New York University’s journalism school hired Talia Lavin this week, a former New Yorker factor checker who once falsely claimed that a disabled vet ICE agent had a Nazi tattoo.
According to The Wrap, NYU’s journalism school has hired former New Yorker fact checker Talia Lavin to a position on its faculty. Lavin is scheduled to teach a course entitled “Reporting on the Far Right” to undergraduate students at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute during the upcoming fall semester.
In June 2018, Lavin faced criticism for a tweet in which she accused disabled veteran and ICE agent Justin Gaertner of having a Nazi tattoo. In reality, the tattoo was a symbol for Gaertner’s platoon in Afghanistan. ICE demanded that Lavin apologize to Gaertner for the mistake.
“Over the weekend, social media perpetuated by a Tweet by New Yorker reporter Talia Levin erroneously implied that a tattoo on one of the arms [of ICE agent Justin Gaertner] was an Iron Cross and essentially labeled him a Nazi,” ICE said in a statement at the time. “Per Gaertner, the tattoo … is actually ‘Titan 2,’ the symbol for his platoon while he fought in Afghanistan,” the statement said, adding, “The writing on his right arm is the Spartan Creed which is about protecting family and children.”
Lavin apologized for her mistake and deleted the original tweet. “Some vets said this ICE agent’s tattoo looked more like a Maltese cross than an Iron Cross (common among white supremacists), so i deleted my tweet so as not to spread misinformation,” Lavin wrote.
some vets said this ICE agent's tattoo looked more like a Maltese cross than an Iron Cross (common among white supremacists), so i deleted my tweet so as not to spread misinformation pic.twitter.com/xaR6bqzSoP
— Talia Lavin (@chick_in_kiev) June 18, 2018
The New Yorker also issued a statement at the time, writing that Lavin’s personal Twitter account did not represent the magazine.
“The personal social-media accounts of staff members do not represent the magazine, and we in no way share the viewpoint expressed in this tweet,” a magazine spokesperson told National Review in a statement last June. “The tweet has been deleted, and we deeply regret any harm that this may have caused Mr. Gaertner.”
One liberal student at New York University said that he doesn’t understand the decision to hire Lavin. “I sympathize with Lavin’s politics, but I don’t know why someone who had to quit their journalism job for falsely implying someone is a Nazi should be teaching at NYU,” the student said in an anonymous comment to The Wrap. “I know there are plenty of reporters out there in need of work who haven’t made a mistake like that.”
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