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Racists, trolls and idiots launch Twitter campaign to smear John Oliver as racist

John Oliver’s campaign for Net Neutrality is facing some interference

HAPPY UPDATE: Looks like this little bit of hashtag activism despicable trollish smearing has collapsed; the hashtag is pretty much dead as of now. (5/11/17, noonish Chicago time)

On last Sunday’s episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver once again rallied his fans to stand up for Net Neutrality, now under threat from the Trump administration, urging them to visit Gofccyourself.com, a site that links directly to the FCC page for public comment on the proposed change.

And so some of the worst people on the Internet have launched a new Twitter campaign to smear Oliver as racist — and get him fired. 

“Er, what?” you might be wondering.

Well, it turns out that Trump’s newly appointed FCC head is of Indian descent. And the FCC site has been hit with a flood of racist comments attacking him.

The Washington Free Beacon, a right-wing rag the Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf once described as a “decadent and unethical” part of the “ascendant ‘smear wing’ of the conservative movement” has decided that Oliver is personally to blame.

John Oliver’s “grassroots” activism against Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai is full of bot accounts, fake comments, and death threats against the chairman. ….

However, an analysis of comments to Pai’s Restoring Internet Freedom filing, which Oliver has dubbed “Go FCC yourself,” shows thousands of comments using fake names and bots posing as “Jesus Christ,” “Michael Jackson,” “Homer Simpson,” and “Melania Trump.”

For instance, as of Tuesday evening, there were 1,761 comments filed under the name “John Oliver,” 998 separate comments using the name “Yoni Schwartz,” and 611 comments filed using “1” as the name. …

Pai also received death threats in several submissions. …

Other comments used racial attacks against Pai, the son of Indian immigrants.

Now some of the Internet’s worst people have seized upon this article (and a similar one in the right-wing Daily Caller) as an excuse to attack Oliver as the supposed instigator of this racist harassment campaign against Pai.

https://twitter.com/GasJaredKushner/status/862449448017952768

https://twitter.com/rockie_springer/status/862413212427456517

https://twitter.com/JimMcNulty8/status/862446902398332928

https://twitter.com/uliw315/status/862396353426731008

https://twitter.com/DeplorableSammm/status/862389346816720897

https://twitter.com/RosalynJBurgess/status/862390076596248576

https://twitter.com/dreamedofdust/status/862385631141539841

https://twitter.com/DeportSJWs/status/862386470509658112

I guess staying on message is harder than it seems.

Alongside all the Pepes and Deplorables, the hashtag is currently being spammed by dozens (hundreds?) of egg accounts all tweeting the same thing; it’s not clear who’s responsible for this.

The instigator and main organizer of the Twitter campaign? Alt-right “journalist” and infamous internet troll Jack Posobiec.

https://twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/862370548063633416

https://twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/862400904523374592

https://twitter.com/PutinsHacker/status/862404791003222016

https://twitter.com/Nik_Kirtane/status/862392588304777216

That last accusation from Posobiec — that Oliver was “making fun of the way foreigners talk” — is especially pungent bullshit, by the way. In the video that Posobiec links to in his Tweet as evidence, Oliver gently chides some of India’s more sensationalistic cable news channels, not by mocking how anyone talks but by pointing out the the ways in which they resemble Fox News. One of the channels he mocks? CNN India, for a misleading headline.

Posobiec, who works for Canada’s Rebel Media, was recently granted a White House press pass. Because that’s the kind of world we live in today.

Now, there are just a few teensy problems with the #FireOliver campaign.

John Oliver is not actually racist. He said nothing even vaguely racist in his Net Neutrality segment on Sunday, nor did he in any way encourage his viewers to launch racist attacks, or even personal attacks, on Pai.

There is absolutely no proof that Oliver has any connection to the troll accounts or the hate campaign, nor does he have any history of using trolls or bots. 

You know who DOES have a history positively overflowing with trolls and bots?

Jack Posobiec.

You remember the massive leak of hacked emails from the campaign of current French President-elect Emmanuel Macron? Posobiec was the key person responsible for spreading the hacked data on social media in the West.

Sandy Garossino, writing in Canada’s National Observer, notes that Posobiec has been identified by cyber-security experts

as the origin of the first tweet linking a massive cache of Russian-hacked documents dumped onto the conspiracy website 4chan. He attached the hashtag #MacronLeaks. …

The #MacronLeaks hashtag, from the moment Posobiec tweeted it, was the primary social media propellant of the hacked Macron data, according to cyber-intelligence analysts at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab. They also concluded that bots played a significant role from the outset. Some 40 minutes later, Wikileaks tweeted the link with Posobiec’s hashtag, and the Internet erupted.

