Because the corporate media focus on only The Most Important Things, you’ve likely received a hefty helping of the Johnny Depp versus Amber Heard courtroom drama whether or not you wanted to. In case you hadn’t yet heard, Depp won the defamation suit on Wednesday afternoon.
The real loser in the whole sensationalized mess, however, isn’t the “Aquaman” actress, who now owes some $15 million to her actor ex-husband. It’s The Washington Post, which printed Heard’s infamous “sexual violence” claims in 2018 that cost Depp, in his own words, “everything.”
It’s all such a degenerate nightmare of he-said-she-said from start to finish, with claims of everything from drunken outbursts and drug addiction, to sexual and physical abuse, to poop on bedsheets and the inadvertent chopping off a fingertip with a vodka bottle in a bout of blind rage. These are just the snippets I picked up from the inescapable news cycle because there’s really no other justifiable reason for watching such nonsense. None of it matters outside the ex-couple and their immediate circle.
What does matter to the rest of America is the pitiful state of elite journalism that enables such a weighty claim as sexual violence to be published unchallenged. Perhaps our cultural lie that nothing more than silence can constitute “violence” has watered down the word, but phrases such as “sexual violence” do have meaning — and weighty ones at that — and it’s the duty of journalists to gatekeep those definitions and fact-check claims of them.
The Washington Post has reported also on the trial, attempting to distance itself from Heard’s op-ed with facts that came out after the newspaper published her claims, such as how much each person is suing the other for, what the fallout of the article has been, and the fact that “Depp has denied all claims of abuse.”
A publication with any semblance of ethics might have asked Depp for comment about the sexual violence claims before running with the allegations — then subsequently spiked the op-ed or sicced its reporters on the case for more fact-finding. But not The Washington Post.
That paper, which loves to blather in its self-important tone about how “democracy dies in darkness,” didn’t bother to turn the lights in the direction of Heard’s claims. Instead, it gave her a free pass to air her dirty laundry against her ex-husband and consequently enabled her to paint herself both as a victim and a crusader of the Me Too era.
The whole situation offers two takeaways, and they aren’t that Depp is a dreamy hero or stand-up husband. The first is that “Believe All Women” is not only a lousy standard for our culture generally but it’s a disgraceful standard for legacy newsrooms. Good journalists live by a principle known as “trust but verify,” and The Washington Post traded it for “believe and print — or you’re complicit in wife-beating.”
To that end, the second takeaway is that if The Washington Post can’t be bothered to verify a simple but heavy claim of sexual violence against an A-list actor, it can’t be trusted to tell the truth about Russia collusion hoaxes, rape allegations against Republican Supreme Court nominees, guns, infanticide supporters, abortion, corrupt bureaucrats, critical race theory opponents, kids wearing MAGA hats, brutal ISIS leaders, peaceful Trump supporters, or even Jesus — among countless other people and things.
Amber Heard might have lost the lengthy defamation battle, but The Washington Post is the one with a habit of crapping the bed.