Update: Miami Paper Admits Basing Hit Piece on Blatantly False Information, Refuses Correction
After Big League Politics exposed Reuters and Miami New Times journalist Zachary Fagenson for authoring an article based on factually incorrect information, independent journalist Jacob Engels received a comment from the Miami New Times stating that the publication had no plan to retract or correct its fake news.
In an article linking a celebrity chef in Miami to the Proud Boys fraternal organization, Fagenson incorrectly claimed that the FBI listed the Proud Boys as an extremist group. This claim, originally published by the Washington Post, was later corrected by the Post and The Hill in separate articles. The FBI does not consider the Proud Boys to be an extremist group, yet Fagenson and his editor, Chuck Strouse, stand by this false statement.
In emails provided to Big League Politics, Strouse, editor-in-chief for The Miami New Times, admits that the publication is using a factually inaccurate, out of date article by The Washington Post as its sole source for the claim that the FBI is interested in the Proud Boys.
Strouse first appeared to state that their article did make the claim that the FBI listed the Proud Boys as an extremist group. When Engels provided the quote from the Miami New Times article, specifically that “for a short time were labeled by the FBI as an extremist group with ties to white nationalists,” Strouse fell back to the factually inaccurate Washington Post article that bolstered the claim.
The Washington Post originally reported that the FBI listed the Proud Boys as an extremist group in November of last year, and then released a followup the next month indicating that this information was incorrect and the FBI does not consider the fraternal organization to be an extremist group.
Engels summarized the Post’s followup article, and provided Strouse with an article from The Hill, featuring quotes from high ranking FBI officials stating that the FBI does not consider the fraternal organization an extremist group.
A high-ranking member of the FBI in Oregon said that the agency does not designate the far-right Proud Boys as an extremist group, contradicting a report from a law enforcement official in Washington state last month.
Special Agent in Charge Renn Cannon said this week that there was a misinterpretation during a slide-show presentation hosted for officials at the Clark County Sheriff’s Office in Vancouver, Wash., according to the Oregonian.
FBI agents briefed law enforcement leaders in Clark County about the Proud Boys, a far-right group which labels itself as “a pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world; aka Western Chauvinists.”
In short, Fagenson is being allowed by his publication’s editor-in-chief to publish blatantly fake news that depends entirely on a now debunked claim from the Post.
Fagenson obtained a photo from Crandall’s private Instagram, in which Crandall wore a camouflage Proud Boys hat while holding his infant son.
According to Fagenson, this serves as proof of the celebrity chef’s membership in the organization, which Fagenson falsely claims was considered an “extremist group with ties to white nationalists” by the FBI, and that Crandall must exhibit “chauvinist, racist, or bigoted” attitudes and behaviors. Fagenson also claims that the Proud Boys make immigrant families an “object of scorn”.
It was briefly reported last year that the FBI was investigating the Proud Boys, and this was quickly revealed to be a false rumor circulated entirely in media circles that had no basis in reality.
Engels, who embedded himself within the Proud Boys as a journalist for several months in an attempt to discover whether the group was the racist, homophobic, xenophobic, and Islamophobic caricature it has been painted as by the media, says legal action is being considered against The Miami New Times.
Speaking to Big League Politics, Engels seemed shocked to discover that Strouse “admits to using dates and false media reports about the Proud Boys to fit the narrative of their hit piece.” He adds, “It’s pretty damn sick to see what these journalists want for anyone to the right of Karl Marx: deplatform, dehumanize, destroy.”
“Hitler called, he wants his platform for enemies of the Reich back,” said Engels. “It’s so 1933.”
Big League Politics contacted Reuters for comment about whether Fagenson’s behavior is replicated when writing under its banner, and did not receive an immediate response.