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NYU Hires Fact Checker Who Was Fired for Falsely Labeling Veteran A Nazi

NYU hired a former New Yorker employee Wednesday who had been fired for falsely labeling an ICE agent as a Nazi, to teach on far right coverage.

Talia Lavin will now be teaching a class at New York University called “Reporting on the Far Right” in NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. She is a “writer and researcher focused on far-right extremism and social justice,” according to her university profile.

Lavin was fired from the New Yorker for accusing a disabled ICE agent and US Veteran of being a Nazi due to a cross tattoo on his arm. This accusation came after she viewed a photo of the veteran online, where she then tweeted about it. She later deleted her tweet, saying that “some vets said this ICE agent’s tattoo looked more like a Maltese cross than an Iron Cross (common among white supremacists), so i deleted my tweet so as not to spread misinformation.”

The official ICE twitter account responded to the incident by pointing out that the cross was the symbol of the agent’s platoon in Afghanistan. “Justin Gaertner is a combat wounded U.S. Marine who continues to serve his country as an ICE computer forensics analyst, helping solve criminal cases & rescue abused children,” they said in a tweet.

In a statement, ICE told Lavin and the New Yorker that they owed Gaertner an apology. The statement also advised that the writing on Gaertner’s arm was “the Spartan Creed” dedicated to protecting family and children.

The New Yorker disavowed any association with Lavin’s views.

Less than a month after she was fired from the New Yorker, Lavin was picked up by Media Matters, the progressive media watchdog, where she worked as a “researcher on far-right extremism and the alt-right.” Her work includes topics such as Russian influence on positive American coverage of Trump, far right anti-Semitic conspiracies, how YouTube assists in right-wing radicalization, and more.

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