Jamie Peck, a writer for the culture and politics blog Death And Taxes has been caught trying to instigate a media blackout against Lucian Wintrich’s upcoming pro-Trump art show in New York City.
More than two hundred other journalists from a range of publications including the New York Times, the L.A. Times and The Guardian were contacted by Peck, in an email chain reminiscent of GameJournoPros and JournoList.
Peck, who has previously labelled Wintrich’s pro-Trump photography as “neofascist,” urged her peers to ignore the Trump-supporting artist’s upcoming event, which will feature art submissions from Milo Yiannopoulos, Gavin McInnes, and Martin Shkreli.
In an email to the chain, Peck suggested that journalists should ignore the “alt-right clowns” and their art show.
From: Jamie Peck <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Subject: i know you’re smart
Sorry to revive this CC nightmare (minus anyone claiming to be Martin Shkreli) but the topic is relevant and I don’t want to add fuel to the fire by writing about it publicly.
Some alt-right clowns (Shkreli included) are having an art show in New York this weekend in the hopes of causing a media circus.
How about we make like we did with this email chain and ignore it until it goes away?
Have a sparklingTuesday. :)
The email went out to more than three hundred journalists from a range of British and American publications, including TIME, Vice, The New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Magazine, The New York Post, The L.A. Times, L.A Mag, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror The Huffington Post, Mic.com, BuzzFeed, Deadspin, Business Insider, The Verge, TechCrunch, The Daily Dot, Gadgette, and Tech Insider.
Broadcast journalists were also present on the list, which included reporters, directors, and managers from MSNBC, CNBC, BBC, CNN, and ESPN.
One employee of the Associated Press, a strategy manager, was also present on the list.
Breitbart contacted all journalists on the email chain, including Peck, to confirm the authenticity of the email and to gauge their opinion on the ethics of attempts to coordinate coverage across multiple journalistic outlets.
Most journalists on the email chain did not reply to our request for comment, but there were a few exceptions. When asked to confirm the authenticity of the email, Colin Pinkham, a contributor to Jezebel, Wonkette, Uproxx and Fusion told us this:
I can confirm that id rather shove a red hot cactus up my ass than ever say anything that might in any way benefit the douchehats at Breitbart.
Dell Cameron, a reporter for the Daily Dot, got back to us with a similar, though less graphic reply.
I can confirm that 1.609 is a good number to multiply mileage by if you’re trying to figure out approximately how many kilometers you’ve driven.
Miles Klee, an editor at the Daily Dot, was more detailed in his flippancy.
That email did indeed come from Jamie Peck, and everyone on the resulting thread—several hundred editors and writers in all—agreed not to cover the art show in question. Furthermore, some of us have decided to go to the art show anyway (in secret, of course) and fart on the art. I am one of these volunteers, but my conscience is beginning to gnaw at me. Is this ethical? Will it even accomplish anything? I am adrift and looking for any answers. Thank you for exposing this nefarious plot, and godspeed.
Eventually, serious replies began to trickle in. One journalist, who wanted his name and publication kept off the record, confirmed that the he “did get the email” and that “it comes from an email address I believe to be Peck.”
Another journalist, from a mainstream web publication, confirmed that they also received the email, although they were slightly baffled as to why. “Yeah it’s real. We all received it. I don’t know why the fuck I’m on that thread and I don’t why the fuck people keep emailing it. But I did. It’s real.”
Ted Scheinman, an editor for the Pacific Standard, also confirmed that he believed the email to be from Peck, although he argued that because the email chain emerged out of happenstance, there was nothing nefarious about it or Peck’s use of it.
Oh yes, I assumed the email was legitimate, though I myself don’t know Jamie Peck – – one of the many odd things about this list is that it includes a seemingly random group of web and magazine writers, many (or most?) of whom didn’t know each other before the original email, and who also (I think) work on vastly different beats from one another. Some aren’t journalists at all.”
I didn’t in the least read Peck’s email as pressuring collusion, still less as the start of some dark coordinated effort. Remember that this isn’t a curated list of likeminded journalists; it’s an assortment of people brought together purely because one of these guys (Shkreli) spammed us a handful of times in a bid for press and general attention. (I suspect he would say it was merely to ruin our day, or something.)
So the list began as this weird random web thing and continued in that vein – – hardly a secret group of journalist co-conspirators. Christ, there’s at least one sex worker on the email list; she wrote in and made it clear that she had no desire to be counted among journalists. I liked that response a lot.
According to our information, no journalist on the list has responded to Peck’s request with support or disavowal, which makes it difficult to tell who among them are following her lead on the proposed blackout. Judging by the responses of the Daily Dot and Jezebel contributors however, there’s no shortage of anti-conservative sentiment among the journalists on the list.
What we do know is that no publication named on the list has covered Wintrich’s upcoming event, which is politically newsworthy and features a number of high-profile figures from media and business.
A comprehensive list of the publications contacted by Peck is copied below. We will not reveal the names or email addresses of the individual journalists contacted at this time.
At the time of writing, none of the contacted publications have covered Wintrich’s art show.
- Digital Trends
- The Daily Dot
- Tech Insider
- The Verge
- Refinery 29
- The Dallas Socials
- The New York Post
- The Ringer
- L.A Magazine
- Business Insider
- Huffington Post
- The Daily Mail
- L.A Times
- The New York Times
- NY Daily News
- NY Magazine
- The Guardian
- Death And Taxes
- Raw Story
- Associated Press
- Woven Digital
- Business Insider
- The Daily Mirror
- RT America
- The Nation
- Entertainment Weekly
- The Frisky
- Love Grey Skies
- The Independent
- Al Jazeera
- Arizona Republic
- CBS Interactive
- American Progress
- The Pacific Standard
- Woven Digital
- Elite Daily
- The Street
- Pegasus Books
Disclosure: This author has previouly contributed an article to TechCrunch, which is one of the publications named in this list.
Correction: Mic.com did cover a story related to Lucian Wintrich’s art exhibition, about a planned fundraiser for LGBT veterans.