Lee Stranahan is an American investigative reporter who, as of 2017, was working for Sputnik, a Russian government-controlled news agency. He previously worked for Breitbart News, and has written for The Huffington Post and Daily Kos. Before his career in journalism, he was a television producer, illustrator, and erotic photographer.
Journalism and politicsEdit
Stranahan began to switch to journalism during the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike. During that time he posted parody political advertisements on YouTube, including one that poked fun at Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. Stranahan later said the videos led to a job writing political comedy for The Huffington Post. In March 2008, Stranahan was banned from making posts on Daily Kos after his comments about the John Edwards extramarital affair.
Stranahan met Andrew Breitbart while working on assignment in 2010. The two men quickly became friends, and Breitbart converted Stranahan to conservatism, became his mentor, and hired him to work at Breitbart News. Stranahan has also described Steve Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, as being his mentor.
In 2012, Stranahan received threats of physical violence after a screening of Occupy Unmasked. In 2013, he was an active critic of Deric Lostutter's "KYAnonymous campaign". He left Breitbart News in 2013 and was re-hired. In 2014, he was fired from Breitbart News on what he disputed as false allegations.[further explanation needed] In July 2016, Stranahan was arrested while covering a protest over the death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
During the 2016 presidential election, while working for Breitbart News, Stranahan communicated with Russian hackers via Guccifer 2.0 to leak illicitly obtained material about the Democratic Party. Stranahan claimed on Twitter in March 2017 that he had introduced Guccifer 2.0 to Roger Stone. Stranahan, managed to obtain material from Guccifer 2.0 about Black Lives Matter. Stone and Stranahan, who was then assisting him, disputed that Guccifer 2.0 was a front for Russia during the 2016 election. An article by Stone on this issue appeared on Breitbart News; Stranahan has said he was the piece's ghost writer. In July 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian agents and described Guccifer 2.0 as a Russian government front. Mueller's indictment referred to an unnamed reporter who had conferred with the Russians about the timing of a leak; Stranahan has confirmed that he was the journalist concerned. He has said he was the reporter mentioned over the theft of material concerning Black Lives Matter.
In April 2017, Stranahan announced he had resigned from his position at Breitbart News, the third time he'd either left or been fired from the organization. He said he quit in protest after the site's Washington editor prevented him from covering the White House. Stranahan had been attending the briefings for several weeks while identifying himself as a Breitbart reporter and trying to ask White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer a question about CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity technology company that handled the Democratic National Committee's servers during the 2016 election.
After accepting an approach from Radio Sputnik, Stranahan announced in April 2017 that he was the co-host of a new radio show for the radio station called Fault Lines with Nixon and Stranahan co-hosted with Garland Nixon. Stranahan, the station's only contributor to identify himself as a supporter of President Donald Trump, told The Washington Post that he wanted to work for Sputnik because so many Americans inaccurately believe Russia is their country's enemy. He said he "doesn't have any qualms" with being "on the Russian payroll" and that the content of his show was not restricted in any way. Caroline Lester in The New Republic in 2018 speculated that "Russian authorities may not need to exercise direct editorial control to achieve their ends" referring to the contributors it hires, such as Stranahan and John Kiriakou.
- Gray, Rosie (April 5, 2017). "From Breitbart to Sputnik". The Atlantic.
I’m on the Russian payroll now, when you work at Sputnik you’re being paid by the Russians
- "Lee Stranahan - HuffPost". www.huffingtonpost.com.
- "Blogger Banned Over Edwards Scandal Posts". Gawker Media. Ryan Tate. March 8, 2008.
- Dickerson, Caitlin (September 26, 2017). "How Fake News Turned a Small Town Upside Down". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
- Stranahan, Lee (May 25, 2011). "Where The John Edwards Scandal Is Headed". The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
- Moyer, Justin Wm. (July 12, 2017). "From the Kremlin to K Street: Russia-funded radio broadcasts blocks from the White House". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
- "2012 Republican Convention: 'Occupy Unmasked' Screening Draws Threats to Filmmakers". The Hollywood Reporter. Paul Bond. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
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- ""Weaponize the Media": An Anonymous Rapper's War on Steubenville". Gawker Media. Adrian Chen. December 6, 2013.
- "Baton Rouge Protesters Flee to Private Property, Militarized Police Chase Them Off and Arrest Many". Reason. Anthony L. Fisher. 11 July 2016.
- "At least 3 journalists at Alton Sterling protest arrested by Baton Rouge police outside headquarters". The Advocate. Bryn Stole. July 9, 2016.
- Friedman, Dan. "Mueller's Indictment of 12 Russian Spies is Very Bad for Trump". Mother Jones. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
- Walker, Hunter; Isikoff, Michael (October 13, 2017). "FBI Document Cache Sheds Light On Inner Workings Of Russia's U.S. News (And Propaganda) Network". HuffPost. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
- Woodruff, Betsy; Suebsaeng, Asawin (July 13, 2018). "Will Trump Keep Pushing Putin's Lies About Attacking America?". The Daily Beast. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
- Sanger, David E.; Rutenberg, Jim; Lipton, Eric (July 15, 2018). "Tracing Guccifer 2.0's Many Tentacles in the 2016 Election". The New York Times. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
- Lester, Caroline (May 14, 2018). "The CIA Spy Who Became a Russian Propagandist". The New Republic. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
- "Occupy Unmasked (2012) reviews". Fandango.