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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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Ooglyboggles
5 years ago

@Ray of Rays
I ain’t no Scild nor Paradoxical but I’m feeling masochistic.

In March, students at Middlebury College disrupted a lecture by the conservative political scientist Charles Murray because they disagreed with some of his writings. Last month, the University of California, Berkeley, canceled a lecture by the conservative commentator Ann Coulter due to concerns for her safety—just two months after uninviting the conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos due to violent protests. Media outlets on the right have played up the incidents as evidence of rising close-mindedness on the left.

These two went out of their way to promote bigotry against minorities and incite harm on minority groups. This is a good start.

For years, it’s conservatives who have been branded as intolerant, often for good reason. But conservatives will tell you that liberals demonstrate their own intolerance, using the strictures of political correctness as a weapon of oppression.

“Yeah we are terrible with how much we advocate killing and torturing the poor, sick, weak, women, children, men, anyone not white, but Political Correctness is just as bad honest!”

After the election, Sean McElwee, a policy analyst at the progressive group Demos Action, reported that Donald Trump had received his strongest support among Americans who felt that whites and Christians faced “a great deal” of discrimination.

http://www.salon.com/2017/02/12/trumps-supporters-believe-a-false-narrative-of-white-victimhood-and-the-data-proves-it/

Trump’s supporters believe a false narrative of white victimhood — and the data proves it

To paraphrase a popular idiom, when you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like discrimination. These data suggest that this feeling of loss and victimization, and the need for racial solidarity to protect what remains, is core to understanding Trump’s appeal. As I’ve noted before, beliefs in the importance of white racial solidarity are powerful predictors of Trump support. Whites who believe their race is “very important” to their identity had warmer feelings toward Trump. Trump’s rhetoric reflects this reality: He has described a world in which his white supporters are the victims of bad trade deals, elites and rampant crime. They feel they are living through rapid demographic change that will leave them as a minority of the population — and they know how minorities have been treated for so long in American populations.

He should have been more comprehensive in his reading, because this study isn’t helping him prove his point of “both sides are bad.”

But more recent psychological research, some of it presented in January at the annual meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), shows that it’s not so simple. These findings confirm that conservatives, liberals, the religious and the nonreligious are each prejudiced against those with opposing views. But surprisingly, each group is about equally prejudiced.

Does he link this grand study that shows people of all political spectrums are equally as prejudiced? Nope you should just take his word for it? Why bother linking sites when you can’t even be arsed to read the headline of an article that goes against your narrative?

“On the one hand, liberals have a variety of personality traits and moral values that should protect them from expressing prejudice. On the other hand, people tend to express prejudice against people who do not share their values.” So, if you value open-mindedness, as liberals claim to do, and you see another group as prejudiced, might their perceived prejudice actually increase your prejudice against them?

“You see by being against racists, classists, ableists, sexists, bigots, and more you are the real racist, classist, ableist, sexist bigot.”

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1948550613476096
Gordon Wetherell
Turks and Caicos Islands
They are known primarily for tourism and as an offshore financial centre. This is the person he turns to?

Progressives might see the conservatives trailing history as being on its wrong side, but conservatives might feel the same way about the progressives way ahead of the train. Getting everyone onboard simultaneously could well be impossible, but if we share a common vision, even partially, maybe we can at least stay on the tracks.

The rest of his article is summed up as “but you see really since both sides dislike each other that means their values are equal to each other and liberals really should tolerate groups that actively vote for the poor to die without health care or support organizations that are meant to target minorities.” He also ignores any and all reasons why progressives might find people who actively use voter suppression and say that women’s bodies belong to other people when they have kids to be a little bit awful.

GrumpyOld SocialJusticeMangina
GrumpyOld SocialJusticeMangina
5 years ago

Basically, the “logic” goes that if we’re intolerant of intolerant people, then we’re just as bad as they are, amirite?

But of course they are never going to state the matter that clearly.

Ooglyboggles
5 years ago

@GrumpyOld SocialJusticeMangina
If they did this entirely pointless and two faced article would have been reduced to a twitter post. This is the same logic that supervillains use on superheroes after the supervillains slaughtered civilians.

Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
5 years ago

This is too incoherent for me to give any sort of intelligent response to. The attacks on John Oliver, I mean, not the article.

guest
guest
5 years ago

‘On the other hand, people tend to express prejudice against people who do not share their values.’

That’s not even what ‘prejudice’ means. (I actually personally prefer the word ‘bigotry’, as it more clearly represents the state of mind that we’re talking about–and that has even less to do with people’s so-called ‘values’.)

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
5 years ago

Too stupid to even engage.

