Tony Ortega is a former employee of the Village Voice—a publication which found itself in hot water when it was revealed they’d been advertising the services of known sex-traffickers in their seedy ‘Backpage’ section.

Ortega now runs the Underground Bunker blog. Billing itself as the go-to zone for (eye-rolling sensationalized, bigoted, anti-religious) rants, it gives away Ortega’s game. How much clearer can it be that this supposedly “legitimate” blog is nothing but a bully pulpit from which Ortega can indulge his intolerance disguised as social outrage and foist off entirely fabricated nonsense as “breaking news”?

Sources in the journalist community consider Tony Ortega a developer of false leads, and let’s be clear Ortega is not a real journalist and here is why. When evaluating information, we are often admonished to “consider the source.” In the case of Tony Ortega, the warning applies not only to the content of his blogs but also to Ortega personally and the “publications” for which he worked.

Alternative papers are free weekly publications that earn revenue most often through the sale of the kind of advertising that reputable newspapers won’t permit – adult bookstores, strip clubs, classifieds with strong sexual content, etc. In between the trash, they slip in tabloid-style articles, promoted as “edgy” or “daring” when, in truth, they are simply fabrications sensationalized by low credibility writers like Ortega. While some of these “papers” make an effort to rise above the rest, most are gutter rags that all too often define “alternative news” as a slanderous substitution of the facts.

Ortega has spent his life practicing this excuse for journalism within the New Times Media and the Village Voice Media franchise of alternative papers. This platform has suited him well, for Ortega wrote for sleazy tabloids like he was born to it, a disposition that was in evidence as far back as high school.

[Header image: John Rickard]

De Facto Life Sentencing Begins for Backpage Pimps

Backpage may be dead but like something out of a bad horror movie, it continues to terrorize from beyond the grave.

A man accused of running a prostitution ring out of two spas in Billings, Montana will admit one charge and see three others dropped as part of a plea deal.

Scott

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How Texas Just Became Backpage’s Worst Nightmare

We’ve been taking an in-depth look in recent weeks at the government’s federal case against Backpage and the soulless monsters who built a child sex trafficking empire. Increasingly we’re seeing individual states filing their own charges and taking their own stands against these evil doers.

One such state working hard to ensure the

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Backpage: Incessant Acts of Brutality

We’ve spent a good deal of time looking at the history of the government’s case against Backpage. It’s been something of tsunami of information as seen from from our 10,000 foot view of the sordid story of the rise and fall of Backpage. Today we dive back into the gritty details left in its

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Backpage and Tony Ortega: Turning A Blind Eye

For all the forward movement we have seen in the government’s coming case against the Backpage it is important to remember that while the horrific duo Michael Lacey and James Larkin and their team of villainous propagandists like Tony Ortega have had their dark dreams of building a platform to cash in on the

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Backpage: A Frozen Asset’s Chance in Hell

“The people I work for were smart enough to start Backpage.com.” – Tony Ortega

In a just world, the seizure of Backpage by the Feds in 2017 should have been the knock-out blow to online sex trafficking. Instead, the endless game of whack-a-mole continues as we await upcoming court hearings on the matter.

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Reptile Theory

Two weeks after Fosta-Sesta passed, Carl Ferrer appeared in a closed federal courtroom in Phoenix. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to facilitate prostitution and launder money, surrendered Backpage and its assets, and promised to cooperate with federal authorities.

A day later, the Feds nailed Michael Lacey and James Larkin in Phoenix, charging them

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Backpage: Legacy of Shame

On the day SESTA (the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act) was introduced, the Internet Association—an industry consortium that represents Airbnb, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and more than three dozen other tech companies—released a statement criticizing the bill that would effectively end Lacey and Larkin’s dream of the Backpage sex trafficking empire, calling it “overly broad.”

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The Jig Is Up

On January 8, 2017, the Senate subcommittee released its final report, titled “Backpage.com’s Knowing Facilitation of Online Sex Trafficking.” It pushed the theory that Lacey, Larkin, Ferrer, and their employees had invalidated their liability protections under Section 230: Rather than removing illegal and obscene content, the Senate clearly established that Backpage had helped develop

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Conspiracy of Silence

We have seen how Backpage had used litigation tactics by manipulating legal loops to keep from itself from facing the music.

Most courts had had no choice but to grant them temporary victories because of the unduly broad language of the Section 230 loophole.

But following the subpoena blitz we previously reported

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Backpage: Subpoena Blitz

It’s no secret Michael Lacey and James Larkin built on the backs of (let’s be generous here) ‘questionable’ motives and a couple of key legal loopholes.

With Section 230 as their weapon, they pushed their way into the court system. At first it seemed the side of law and decency was losing after

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