters who also shared the story.
Who else got this weird email claiming to have contradicting information on @TabletMag's story on the Women's March but requiring an off-the-record agreement to share any of it? I've never seen anything quite like this before. pic.twitter.com/dWqyg23XtT
— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) December 12, 2018
I too received this bizarre email. I didn’t even tweet it, I retweeted someone else’s tweet. pic.twitter.com/Whg0oNoVEW
— Christine Rousselle (@crousselle) December 12, 2018
Uh what pic.twitter.com/fDvIu77Cgq
— Miriam Elder (@MiriamElder) December 12, 2018
— Jeryl Bier (@JerylBier) December 12, 2018
Asking a reporter from a different news outlet to agree to a list of demands before sharing a supposed fact check is bizarre. If Tablet Magazine actually got some facts wrong in its story, Megaphone should take that up with the magazine itself and ask that a correction be issued at the top of the original story. Asking that these fact checks be kept off-the-record also makes no sense. If there truly are factual errors in the story, wouldn’t Megaphone Strategies want this to be made known far and wide? Why the secrecy?
Also, a reporter’s tweets are none of Megaphone’s business. Demanding to know whether or not a reporter will delete a tweet before sharing information is an odd request. Why would a writer from a different outlet kow-tow to a random PR flack and agree to delete tweets in order to get these supposed “fact checks”–which must remain private for some reason–from the aggrieved party?
The Federalist reached out to individuals at Tablet Magazine for comment, but did not receive an immediate response.