Mike Cernovich

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  • What 60 Minutes Didn't Mention About "Alt-Right" Men's Rights Activist Mike Cernovich

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN & BRENDAN KARET

    CBS’ 60 Minutes featured an interview with self-professed “alt-right” figure and noted men’s rights activist Mike Cernovich on its March 26 edition, highlighting how he pushes false stories. Cernovich also has a history of racist and misogynistic rhetoric, has encouraged and promoted harassment, and has promoted numerous conspiracy theories, in addition to "Pizzagate."

  • NY Times Public Editor Helps Out An "Alt-Right" Harassment Campaign

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    What is wrong with Liz Spayd?

    This morning, The New York Times’ public editor fell for an “alt-right” harassment campaign against a reporter of color for the paper, devoting her entire column to scolding the writer over a tweet.

    On Wednesday, the rapper Bow Wow sent an ugly tweet warning President Donald Trump to stop criticizing the rapper Snoop Dogg “before we pimp your wife and make her work for us.” Times culture writer Sopan Deb responded on Twitter by first criticizing the rappers and then by joking that “The outrage from @BreitbarkNews” -- a satirical Twitter feed that uses dog puns -- “is going to be through the woof.”

    Mike Cernovich -- a racist, misogynist writer who frequently directs his Twitter followers to launch harassment campaigns -- immediately set his sights on Deb. In a series of tweets, Cernovich declared that Deb thinks “rape threats against the President’s wife" are funny, repeatedly asked Spayd to comment, and urged his fans to email her to “ask about @SopanDeb’s view that human trafficking is funny.”

    To be clear, this is what Cernovich does: unleash his followers on what he considers his enemies in order to make them miserable. He was one of the leading proponents of “pizzagate,” a conspiracy theory that baselessly alleged Hillary Clinton’s inner circle was orchestrating a child sex-trafficking ring out of a Washington, D.C., pizzeria. After Cernovich and and others in the “alt-right” pushed the story on social media, the pizzeria’s staff received a host of “abusive social media comments” and phone calls. Eventually a man who was trying to “self-investigate” the claims entered the business and fired a gunshot.

    Cernovich’s campaign against Deb worked. Times public editor Liz Spayd devoted today’s column to scolding Deb over his tweet; she explicitly links her decision to receiving numerous emails yesterday from critics. As Spayd relates in excruciating detail, she interviewed Deb, the paper’s culture editor, and the paper’s associate managing editor for standards, and consulted the Times guidelines on social media for the piece.

    Spayd concludes that Deb’s “intentions were innocent,” and even acknowledges that the emails she received may have been the result of a campaign by what Deb told her were “far-right conservative groups [that] have latched onto his tweet for their own purposes.”

    But having learned that the dogs were rabid, she nonetheless decided to throw them a bone, validating a fringe campaign against her paper’s own writer. According to Spayd, “The problem is, not everyone is ‘in’ on the joke. Conservatives may use such tweets -- or retweets -- to further their case that the ‘liberal media’ will do and say anything.”

    This is nonsense. Deb isn’t being criticized by earnest people who really think that he was joking about violence against women. He’s the target of a campaign by professional trolls who want to hurt Deb and have seized on the tweet as an opportunity. As Commentary associate editor Noah Rothman noted, “It's not about conservatism but a willful effort to find offense in humor” by people who are “trying to be offended.”

    And Spayd played right into their hands by treating them as if they have a legitimate grievance. Now Cernovich has the opportunity to demonstrate to his fans that they can have an impact by marching to his tune, and he’s taking a curtain call, while continuing to push the envelope

    It’s not the first time Spayd has bowed to pressure from conservatives whose only interest is hurting the paper. In December, Spayd denounced tweets from three Times reporters during an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who read the tweets on-air. She drew opprobrium from the rest of the press for saying the tweets in questions were “over the line” and should have been met with “some kind of consequence.” Carlson, of course, isn’t interested in journalistic standards -- he founded the Daily Caller and has a show on Fox -- but he is very interested in trying to delegitimize the Times.

    Spayd is an obvious, easy target for these campaigns. A central throughline of her columns as public editor has been that conservative complaints that the Times is too liberal need to be treated with respect and responded to promptly. The decades-long effort by Republican activists, politicians, and conservative media outlets to convince conservatives that only avowed right-wing sources can be trusted seems to have escaped her.