Petra Pumpkineater
Petra Pumpkineater
5 years ago

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

If Donald Trump came out and identified as a woman, would it be misogynistic to call her “bossy?” Would it make you transphobic if you refused to acknowledge that she had cracked the glass ceiling as our first woman president?

Would it make you a hypocrite if you complained about

http://www.salon.com/2017/02/12/trumps-supporters-believe-a-false-narrative-of-white-victimhood-and-the-data-proves-it/

Big words for a news source — Salon — that says it isn’t rape when a woman ties a man to a bed at gunpoint and takes him sexually — because his erection constitutes consent.

Petra Pumpkineater
Petra Pumpkineater
5 years ago

This is too incoherent for me to give any sort of intelligent response to. The attacks on John Oliver, I mean, not the article

The substance of the attacks is incoherent. The strategy is not incoherent. The politically savvey should recognize what’s happening. The far right is mastering the tools of the anti-1st amendment wing of the left. Eventually, they will start using Title 9 to shut down safe spaces and other 1st amendment suppresants. Someone will figure out that V-day is “cultural appropriation” of Valentine’s day. lesbian domestic abuse victims will actually get protection, as cops stop being as useless as a white knight in a catfight; Lesbians who abuse their lovers will actually do time. All your worst nightmares are about to begin. Muahahaha.

Makroth - wild west firecracker window-smashing soap-averse unionized cowboy Jacobin from Hell
Makroth - wild west firecracker window-smashing soap-averse unionized cowboy Jacobin from Hell
5 years ago

@Petra Pumpkineater

Empty threats as always. Heard it all before.

DanHolme
DanHolme
5 years ago

@Petra Pumpkineater

‘All your worst nightmares are about to begin.’

My junior school is going to turn into Antarctic base US#31, and I’m going to be pursued around the corridors by a nameless, shapeless dread while the snow piles up outside, cutting off rescue?

Or I’m going to wake up on the sofa in the living room in the middle of the night, look up at the throw we have on the ceiling as insulation, to see, in a gap in the fabric, a hideous eye staring back at me?

Well, that is not how I saw this week panning out!

Also, what are you talking about?

Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ dan

When I used to work for newspapers one day Mystic Meg was on holiday (she was actually the editor of the Sunday magazine in real life). I asked if I could do the horoscopes in her absence. But they rejected them because I did really specific ones.

“Libra – You will be run over by a large blue furniture truck…”

DanHolme
DanHolme
5 years ago

@Alan Robertshaw

That’s a shame. Still, you should have seen it coming!

epitome of incomprehensibility

All your worst nightmares are about to begin.

OH. I see. So I’ll be at a cottage trying to get a fire going. I’ll try to throw a dry leaf in the old-fashioned furnace, but the wind will shift and my pet tiger kitten will be sucked into it instead. Then the flames will leap through the furnace and the cottage will start burning down. I’ll try to scream to warn my brother, but I’ll be unable to move or speak.

That doesn’t sound fun, I admit.

(Thanks to @DanHolme for this idea!)

@Petra Pumpkineater – More seriously now:

Big words for a news source — Salon — that says it isn’t rape when a woman ties a man to a bed at gunpoint and takes him sexually — because his erection constitutes consent.

If they’ve said that, then yes, that’s completely wrong. But quoting or linking to a news article doesn’t mean you endorse the whole outlet (by that logic you could say David here endorses the Daily Stormer).

Lesbians who abuse their lovers will actually do time.

Yes. It’s fair that abusers are punished. Why do you think we’d be against that?

ZenobiaAugusta
ZenobiaAugusta
5 years ago

All your worst nightmares are about to begin.

So, I’ll be late for an exam and every time I try to leave the house I will have forgotten something important. And then all my teeth will fall out. Ugh.
I guess having to re-take a class and wear dentures aren’t the worst things people have to endure….

Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ Petra

Salon — that says it isn’t rape when a woman ties a man to a bed at gunpoint and takes him sexually — because his erection constitutes consent.

Might you be so kind as to post a link to this? I’m not suggesting it wasn’t the case; but I’ve been searching and I can’t find any article where Salon has claimed this.

leftwingfox
leftwingfox
5 years ago

If Donald Trump came out and identified as a woman, would it be misogynistic to call her “bossy?” Would it make you transphobic if you refused to acknowledge that she had cracked the glass ceiling as our first woman president?

Given that “Bossy” has never been applied to Trump as a term… uh, yeah, It would be misogynistic. It would also be trans-misogynistic to refuse to acknowledge Trump by her preferred pronouns and name. It would not change that she’d still be a dangerously incompetent, boorish, abusive, ignorant, racist sexual harasser.

