We Need to Talk About Katie Hill and the Media

This June 2018 photo provided by the Katie Hill Campaign shows Katie Hill on her ranch in Agua Dulce, Calif. Hill running as a Democrat wants to advance her party’s plans to take control of the House by replacing Rep. Steve Knight, who’s seeking a third term in what’s become a lonely GOP outpost , the last Republican-held House seat in strongly Democratic Los Angeles County. (Ben Steinberger/Katie Hill Campaign via AP)

It is a story of love and lust, affairs and scandal, and a good, old fashioned use of power over subordinates in sexual relationships. It’s everything you could want in a political story, and it has captured a lot of attention over the past several days. The story of Rep. Katie Hill is one we at RedState are all too happy the world is paying attention to.

What is less than ideal is the fact that most media outlets, especially the traditional/mainstream and legacy outlets, have decided that the story our Deputy Managing Editor Jen Van Laar has told is not the actual story, nor are they willing to give credit to her for having broken it.

Instead, to most of these outlets, the story is one of a poor Congresswoman whose abusive soon-to-be-ex-husband is leaking photos to make her look bad during divorce proceedings. It’s the story of a woman whose sexuality is being punished. It’s the story of far-right troublemakers posting revenge porn against political opponents. None of that is real, but that is the spin we have seen and will continue to see from people who don’t like the fact that a non-traditional, non-mainstream, and (worst of all) conservative outlet broke the story.

It is because of that hostility to places like RedState, where we do not hide our partisan lean, that actual, real journalism can so often get ignored or butchered. It is journalistic malpractice to pretend that the story Jen broke is anything other than how she has covered it.

CNN’s coverage of the story completely omits any mention of her or RedState. Time did the same thing. Other outlets, like Politico and the Washington Post, refer to the site, but do not link to the piece.

The New York Post was kind enough to link to it, and we could tell the story was of interest to its readers because many of their readers clicked through to see the original reporting. We appreciate that from the Post, and we wish that other outlets would do the same.

This story, the story of Katie Hill, her “throuple,” and her subsequent affairs and scandal, is the story of a person in power who used that power for sexual satisfaction. Because of the nature of the allegations, even the House Ethics Committee is looking into the alleged affair with a congressional staffer – a huge no-no in Congress.

The mainstream media’s attempts to write Van Laar and RedState out of the history of this scandal is saddening, but not entirely unexpected. The work that went into her series of articles detailing the scandal is the footwork of a true journalist. The use of certain images, while holding back on more scandalous ones, showed editorial restraint many outlets seem to have forgotten – that you can post enough to show something happened without posting too much and losing the point of the story.

CNN and other outlets are treating this story like it’s one they just stumbled across, like it’s a story that they plucked off some random corner of the Internet. But it isn’t. I’ve watched the statistics on the stories, and I’ve seen referrals from many different places on the Internet. Places that had the decency to acknowledge that this story was covered elsewhere and provide a link to their readers. They didn’t try to simultaneously write Van Laar and RedState out of the story while also treating it like it was their discovery and also the story is something other than what RedState reported.

The story is not Hill’s response to the allegations. It is not about a nude photo leak. It is not about divorce proceedings. It is not about anything other than Hill’s behavior as a candidate and congresswoman, and her use of power for sexual satisfaction. RedState’s Jen Van Laar did the legwork for a lot of these outlets who wouldn’t have a story if it weren’t for her.

For God’s sake, just admit that.