The appearance of bot activity, observed independently by both the DFRL and Belgian academic Nicolas Vanderbiest, from the first minutes after Posobiec’s tweet, strongly suggests a planned and coordinated campaign.

(For what it’s worth, Posobiec says he had nothing to do with the bots.)

As Garossino goes on to point out, Posobiec was also heavily involved in promoting the #Pizzagate nonsense as well as on last month’s #SyriaHoax campaign. Working alongside internet troll and steroid enthusiast Mike Cernovich, Posobiec helped to promote the

Russian-led social media propaganda campaign that claimed footage of children dying from Assad’s chemical weapons was a hoax.

Analysts expert in propaganda and social media at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism at The Hague identified the #SyriaHoax as “a clear example of a Russian influence campaign designed to undermine US credibility.”

Both [Posobiec and Cernovich] picked up the hashtag early and propelled it through U.S. social media … .

You may also recall the “Rape Melania”sign that appeared at an anti-Trump rally last year. Though most assumed it was the work of anti-Trump protesters, Buzzfeed later uncovered text messages proving that the sign was in fact the work of, yes, Posobiec, who was attempting to make Trump’s opponents look bad

Huh. That sounds … familiar, huh?

Oh, and one other thing about the supposed pot by Oliver to bombard FCC boss Pai with racist comments and threats: Not only is there no evidence for it, but the very idea makes no sense. Why would Oliver, whose last campaign to protect Net Neutrality was a notable success, decide this time to launch a racist harassment campaign that would only serve to make him and other supporters of Net Neutrality look bad?

And while I’m playing Colombo here, there’s one more thing about the FCC thing that seems a bit off: The FCC says that on Sunday night, the night Oliver’s show aired, it was hit with distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks intended to overload the FCC’s comment system.

The Washington Free Beacon story seems to insinuate that Oliver was behind these as well. This of course would be absurd. Oliver’s campaign depends on people being able to reach the FCC site so they can leave comments there. Why would he launch a DDoS attack that could knock the site offline, or at least make it harder to reach?

My guess is that whoever is behind the harassment campaign is also behind the DDoS attack. And that it’s not Oliver.

So is Posobiec the secret mastermind behind the harassment campaign? There’s no evidence — at least none that I know of — for this. But he’s certainly working overtime trying to blame Oliver for it, and spreading demonstrable lies about Oliver in the process.

I guess this is just what right-wing “journalism” looks like in the age of Trump.

EDITED TO ADD: I added the stuff about Posobiec and the infamous “Rape Melania” sign after being reminded of the incident by @EyesOnTheRight.

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numerobis
numerobis
5 years ago

My read of the FCC statement (along with that of the free beacon, ars technica, and some senators) is that it blames John Oliver.

Which is bullshit. The senators asked Pai to please provide some proof.

AJ from GA
AJ from GA
5 years ago

I mean, as you point out, this is clearly a load of BS. I wouldn’t worry about it and just wait for it to all blow over.

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

First Stephen Colbert, now John Oliver. Can’t these morons take a joke?

(Also, Jimmy Dore, watch your back, buddy.)

Judas Peckerwood
Judas Peckerwood
5 years ago

Nazis lie? Who knew!

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

I love how right wingers cry about their poor frozen peaches every time one of them get banned from somewhere over harassment or hate speech. But when there’s a threat to online free speech for real, they do everything they can to undermine opposition to it. Why, it’s almost like they don’t care about free speech, they just want to silence people who fight back against online harassment. Who’d ever thought!?

DMW
DMW
5 years ago

Imagine, these are the exact same people who say crap like, “Safe spaces are stupid! What does it feel like to be so weak that words hurt you? Hurr hurr, stop being a pussy and grow a thicker skin.”

And then when things like this happen they do an immediate about-face and scream “YOU CAN’T SAY STUFF LIKE THAT YOU SHOULD BE FIRED.” Even if it were true (which I absolutely do not believe it is) it would be massively hypocritical. And I know that pointing out hypocrisy in the far right is a complete “gee you don’t frickin’ say” thing to do these days, but still.

Just, do you think they even hear themselves? Shit’s sake.

PaganReader - Misandrist Spinster

No room for despicable racists in USA.

So what country will you lot be inflicting yourselves on?

PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
5 years ago

I read somewhere that Posobiec was behind the “Rape Melania” sign at a protest in front of Trump Towers…if I can remember where, I’ll link it.

Also, someone needs to check out 4chan…this smells just like the kind of shit they’d manufacture.