    That’s frankly par for the course, and at this point I can’t imagine Spayd’s work improving. But perhaps this horrendous failure will at least convince her to pause and reflect before doing the “alt-right”’s dirty work.

  • Trump Loyalist Outlets Claim Flynn Is The Victim Of His Resignation

    ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Pro-Trump propaganda outlets are rushing to paint President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, as the victim in his February 13 resignation, claiming that he was “the subject of a concerted attack” and that “the fake news media had been going after Flynn for months.” But Flynn’s resignation came after reports indicated that he may have violated the Logan Act during his communications with Russia.

  • After Breitbart Attacked An Author For Criticizing Trump, A Horde Of "Alt-Right" Trolls Harassed Her

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN WHITEHOUSE

    A slew of online trolls attacked Rosa Brooks for an article she wrote in Foreign Policy discussing possible consequences of Donald Trump’s historically abnormal presidency.

    Before we get to the harassment, it is worth first briefly considering the important point she was making. Brooks, a professor at Georgetown Law who also has served as a senior adviser to the State Department, used the January 30 article to consider various ways Trump’s presidency could end. After discussing the 2020 election, impeachment, and the 25th Amendment, Brooks briefly considered the possibility of a coup in the event that Trump gives an order that is not just imprudent but actually illegal and wildly destructive:

    What would top U.S. military leaders do if given an order that struck them as not merely ill-advised, but dangerously unhinged? An order that wasn’t along the lines of “Prepare a plan to invade Iraq if Congress authorizes it based on questionable intelligence,” but “Prepare to invade Mexico tomorrow!” or “Start rounding up Muslim Americans and sending them to Guantánamo!” or “I’m going to teach China a lesson — with nukes!”

    It’s impossible to say, of course. The prospect of American military leaders responding to a presidential order with open defiance is frightening — but so, too, is the prospect of military obedience to an insane order. After all, military officers swear to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not the president. For the first time in my life, I can imagine plausible scenarios in which senior military officials might simply tell the president: “No, sir. We’re not doing that,” to thunderous applause from the New York Times editorial board.

    These illegal-order scenarios Brooks mentions have been discussed in regard to Trump in the past year. Brooks chose these over-the-top examples because they involve patently unconstitutional, and thus illegal, orders. This topic is of interest to her: Brooks herself wrote a piece in The Washington Post a year ago discussing whether the military would follow illegal orders issued by a then-potential President Trump.

    Military leaders, pundits, and everyday Americans have not just a responsibility to ponder the possibility of Trump giving such an order, but a duty. Famously litigated at Nuremberg, the issue of how to handle illegal orders from leaders has also been an issue in the United States, going back to the first Adams administration; a Vietnam case reaffirmed that members of the military follow illegal orders on their own accord. Duke political science professor Peter Feaver explained this reality during the campaign in regard to Trump’s promises to bring back torture and also “take out” the families of terrorists:

    Both of these proposed policies are clear violations of the law. Civilian deaths that occur as collateral damage incidental to strikes aimed at legitimate targets are always avoided but sometimes an unfortunate part of lawful warfare; Trump is talking about deliberately targeting the family members as a matter of policy. I do not know of a single law expert who would say this is legal.

    ...

    Given that it would be illegal orders, General Hayden is absolutely correct: not only would the senior military leaders refuse to follow those orders, they would be legally and professionally bound to refuse those orders. Democratic civil-military relations theory further requires that they refuse these orders. Refusing these orders would not be a coup. It would be reinforcing the rule of law and healthy civil-military relations.

    Put more bluntly: Trump has promised to give illegal orders. Every member of the military is supposed to refuse to follow illegal orders. Trump has begun his presidency by doing the very things his apologists during the campaign assured us that he would not do.

    Which finally brings us back to Rosa Brooks and her thoughts about what the military should do should it be presented with illegal orders.

