Taylor Lorenz, the Washington Post’s controversial internet culture beat reporter, was confronted by fellow journalist Ben Smith on stage about why she describes her online critics as acting in “bad faith.”
Smith, who worked with Lorenz when they were both employed by the New York Times, interviewed her on Thursday during the pre-launch event for Semafor, a new media startup co-founded by Smith.
He asked Lorenz why she kept referring to her critics as “bad faith actors.”
“How do you know who’s in bad faith? Like, what’s my faith? You’re sort of looking into people’s hearts and saying, ‘This person who disagrees with me, they’re not mad at me because I got something wrong, they’re not mad at me because they think I’m too liberal, they’re fundamentally in bad faith,’” Smith said.
“How do you say that?”
“You can tell the difference between someone who disagrees with you and someone who is not operating in good faith,” responded Lorenz, who was wearing a mask while Smith was unmasked.
“How?” Smith wondered.
“Based on the nature of their question, right? For instance, if they’re coming to you in an honest capacity, and saying, ‘Hey, I noticed X-Y-Z,’ you’re like, ‘Oh, OK, I’ll take your feedback,’” Lorenz said.