As of 7:08 a.m. ET on Thursday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, it was reported that the crew aboard the OceanGate submersible bound for the Titanic had depleted their supply of breathable air.
Before their oxygen supply reached a critical stage, the New Republic, a progressive-liberal publication, made a surprising choice. Instead of reporting on the impending danger faced by the lost passengers, they opted to publish an article highlighting the Republican affiliation of Stockton Rush, a crew member and the CEO of OceanGate.
Following its publication, the article faced intense backlash online, with critics vehemently denouncing it as “disgusting.” The magnitude of the backlash was so significant that the New Republic ultimately removed its corresponding Twitter post from the platform.
In the article titled “OceanGate CEO Missing in Titanic Sub Had History of Donating to GOP Candidates,” staff writer Daniel Strauss highlighted, “According to public campaign finance records, Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate who is currently trapped aboard the missing Titan submersible during a tourist expedition of the Titanic wreck, has consistently supported Republican candidates through donations throughout the years.”
Strauss pointed out that while Rush wasn’t a Republican megadonor, his donations over the years predominantly favored Republican candidates. This suggestion hinted that Rush might not even be considered redeemable within his party, possibly being labeled as a “RINO” (Republican in name only).
The article brought attention to the fact that the OceanGate CEO had made a donation of $1,500 to former Republican Representative John Culberson. It further noted that Culberson had received a perfect scorecard rating of 100% from the conservative Family Research Council, a lifetime rating of 92% from the American Conservative Union and a lifetime score of 4% from the League of Conservation Voters.
Strauss seemed to position his particular emphasis within a wider context of “growing scrutiny surrounding OceanGate and its senior executives.”
Investigative reporter Matt Taibbi took to Twitter to express his response to the article, stating, “Welp, I guess we should hope they all die slowly and gasping in terror, then. Congrats @newrepublic you found a new low on Twitter!”
Welp, I guess we should hope they all die slowly and gasping in terror, then.
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) June 22, 2023
Following the removal of the article from Twitter due to the backlash, the New Republic published another piece lamenting the widespread interest in the fate of the OceanGate Titan crew.
In this new article, staff writer Alex Shephard drew attention to the relatively little coverage given by the media to the frequent deaths of undocumented immigrants in the Mediterranean. Shephard wrote, “While we hope for the safe discovery of the sub’s passengers, it also highlights the media’s tendency to swiftly shift its focus to certain issues while neglecting other significant omissions in its coverage.”