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Substack Vice President of Communications Lulu Cheng Meservey gave a journalism lesson to a Wired writer who accused her outlet of “recruiting and paying extremists.”
In a Twitter thread Wednesday, the Substack executive rejected a May 21 Wired article by Justin Pot as “false and misleading” before breaking down her interaction with the Wired journalist, who initially refused to offer a correction.
“We do not and have not, [employed extremists],” she wrote, “and he can’t name any examples. Yet when approached about it, he said: ‘I’d be happy to remove it if you could provide evidence that it’s inaccurate.’ That’s not how this works.”
Meservey explained it wasn’t her responsibility to prove a negative, before saying Pot’s accusation “bordered on extortion.”
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She tweeted, “It’s not journalism to make an unfounded claim and demand contrary ‘evidence’ to remove it. It borders on extortion: we will defame you unless you give us what we want. No. The onus is on the journalist to prove the accusation, not on the subject to disprove it.”
Meservey gave an example, “It’s like a media outlet accusing you of money laundering, and when you protest, they refuse to issue a correction unless you give them your financial statements,” and said it’s “clearly unreasonable.”
“That’s why the burden of proof is on the journalist, not the subject,” she stated.
The Substack VP known for defending free expression knocked the Wired writer for failing to prove his claim with evidence or examples. “He seems to just use ‘extremist’ as a label for anyone whose opinions he doesn’t like,” she noted.
She also expressed amazement that a media outlet with “any claim to integrity” would publish such an unfounded “slur.”
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“It’s now common to use words like ‘extremist’ not in the true sense, but as a slur against people on the other side — like how Putin calls Ukrainians ‘fascist.’ It’s unfortunate when people do this but crazy when it comes from a media outlet that makes any claim to integrity,” she tweeted.
Meservey wrapped up her scathing Twitter thread slamming the media outlet for “fabricating and defaming” the Substack community of writers.
“We’ve asked @Wired to correct this, but they refuse unless we pay the ransom in the form of private information. We won’t be doing that,” she concluded.
Wired appeared to take notice to the Twitter thread and issued a correction, Wednesday evening.
An update at the bottom of the May 21 article read, “Updated 6/8/2022 7:10 pm ET: A previous version of this story inaccurately stated that Substack recruits and pays extremists.”
Wired did not immediately provide comment when requested by Fox News Digital.
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This isn’t the first time the subscription newsletter service has been targeted for its commitment to free speech.
In April, Meservey called out The New York Times for running an article she claimed was full of “hearsay” and “cherry picked” information about her company.