    When first released, Brooks’ column got the kind of reaction you would expect, with many praising it as an interesting read and a few criticizing it. It was also briefly mentioned near the end of a Breitbart column defending Trump adviser Stephen Bannon on January 31. But perhaps correctly assuming that its audience does not read past the headlines, on February 2, Breitbart wrote up Brooks’ column again, using the headline “Ex-Obama Officials Suggests ‘Military Coup’ Against Trump.” This time, the post spread quickly among right-wing fringe propaganda outlets and fake news purveyors: Infowars, Gateway Pundit, Pamela Geller, 8chan, Angry Patriot, Mad World News, Eagle Rising, Conservative 101, America’s Freedom Fighters, Natural News, Epoch Times, UFP News, ENH Live, The Washington Feed, Conservative Tribune, Mario Murillo Ministries (whose piece was shared by Trump ally Wayne Allyn Root), Infowars (again), Ammoland Shooting Sports News, Personal Liberty, PJ Media, Before It’s News, and The Political Insider. The story also spread to right-wing outlets like The Blaze and The Washington Times, which attacked her column but did not even bother to hyperlink to it. Neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer also joined in, saying that “the increasing insolence of American Jewry in their brazen calls to kill, overthrow and illegally undermine the election of President Trump must be crushed.” The story was also picked up by Russian state outlets RT and Sputnik.

    Brooks described what happened once these posts started:

    Within a few hours, the alt-right internet was on fire. The trickle of critical email messages turned into a gush, then a geyser, and the polite emails of the first few days were quickly displaced by obscenity-laced screeds, many in all capital letters. My Twitter feed filled up with trolls.

    ...

    By mid-afternoon, I was getting death threats. “I AM GOING TO CUT YOUR HEAD OFF………BITCH!” screamed one email. Other correspondents threatened to hang me, shoot me, deport me, imprison me, and/or get me fired (this last one seemed a bit anti-climactic). The dean of Georgetown Law, where I teach, got nasty emails about me. The Georgetown University president’s office received a voicemail from someone threatening to shoot me. New America, the think tank where I am a fellow, got a similar influx of nasty calls and messages. “You’re a fucking cunt! Piece of shit whore!” read a typical missive.

    My correspondents were united on the matter of my crimes (treason, sedition, inciting insurrection, etc.). The only issue that appeared to confound and divide them was the vexing question of just what kind of undesirable I was. Several decided, based presumably on my first name, that I was Latina and proposed that I be forcibly sent to the other side of the soon-to-be-built Trump border wall. Others, presumably conflating me with African-American civil rights heroine Rosa Parks, asserted that I would never have gotten hired if it weren’t for race-based affirmative action. The anti-Semitic rants flowed in, too: A website called the Daily Stormer noted darkly that I am “the daughter of the infamous communist Barbara Ehrenreich and the Jew John Ehrenreich,” and I got an anonymous phone call from someone who informed me, in a chillingly pleasant tone, that he supported a military coup “to kill all the Jews.”

    My experience is not unusual. Anyone who attracts the attention of the alt-right is in for a rough ride.

    As Brooks notes, this type of harassment by the “alt-right” is all too familiar. As I wrote in December:

    Harassment is a deeply entrenched aspect of the “alt-right” community. It came to prominence with Gamergate, and then there was a wretched, bigoted campaign against black actress Leslie Jones. “Alt-right” figure Milo Yiannopoulos has now taken his harassment tactics with him on a college tour. Another example is the recent smear campaign against satirist Vic Berger by “alt-right” figure Mike Cernovich. Cernovich is no stranger to such tactics, having bragged previously about his ability to game Google to get other outlets to pick up on his smears, spreading the lies to more false headlines and more viewers. Comedian and producer Tim Heidecker has also spoken out about abuse he has received, including death-threats, as a result of "alt-right" criticism.

    Since then, we’ve seen harassment campaigns launched against a journalist who tied a white supremacist to white supremacy, a college professor who sarcastically tweeted about “white genocide”, undocumented immigrants who use social media, and progressive author Lindy West.

    Now that Trump and former Breitbart chief Stephen Bannon are in the Oval Office, the “alt-right” sees its chance to break through to mainstream America. The movement’s adherents are huge fans of new Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson. Rape-promoting white nationalist Mike Cernovich was given a show on Right-Side Broadcasting Network, which has simulcast on Trump’s own Facebook page. Breitbart is starting to hire people from mainstream outlets.

    And yet, Breitbart is still situating itself at the center of these sorts of unconscionable attacks. Will it get away with that? If it does, it’s easy to see how: Since he was first appointed to lead Trump’s presidential campaign, mainstream figures have repeatedly shied away from tying Bannon to Breitbart’s enabling of white supremacy. Mike Allen, a former Politico reporter who recently founded a new media venture called Axios, lavished praise on Breitbart during an appearance on the latter’s radio show. As Breitbart now tries to move into continental Europe, these problems are more salient than ever.

    If Trump does give an illegal order to deport all Muslim-Americans, reinstate torture, invade Mexico, or even start a nuclear holocaust, the survival of humanity may come down to where the individuals in charge of executing it get their news.