Also, given that Trump has given less than zero evidence of being trans before this hypothetical transition, I’m not inclined to speculate on that particular gotcha.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
5 years ago

All your worst nightmares are about to begin.

I’ll have a final exam for a math class I haven’t studied for in 30 years, and I’ll be frantically trying to put in contact lenses that are the size of dinner plates?

The far right is mastering the tools of the anti-1st amendment wing of the left. Eventually, they will start using Title 9 to shut down safe spaces and other 1st amendment suppresants.

Colorless green ideas have furious nightmares.

@Alan: I would love to read your very specific horoscopes.

I once went to a psychic and got the most bland and boring tarot card reading ever. “I really don’t see any big changes here,” she told me. “Or even any small ones. You’re very stable. Nothing much is going to happen to you in the next few years. Your life will go on much the same way it is now.”

I wish I could get that same assurance now.

OT: The SPLC has filed a lawsuit against Andrew Anglin for siccing a firestorm of neo-Nazi trolls and death threats on a Montana woman and her family. It’s quite a mess. Richard Spencer’s mother is involved. I hope they win, bigly, and bankrupt Anglin for life.

Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ buttercup

I would love to read your very specific horoscopes.

The irony is, Meg’s horoscopes were notoriously specific. So each week one twelfth of the population must have been finding their granny’s long lost jewellery, in a shoebox in the attic, behind the water tank.

DanHolme
DanHolme
5 years ago

@Alan Robertshaw

IIRC, wasn’t Dirk Gently being persecuted by a horoscope writer who hates him, and writes what are basically death threats under Dirk’s star sign?

Viscaria the Cheese Hog
Viscaria the Cheese Hog
5 years ago

My worst nightmare is one from childhood, in which cartoon Aladdin kills my mom with a gun. Aladdin: riff raff, street rat, mom killer.

pk1154
pk1154
5 years ago

Well, I went to the FCC site (with the help of John Oliver’s link) and took a look at the comments (before attempting to add mine) and saw a bunch of comments from real people asking for net neutrality under title II rules.

The I tried to add my own comment, had my laptop freeze up completely and had to force a power-down. My browser was hosed and had to be re-downloaded, as did all my add-ons and my bookmarks restored. Yikes.

I would not be surprised to learn the usual trolls were operating some sort of rat-f*cking project here.

Ooglyboggles
5 years ago

@Petra
You mean the one where I’ll have to take tests based on subjects I’ve never learned during the mental purge of all things anime?

@Buttercup
Best of luck to them.

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

David, you’re saying it’s possible that you hadn’t added that reference when I made that post? (Please say yes. I prefer to think I am not a doddering old lady with shitty reading comprehension, lolol)

In any case, Probiotic is an asshole, so, whatever the case, THAT I didn’t miss. ?

Petra Pumpkineater
Petra Pumpkineater
5 years ago

@ Makroth — the fact that you took what I said as a “threat” says more about you than you probably intended…

@Leftwing(“no one has ever called Trump Bossy”)Fox: Google Bossy Trump, About 438,000 results (0.48 seconds)

Bossy Trump (@BossyTrump) | Twitter
https://twitter.com/bossytrump
The latest Tweets from Bossy Trump (@BossyTrump). Showcasing all the #Boss moments from #Trump2016.

Bossy Trump (@BossyTrump) | Twitter
https://twitter.com/bossytrump
The latest Tweets from Bossy Trump (@BossyTrump). Showcasing all the #Boss moments from #Trump2016.

RNC memo: Which version of Trump got donors to part with their …
http://www.slate.com/…/rnc_memo_which_version_of_trump_got_donors_to_part_with_th...
Feb 10, 2017 – An RNC memo about Trump’s website offers some clues. By Katy …. Similarly, the mix of bossy command and solidarity in “Join Team Trump!

And so on.

It would also be trans-misogynistic to refuse to acknowledge Trump by her preferred pronouns and name.

That goes without saying, and here’s the question you did not answer:

Would it make you transphobic if you refused to acknowledge that she had cracked the glass ceiling as our first woman president?

If it’s “transphobic” to wince when a transman calls a news conference to announce that he’s the first pregnant man, then 13 transpersons in my acquaintance are transphobic. Get to know a few transpersons and you’ll realize that kind of Jerry Springer shit annoys and frustrates the trans community, and they have names for that kind of behavior which I will not use because I’m more or less cis.

Troubelle: Moonbeam Malcontent + Bard of the New Movement
Troubelle: Moonbeam Malcontent + Bard of the New Movement
5 years ago

…@Petra, what game are you trying to play?

Because there are far better ones out there. Maybe VVVVVV? Audiosurf? Don’t Starve?

Or dig in the back of your closet and see if you have an old NES or Atari 2600 in there.

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