Reporter Trolls Christian Schools

By William McGurn,
from The Wall Street Journal,

A writer gets more than he bargains for when he seeks an exposé on Twitter.

Remember the Ronald Reagan aphorism about the nine most terrifying words in the English language? They were: “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” Now we have a new contender. The nine words come from the first sentence of a tweet by Dan Levin last Thursday: “I’m a New York Times reporter writing about #exposechristianschools.” He continued: “Are you in your 20s or younger who went to a Christian school? I’d like to hear about your experience and its impact on your life.” #ExposeChristianSchools is a hashtag created by Chris Stroop, a self-described “exvangelical,” in response to news that Karen Pence, the vice president’s wife, is returning to her old job teaching art at a Christian school in Virginia. Mr. Stroop invited his “fellow Christian school grads” to share their stories about “how traumatizing those bastions of bigotry are.”

And irony of ironies, the Twitter fires set off by Mrs. Pence and the Covington Catholic incident continue to rage in the midst of what is now Catholic Schools Week. For Mr. Levin’s part, after his tweet was taken as a signal that he was trolling for grievances to fill out an attack piece, he issued a follow-up. A hit job was the furthest thing from his mind, he insisted. He was interested in all experiences—“including positive stories.” David Harsanyi, a senior editor for The Federalist who says he’s an atheist and supports same-sex marriage, was skeptical. It would, he said, take a “saint-like leap of faith” to believe Mr. Levin’s claim he had been aiming for balance. “Anyone who’s ever worked as a journalist,” Mr. Harsanyi wrote in the New York Post, “can tell you that ‘exposing’ someone does not typically—or perhaps ever—entail the pursuit of positive stories.”

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