Over the past few weeks, an intrepid reporter by the name of Kacey “Lego” Montagu has been able to ask White House press secretary Jen Psaki a number of questions without even being present.
White House reporters have been fielding questions from press who cannot physically be in the room due to coronavirus protocols. Through this, Montagu has been able to ask questions passed on by other reporters regarding ambassadorships, COVID-19 travel bans, and Biden‘s response to a hack at Microsoft.
One interesting note, however: Montagu isn’t a reporter. In fact, it’s likely “Kacey Montagu” doesn’t exist at all. The revelation that a fake persona posing as a White House reporter has been passing questions to the Biden administration was uncovered in a new report from . It’s unclear who is behind “Montagu.”
What is known about the mysterious fake reporter is that they’re active in the online game Roblox, which is where the nickname “Lego” likely comes from: Players refer to each other as “Legos” in the game.
Politico reviewed conversations between Montagu and U.S. officials and journalists where Montagu refers to themself as an “18-year-old law student from the United Kingdom” and claimed “they were studying political science.”
One interesting thing about the individual posing as Montagu is that their questions were all relevant and appeared to be asked in good faith. This isn’t trolling to attack a politician or party for political reasons. It’s not (apparently) “for the lulz” pranking either.
On Twitter, has become a little silly, basically sharing out all the things they’ve been called by various media outlets reporting on the story. But they also ran two Twitter accounts that shared real information: @WHschedule and @WHpoolreport, which posted the daily schedules released by the White House and journalists’ pool reports. (Pool reports are basically daily real-time reports about what the President, First Lady, and Vice President are doing).
So, while this is certainly an interesting story…is what Montagu did so bad?
“I love journalism, and I think the Press Corps is doing a pretty bad job at the moment,” said Montagu in a statement to Politico. “So, I decided I would ensure some transparency and ask some questions me and some friends wanted the answer to.”
At a time when people’s are at all-time lows, why shouldn’t regular ordinary citizens have some sort of access to ask questions that matter to them? What is the point of the daily press briefings from the White House if journalists are going to ask questions that simply don’t matter to the majority of the public?
Sure, obviously we can’t let just anyone physically walk into a White House press briefing for various security reasons, especially if they’d like to remain anonymous. But why are White House reporters only fielding outsiders’ questions due to COVID-19? And why are they only taking them from other journalists? In this day and age, the media and our government should be way more accessible to the people.
For all its issues, online platforms have shown people that they have power to make change. One doesn’t need a legacy media organization behind them to research topics or investigate issues. Smartphones, social media, the internet, so many tools are in everyone’s hands that anyone can be a citizen journalist.
Even a Lego from Roblox.