    Image by Sarah Wasko

  • Rape-Promoting White Nationalist Mike Cernovich Announces New Show On Right Side Broadcasting Network

    Cernovich: “If You Love Black Women, Slut Shame Them” To Keep Them From Getting AIDS

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    White nationalist Mike Cernovich announced that he will host a new show on Right Side Broadcasting Network, an outlet dubbed the “unofficial Trump TV” network which has made a name for itself by live-streaming Donald Trump’s campaign events during the 2016 presidential campaign.

    Cernovich announced in a January 23 tweet that he was “pleased to announce The Right Mindset will launch” on Right Side Broadcasting Network, and linked a Right Side Broadcasting’s YouTube stream. According to Right Side Broadcasting’s Youtube page, Cernovich’s program “will air February 1st,” and will feature “call-in’s and discussion of national/world topics.”

    Right Side Broadcasting Network has been labeled the “Unofficial Trump TV” network by the Washington Post, which also noted Trump’s presidential campaign had previously “teamed up with Right Side to produce pre- and post-debate analysis shows that streamed on Trump’s Facebook page.” The hiring of Mike Cernovich indicates the network continues to find value in hiring proud racists, following RSBN’s hiring of racist YouTube personality Joey Saladino.

    Cernovich’s ties to white nationalism and the “alt-right” have been repeatedly documented on Twitter and in the media. In 2015 he explained, “I went from libertarian to alt-right after realizing tolerance only went one way and diversity is code for white genocide.” Additionally, in a series of now-deleted tweets, Cernovich declared, “white genocide is real,” and “white genocide will sweep up the SJWs.”

    Cernovich also traffics in sexist rhetoric, and has stated “date rape does not exist,” “misogyny gets you laid,” and declared “If you love black women, slut shame them” to keep them from getting AIDS.

    When Cernovich is not peddling white supremacy, or denying the existence of date rape, he promotes unfounded conspiracy theories like “Pizzagate,” a fabricated story about child trafficking that led to death threats for employees of the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria, and convinced accused shooter Edgar Welch to enter Comet Ping Pong with a rifle to “self-investigate” the conspiracy theory.

  • Conservatives Baselessly Blame Attack On Black Lives Matter Movement With “#BLMKidnapping” Hashtag

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Conservatives are baselessly blaming the Black Lives Matter movement after a white man was kidnapped and attacked in Chicago. Four black people were arrested on January 4 after a Facebook Live video surfaced of a young white man with special needs being tied up, assaulted, and threatened. In the video, one of the assailants said, “Fuck Donald Trump, fuck white people.”

    Chicago police have filed hate crime and battery charges against the four suspects.

    Several conservatives and “alt-right” figures blamed the attack on the Black Lives Matter movement and used the social media hashtag #BLMKidnapping in discussions about the event. Yet the video does not reference Black Lives Matter and thus far, no connection between the assailants and Black Lives Matter has been established. CNN reported “police said they have not been able to make any connection to the Black Lives Matter activist group, contrary to some reports circulating on social media.”

    Paul Joseph Watson, editor-at-large for conspiracy theorist and Donald Trump ally Alex Jones’ website Infowars, was among the first to tie the attack to Black Lives Matter, with a Twitter post instructing others, “#BLMKidnapping is the hashtag to get this story trending.” Watson’s own write-up of the story on Infowars, which he linked to in his tweet, makes no mention of Black Lives Matter or a connection between the attack and the movement.

    Watson later described the victim of the attack as “the BLM torture victim” on Twitter.

    Rape apologist and “alt-right” figure Mike Cernovich wrote, “#BlackLivesMatter activists in custody after filming kidnapping video,” then used Watson’s hashtag to write, “#BLMKidnapping suspects are in custody.” He also described one of the suspects as a “#BLMKidnapping ring leader.” On his blog, Cernovich made the same assertion, without evidence to back it up.

    Lee Stranahan, a Breitbart contributor, questioned Cernovich’s assertions, particularly his claim that the attackers were Black Lives Matters supporters. Stranahan also pointed out that mainstream media reports on the attack had not mentioned Cernovich’s claims.

    In contrast to Stranahan, fellow Breitbart contributor Katie McHugh referenced “the victim of the Chicago #BLMkidnapping.”