Paradoxical Intention: Resident Cheeseburger Slut

It’s hilarious to me how they get pissy when we say reasonable things like “You can’t shoot a black person just for being black” or “you can’t ban all muslims just because they’re muslim” or “you can’t hate all people of color simply for being a different color than you”, and this somehow translates in their head to “you can’t say anything remotely bad about a PoC ever”, which they then get upset about because frozen peaches say they can say nasty things about an entire group of people.

Then, when a PoC gets rightfully criticized for being an asshole (whose asshole behavior would undoubtedly affect them too), all of a sudden these same idjits come crawling out of the woodwork to tell us we’re all nasty, racist hypocrites for daring to criticize a man of color (who just so happened to agree with them and be working for a man whose boots they slobber all over on a regular basis).

I could point out that there’s a huge fundamental fucking misunderstanding from the get-go here, but I imagine that would be lost on them.

PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
5 years ago

Apparently, spreading their own disgusting agenda is more important than, you know, the actual net they’re doing it on.

PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
5 years ago

Oh, I see David mentioned the “Rape Melania” connection! How did I miss that the first time around??

Francesca Torpedo, Femoid Special Forces Major
Francesca Torpedo, Femoid Special Forces Major
5 years ago

@PI

What’s that you say? Human beings of all identities can be bad people and the potential for good or evil is not limited to any single population?

Wow, this is too much nuance for my severely limited internet intellect, which can only process things through cartoon frogs and pictures of Hitler!

[/s]

Leftwingfox
Leftwingfox
5 years ago

Calling Hillary Clinton a castrating bitch is criticism. Calling Sarah Palin incoherent is SEXIST YOU GUISE!

Acadia
Acadia
5 years ago

They’re going to be sooo for net neutrality the moment their internet providers start throttling downloads from their favorite porn sites.

Francesca Torpedo, Femoid Special Forces Major
Francesca Torpedo, Femoid Special Forces Major
5 years ago

Holy fucking shit.

So let me get this straight: these T_D fuckbois want to get Oliver fired, yet, for months, we’ve been hearing nothing but rampant bullshit about how LE ESSJEWSSS have been getting innocent white males fired?

We are officially through the fucking looking glass, people.

IgnoreSandra
IgnoreSandra
5 years ago

@Francesca Torpedo

Every time, when it comes to neo-nazis, racists, misogynists, and bigots in general, what they accuse us of doing, wanting to do, or trying to do is exactly what they plan to do to us.

PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
5 years ago

Acadia, I thought of that, but I doubt they’d understand the implications of the stupid shit they’re gunning for, because, well…they don’t think.

Francesca, Oliver is a foreigner! They don’t care that he’s white, they have self-righteously proclaimed him wrong!

For truly, they are color-blind. Mostly.

The Lurker
The Lurker
5 years ago

I choose that one of those Melania Trump bots wasn’t a bot.

Ray of Rays
Ray of Rays
5 years ago

Could #GoFCCYourself actually be a Russian intelligence psyop on the U.S. Government by Jon Oliver?

How very Tolkienesque. There is no creativity in this evil; genuine creativity could only further glorify Iluvatar’s name. Instead, they must capture, pervert, and reflect what good has already created in the world, in order for evil to flourish.

In other words, 2/10 for the tweet, little effort, didn’t even try for the false equivalency argument.

Speaking of false equivalency…holy shit, the false equivalency. I admit, I couldn’t stomach most of the middle, but am I right in assuming this article could basically be summed up as “why can’t you tolerate my intolerance?!” I don’t necessarily know if that’s the writer’s own view, but given that from the very beginning they try to treat uninviting freaking Ann Coulter and Milo from speaking at universities as “prejudice,” I would put nothing past them.

PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
5 years ago

Ray of Rays, that link doesn’t lead anywhere…

History Nerd
History Nerd
5 years ago

The people DDoSing the FCC Web site are likely neither secretly linked to John Oliver nor prejudiced against people of Indian decent (at least not overtly or non-subconsciously). Sometimes anarchists use DDoS attacks as a protest. Rebel Media probably isn’t behind the DDoS attacks because they’d be in deep shit if they got caught (it’s harming a federal government computer).

Boogerghost
5 years ago

the conspiracy website 4chan

Whoaaa….. that’s the first time I’ve seen the last decade of 4chan history so jarringly bookended. Teen Boogerghost would be flabbergasted by the direction it’s taken.

Ray of Rays
Ray of Rays
5 years ago

@ Peevee

Oh, shoot. I tried to use the link function, but I failed?

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/05/09/why-liberals-arent-as-tolerant-as-they-think-215114

Just testing…

Okay, that’s strange. The link function includes a WHTM page redirect. What about this?

Testing.

All right, I’ll stick to straight link pastes in the future. Hopefully happier links.

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