Mic is a millennials-focused news website. In its decade of existence, it has endured pivot after pivot: first prioritizing progressive policy coverage, then expanding into lifestyle and culture coverage, and ultimately focusing on video content for social media optimization. After Facebook stopped rewarding Upworthy-style emotional manipulation and canceled a deal with the company in 2018, Mic cratered, laying off most of its staff.
But the site still exists; it has not yet “pivoted to dust.” The current iteration is clearly trying to recapture some of its former glory by punching above its own weight and has thus found an unsurprising target: Fox News. Mic writer Rafi Schwartz recently lambasted Fox hosts Greg Gutfeld and Katherine Timpf for condoning the recreational use of ayahuasca after Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers admitted to using—and loving—the drug. Schwartz found it odd that Fox News was suddenly “on board with ayahuasca” and implied that the hosts were only approving of it for Rodgers, a “Trump-leaning himbo” as Schwartz describes him (misspelling his name in the process).
Schwartz is framing this as an example of hypocrisy, giving readers the impression that the Fox News duo would have otherwise criticized drug use if the subject were anyone else but are excusing it in this case because Rodgers is a quasi-sympathetic figure on the right.
But this framing is wildly inaccurate and unfair. Gutfeld (who hosts Gutfeld!, one of the most watched late-night shows in all of television) and Timpf (now the top female talent on late-night television following Samantha Bee’s cancelation) have long described themselves as libertarians on drug issues. (Disclaimer: I appear frequently on Fox News, including on the Gutfeld! program, as do other Reason staffers.) Both have expressed the view that even heroin could be legalized. Timpf has written in favor of legalizing marijuana and magic mushrooms.
“I have spoken out against the War on Drugs consistently and repeatedly throughout my entire career—on television, in columns and speeches, as well as on social media,” Timpf told Reason in an email. “I have repeatedly said that no drug should be illegal, and I have never said the opposite. This is also far from the first time that I have publicly discussed the potential mental-health benefits of psychedelic drugs.”
Schwartz also attacked Timpf for describing ayahuasca as “not like a party drug,” as if she was trying to rationalize some unbalanced stance, writing, “It’s important to note that there’s a fair amount of hypocrisy in Timpf’s ayahuasca enthusiasm, and particularly her assertion that it’s okay since it’s ‘not like a party drug’—as if other substances that could be easily written off as such don’t also have their own medicinal, psychological, and cultural benefits (and even if they didn’t, who cares? Don’t be a narc).”
“All it took was a Trump-supporting handsome white guy multimillionaire athlete to get the ball rolling,” Schwartz concluded. He did not respond to a request for comment.
Timpf’s views are neither hypocritical nor newly-discovered nor due to Trump: She has long advocated legalizing all drugs, including both ayahuasca and “party drugs.”
“To accuse me of hypocrisy given my perfect record of consistency on this issue is absurd,” wrote Timpf.
Timpf notes that she raised these issues with Schwartz—tagging him on Twitter—but several days later, he has not responded or corrected the piece.
Writers who want to play media commentator should at least be able to fairly describe the ideologies of the personalities they are scrutinizing. Whatever one thinks of Fox News, it’s undeniable that Gutfeld, Timpf, and Fox Business’ Kennedy are consistent supporters of drug legalization. Libertarians should be glad that this view has powerful advocates on the channel—advocates that continue to rightly press President Joe Biden to de-escalate the war on drugs.