The Intercept has been publishing videos written and produced by an activist who is tied to the extremist group Direct Action Everywhere.
Leighton Woodhouse was recently named Direct Action Everywhere-San Francisco Bay Area’s “member of the week.” In an interview with the organization posted to Facebook, Woodhouse said he had been an animal rights activist for nine years. He also disclosed that he had even been arrested for his work with extremist groups like Direct Action Everywhere.
The Intercept has been publishing Woodhouse’s propaganda on animal rights issues under the guise of it being straight news. The most recent video The Intercept has published was in June, though they have published his work steadily for years. As Woodhouse noted, he has been an animal activist for nearly a decade.
During those years, Woodhouse published several hit pieces against the meat industry. Those stories were placed right alongside other news stories, including coverage of the presidential election and immigration. Viewers were not notified that Woodhouse was an activist who would go as far as getting arrested to gain attention for his views on animal rights.
And Direct Action Everywhere is not some mundane social club. It’s a criminal organization. Direct Action Everywhere has stolen animals from farms, chained themselves to farm equipment, and engaged in other illegal activities. The group’s founder, Wayne Hsiung, has faced 17 felony charges while other members of the group have been accused of racism and sexism. According to an attorney with Duane Morris, an international law firm, “One former member stated that a sexual abuser remained in a leadership position in DxE and the victim was pressured into staying silent about her concerns and accepting apologies.” (DxE disputes this allegation.)
The organization’s members hold radical viewpoints on animal rights and believe the consumption of animal products — including meat, eggs, and dairy products — should be illegal. Members want animals to be given equal rights in the eyes of the law.
Sending a Direct Action Everywhere “member of the week” to cover the meat industry is no different than sending Greta Thunberg to do an objective report on a fossil fuels company. Publishing propaganda as though it is straight news destroys the idea of journalistic ethics. It’s another example of how not everything labeled “news” is coming from an objective point of view.