Friday, the day after The Daily Cannibal, called on Tony Ortega, editor of the Village Voice, to save whatever might remain of his tattered soul to quit. Ortega has been the excuse-maker-in-chief for Village Voice Media’s webpage backpage.com, the nation’s pimp for teenage prostitutes.
Friday morning, he did. Pure coincidence.
Ortega didn’t quit. He was fired, and everyone in New York media knows it. Ortega lied. Lying comes as naturally to Ortega as slithering to a snake.
In fact, Ortgeaga’s entire journalistic career has been built on lies.
So — what really happened?
First, Ortega’s increasing negligence of his duties attracted some attention. He ceased to edit feature articles.
Second, his obsession with Scientology began to disturb people at Village Voice Media who thought that the focus of their editor ought to be on New York.
Third, and possibly most important, his personal life became troubling to them.
And this last thing intrigues us. Because Ortega’s only real claim to fame is a story in which he makes highly insulting allegations about another man’s personal life. Now, we have received information from a source with — to put it bluntly — highly personal details about Ortega of an extremely damaging nature.
If and when we can confirm this information, we will print it.
This is more than Ortega did for Bruce McMahan, whom he accused of marrying his own daughter (in Westminster Abbey, no less). Ortega bought a tissue of lies because it gave him a chance to publish a lurid article about a prominent citizen. He didn’t do anything at all to verify these alllegations. He ran with the article, because it was his shot for fame.
Since then, the two sources for the article have been exposed as extortionists who enlisted Ortega as a willing or unwitting dupe. Both are guilty of perjury. The first, McMahan’s ex-wife, has been ordered by Supreme Court of New York to undergo mandatory psychiatric treatment. Full custody of their young children has been awarded to McMahan. Do courts do this lightly? Award custody of small children to a 70+ year old father, rather than their mother? Readers, ask yourselves.
The daughter, Linda Schutt, was dropped by her attorney, noted feminist advocate Gloria Allread , when Allread insisted that Schutt take a lie detector test concerning her allegations about her father — because, unlike Ortega, she’s a professional. Schutt failed the test.
But today, with time running out, Ortega used his sock puppet web thugs to launch a last-ditch assault on McMahan. Why?
Ortega has only ever really had, in his entire career, this one story. It isn’t even his (the reporter who actaully wrote the first stories now languishes in well-deserved unemployed obscurity). It brought him to the chair at the Village Voice. He rode these lies like a scorpion on the back of a spider.
Now Ortega seeks to deflect attention from a new website, tonyortega.xxx, which focuses on his role as the chief defender for Village Voice Media’s child prostitution website, backpage.com. Deprived of the Voice as a bully pulpit, he has co-opted a major website, reddit.com, with a post alleging that Wikipedia was paid by McMahan to delete an article repeating Ortega’s libels. We don’t blame Ortega for his animus towards Wikipedia; they dismissed him as “a hack.”
The post was then clearly manipulated in order to promote it on search engines, a fact that several people commented on. This is a standard technique of Ortega’s, which he frequently attempted to employ to promote the ranking of Voice stories on sites like Google. The algorithm in this case caught the manipulation, and demoted the post several times.
So now we have a situation where Mr. Ortega finds himself in an unusual place. He no longer has a publication and website to use to bully innocent and defenseless people. And he himself is now the target of an unwelcome glare of attention. His story about quitting to write a book has generated near-universal hoots of derision: in the world of journalism, this is standard code for “I’ve been fired and have no idea what I’m doing next.” The only thing that might have generated a bigger howl would be “I want to spend more time with my family.”
We said that if Ortega quit, we would applaud him and wish him well. And we would have. But this slinking out the back door, mealy-mouthed sham of a resignation fools no one, and we intend to continue to look into backpage.com and Ortega’s role in defending its unfathomable abomination.