‘Kacey Montagu’ worked for a fictitious media outlet, named White House News.
At a time when governments across the world are battling with fake news, it appears that the Joe Biden administration has it tougher. The White House has to also tackle the issue of ‘fake reporters’, especially after it was discovered that they were answering questions from a journalist who did not exist. For over four press briefings, White House press secretary Jen Psaki has fielded questions posed to her by reporters on behalf of a colleague who was recovering from COVID-19. Nothing suspicious here, until you realize that this reporter, who calls herself ‘Kacey Montagu’, is actually no reporter at all. She is, instead, a gamer on the online platform ROBLOX.
According to a Politico report, Kacey Montagu did not just have a fake identity. She also worked for a fictitious media outlet, named White House News. This was shortened in emails to WHN.
In other communications, Ms Montagu claimed to be a reporter for The Daily Mail and said that she was a member of the White House Correspondents Association. This was also the position she took while corresponding with White House reporters as well as officials. The only catch is that Ms Montagu is not a member of WHCA or The Daily Mail. Additionally, she also ran two Twitter handles that were followed by several journalists, and White House officials, Politico reported.
Ms Montagu set up the Twitter accounts “WH Schedule” and “WH Pool Report” through which she reposted information such as the daily schedules of the president, first lady, vice president, and the second gentleman. She also reposted real-time dispatches about the movements and utterances of important officials known as pool reports. Both accounts are now suspended, according to The Independent.
Armed with her popular Twitter accounts and access to important names in the government, Ms Montagu had even filed Freedom of Information Act requests. She had obtained Ms Psaki’s personal financial disclosure form, as well as the disclosure of Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser.
It is the “pretty bad job that the Press Crops is doing” that inspired Ms Montagu to pull off this impersonation. When contacted by a White House reporter about the motivation behind her actions, Ms Montagu said, “I love journalism, and I think the Press Corps is doing a pretty bad job at the moment, so I decided I would ensure some transparency and ask some questions me and some friends wanted the answer to.”
Ms Montagu’s real identity, however, remains a mystery. While she told Politico that she was studying Political Science, she informed US officials, and nonprofit journalism and government-tracking outfits that she was an 18-year-old law student from the United Kingdom who was born in the U.S.
Her successful masquerade comes as no surprise to some of her fellow gamers, who call themselves Legos. A user who goes by the name ‘pres. arnie vinick’ was quoted saying, “She’s been bragging about it for a while.”
Following the revelation, an old LinkedIn profile, as well as a Google-hosted profile page for Ms Montagu, is now unavailable.
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