    Fake news promoter and “alt-right” figure Jack Posobiec recorded a Periscope video about the attack with the #BLMKidnapping hashtag and claimed that the attackers were “members of Black Lives Matter in Chicago.”

    Trump supporter Bill Mitchell described the attack as a “#BLM atrocity” that “proves that given enough time, evil always shows its true nature.”

    Michael Flynn Jr., son of incoming Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, also labeled the event with the #BLMKidnapping in several tweets. Flynn was removed from the presidential transition team after it was reported that he helped to spread several fake news stories and conspiracy theories.

    Gavin McInnes, who has a history of making racist commentary, also used the hashtag.

    Conservative Steven Crowder wrote, “#BLMKidnapping and the media's reaction is proof positive that the left doesn't care about racism.”

    Conservatives have frequently, without evidence, blamed the Black Lives Matter movement for violence. Radio host Rush Limbaugh called them “a terrorist group committing hate crimes,” while frequent Fox News guest David Clarke called them a “subversive movement” attempting to “overthrow” the government. Fox host Sean Hannity compared Black Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan, Bill O’Reilly compared them to Nazis, and a Fox News graphic described it as a “murder movement.”

  • Fox News' New Prime-Time Host Tucker Carlson Is Beloved By Neo-Nazis And Misogynists

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    “Tucker Carlson is literally our greatest ally. I don’t believe that he doesn’t hate the Jews.” -- Neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, The Daily Stormer

    Following the news that Megyn Kelly had left Fox News for NBC, a commenter at the pro-Donald Trump subreddit “r/The_Donald” -- a key gathering place for the “alt-right” -- posed a question: “WHO DO WE WANT IN HER PLACE?” The subreddit’s denizens quickly coalesced around a single option: Tucker Carlson.

    “TUCKER FOR ANOTHER HOUR!” reads the thread’s top comment. “Then start spamming fox with emails and comments letting them know,” wrote one Redditor. “You can’t cuck the Tuck,” commented another.

    Twenty-four hours later, the trolls seem to have gotten their way, with Fox News announcing that Carlson will take over Kelly’s 9 p.m. timeslot. Carlson -- a preppy son of privilege who has incongruously become cable news’s most favored host among neo-Nazis and white nationalists -- will now have a prime-time venue to continue giving Fox News a bigger foothold with the “alt-right” audience.

    Carlson is a career member of the press who first wrote for establishment conservative and mainstream news outlets like The Weekly Standard, The New York Times Magazine, and New York magazine, and has spent nearly two decades as a host and commentator on PBS, CNN, MSNBC, and finally Fox News. While Carlson has regularly promoted a conservative brand of commentary laced with misogyny, misinformation, and factually inaccurate attacks, many on the left remember him as the bow tie-wearing Crossfire host who Jon Stewart pummeled in his searing 2004 demolition of the program.

    But since landing his 7 p.m. Fox News program Tucker Carlson Tonight in November, Carlson has built a strong following among the worst racists, misogynists, and anti-Semites on the Internet.

    Those deplorables love Carlson’s cutting interview style, which seeks not to extract information from guests but rather to embarrass them. Many of Carlson’s victims have included the young women, Jews, and “social justice warriors” who constitute the main perceived enemies of the “alt-right.” They believe that Carlson is helping to mainstream their racist, misogynist worldview.

    At "r/The_Donald," Redditors regularly highlight instances in which Carlson “REKT,” “tore apart,” “grills,” or “DESTROYS” his interviewees. A separate subreddit was created in November with the mission statement: “Alpha Male Tucker Carlson routinely plows beta-male SJW snowflakes over on Fox News. This is where we compile his greatest hits.” The subreddit’s official Twitter account is @cantcuckthetuck, a mantra that Carlson’s “alt-right” supporters use to highlight his supposed unwillingness to be “cucked.”

    The neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer regularly features videos of Carlson’s interviews under the headline “You Can’t Cuck The TUCK!” The site’s founder, Andrew Anglin, has called Carlson “our greatest ally” and a “machine of ultimate destruction” who “LAMPSHADE[S]” Jewish guests.

    The former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has praised Carlson for pushing back against “Jewish Supremacists” who “believe they are above the law.”

    Mike Cernovich, the misogynist “alt-right” media personality who was a key figure behind the “pizzagate” conspiracy theory, predicted in November that Carlson would “make FoxNews great again.” He praised the program’s “incredible” impact and warned that the network’s “globalists” could try to shut the show down.

    Carlson’s show is also popular on the white supremacist forum Stormfront. “Tucker Carlson is the big star of FOX now in just a very short time,” wrote one commentator after Megyn Kelly’s move to NBC was announced. “And we don't need to guess where he stands. BTW, Carlson is the most dynamic news show host I have ever seen. He is the Donald Trump of talking heads.” Comments like “Lately, Tucker Carlson came out of nowhere and his show is now my favorite” are frequent on the site.

    Across Twitter, Carlson's "alt-right" supporters praise his show using the hashtag “#cantcuckthetuck.” And of course, there are memes.

    There’s no evidence that Carlson shares the bigoted worldview of some of his biggest fans. But now Fox has a prime-time show that caters to them.

    Fox News did not respond to a request for comment.

    Below is praise for Carlson’s show from neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and other members of the “alt-right.”

    Neo-Nazi Outlet The Daily Stormer: “Tucker Carlson Is Literally Our Greatest Ally. I Don’t Believe That He Doesn’t Hate The Jews.”

    Andrew Anglin Runs The Neo-Nazi Site The Daily Stormer. The Daily Stormer is a neo-Nazi website headed by Andrew Anglin that has endorsed Trump and enthusiastically supported his  campaign. The website regularly defends Adolf Hitler, attacks “kikes,” and has a section documenting the purported “Jewish Problem.” [Media Matters, 8/27/15]

    Anglin: Carlson “Used To Be The Worst Type Of Bowtie Wearing Faggot,” But Under Trump He Is “A Machine Of Ultimate Destruction.” Anglin reacted to a segment on Carlson’s Fox show by praising him as “a machine of ultimate destruction” in an article on The Daily Stormer. From the November 25, 2016 article:

    All of these former cuckolds have had their power-levels raised by orders of magnitude by the Trump coup.

    Take Tucker Carlson. This guy used to be the worst type of bowtie wearing faggot. He was literally modeling everything about himself (including his jawline) after king cuck George Will.

    Oh but now – this man is a machine of ultimate destruction. [The Daily Stormer, 11/25/16]

    Daily Stormer’s Eric Striker: Carlson Is A “Master Of Weaponized Rhetoric.” The Daily Stormer’s Eric Striker celebrated the high ratings of Carlson’s Fox show, calling the host “a master of weaponized rhetoric” who had grown the spine to “go toe-to-toe” with “pathologically lying Jews and dress them down in some striped pajamas live on air.” From a November 26, 2016, Daily Stormer article:

    As Andrew Anglin has written, the #TrumpEffect has given Carlson brand new superpowers. He has hung up his bow-tie and grown a spine, and in recent weeks has started making a name for himself as a master of weaponized rhetoric who can now go toe-to-toe with the most brazen, combative, pathologically lying Jews and dress them down in some striped pajamas live on air.

    In a short time period, he has crushed professional mud-slinging Heebs like Jonathan Allen, Judeo-Left university administrator/Commissar Michael Roth, pushy Obamacare racketeer (((Ezekiel Emanuel))) and a whole slew of College campus lemmings wielding canned and stale Cultural Marxist talking points. [The Daily Stormer, 11/26/16]

    Anglin: “Our Ally Tucker Carlson” Called Out “A White-Hating Jew.” Anglin praised Carlson for doing a “great job” on his show after a segment with guest Erin Schrode, a former Democratic candidate for Congress. Anglin applauded Carlson, writing that he “actually -- literally -- called her out as a white-hating Jew.” In the same article, Anglin also invited readers to “visit” Schrode’s Twitter page to “let her know you take pleasure in seeing her once again defeated by the forces of truth and justice.” From a December 9, 2016, Daily Stormer article:    

    This time, instead of taking on the Daily Stormer directly, she fought our ally Tucker Carlson… and lost as bad as she lost to us!

    The conversation was insane. She was trying to say that Donald Trump is going to pollute the air by working with oil companies. Or something. Not even clear.

    Tucker actually – literally – called her out as a white-hating Jew, saying comparing Trump to a Nazi was hate-speech. And before you call him a cuck, watch the clip – he doesn’t even attack Hitler. He just indicates the obvious fact that Jews defame whites by calling them Nazis, and actually calls this hate speech.

    He is calling her out as a Jew. No other way to read that. “Hate speech” is from one race to another – that is what the term means.

    Great job, Tuck.

    You can visit the Hissing Weasel on twitter and let her know you take pleasure in seeing her once again defeated by the forces of truth and justice. [The Daily Stormer, 12/9/16]

    Anglin: “Tucker Carlson Is A One-Man Holocaust.” After Carlson hosted The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin on his show, Anglin enthusiastically called the host “a one-man Holocaust” who had turned his television show into “a fake shower room.” From the December 10, 2016, article on The Daily Stormer:  

    Tucker Carlson is a one-man HOLOCAUST!

    WaPo’s Jennifer Rubin went on there yesterday and got straight-up LAMPSHADED like her rat ancestors!

    This comes after earlier in the week Tucker viciously SOAPED the rat Jew Hissing Weasel!

    If Tucker doesn’t chill out on the GAS BUTTON the Jews are going to notice that his television show is nothing but a FAKE SHOWER ROOM. [The Daily Stormer, 12/10/16]

    Anglin: “I Could Watch” Tucker Carlson “On YouTube For The Rest Of My Life.” Anglin raved after Carlson hosted history professor Robert S. McElvaine, calling the host “a whirlwind storm” and writing that he “could watch him making that gape face on YouTube for the rest of my life.” From a December 14, 2016, The Daily Stormer article:

    Tucker Carlson is like a whirlwind storm!

    I sure hope people continue to try to cuck the Tuck. Because I don’t want this ride to ever end. I could watch him making that gape face on YouTube for the rest of my life. Seriously, I hope that in 2040, there is some cuck arguing that against Crusaderbot extermination robots clearing out what remains of the population of the Middle East, and a 70-something year-old Carlson is on YouTube making that same face at him. [The Daily Stormer, 12/14/16]

    Angin: “Tucker Carlson Is Literally Our Greatest Ally. I Don’t Believe That He Doesn’t Hate The Jews.” [The Daily Stormer, 12/18/16]

    Striker: “I Don’t Know Why These Lying Jews Even Bother Going On” Carlson’s Show. After Carlson hosted Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald, Striker praised Carlson, writing that he had “humiliate[d] Jew Kurt Eichenwald” and that the host is “becoming a bit of a celebrity.” Striker added, “I don’t even know why these lying Jews even bother going on his show.” [The Daily Stormer, 12/16/16]

    David Duke: Carlson Stands Up To “Jewish Supremacists”

    David Duke Is A Former KKK Grand Wizard And A Radio Host. David Duke is a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard and a white nationalist radio host. He is also notorious for spouting anti-Semitic rhetoric. [Media Matters, 10/18/16]

    Duke Praised Carlson For Showing “‘Jewish Supremacists' Believe They Are Above The Law!”

    [Twitter, 12/1/16]

    “Alt-Right” Rape Apologist Mike Cernovich: Carlson Is “Going To Make FoxNews Great Again”

    Cernovich Is A Misogynistic “Alt-Right” Media Figure Who Was Instrumental In the “Pizzagate” Fake News Story. Mike Cernovich is an “alt-right” activist and Twitter harasser who operates the website Danger & Play. The site publishes numerous articles, essays, and audio recordings that attack feminists and "SJWs" (social justice warriors) and disputes the validity of date rape claims. Cernovich was one of many “alt-right” figures who weaponized fake news articles to push “pizzagate,” a conspiracy theory that baselessly alleged Hillary Clinton’s inner circle was orchestrating a child sex-trafficking ring out of a Washington, D.C., pizzeria. Cernovich and his fellow “alt-right” figures’ promotion of the story on social media resulted in “abusive social media comments” for the named pizzeria owners and inspired a man to enter the business with a gun and fire shots while attempting to “self-investigate” the claims. Cernovich has also tweeted white nationalist themes on his Twitter account, including that “diversity is code for white genocide,” “Blacks use guns for murder. Whites use guns to kill themselves,” and “Diversity is bad for national security.” [Media Matters, 8/25/16, 10/9/16, 11/18/16, 12/19/16]

    Cernovich On Carlson’s Current Fox Show: “Wow. It’s Exactly What I Told Fox To Design.”

    [Twitter, 12/21/16]

    Cernovich On Carlson’s 2016 Move To Fox: Carlson “Is Going To Make FoxNews Great Again.”

    [Twitter, 11/18/16]

    “Fash The Nation” Hosts: “Carve Out A Cable News Exemption” For Carlson’s Show; It’s “Off To A Great Start”

    Jazzhands McFeels And Marcus Halberstram Are Co-Hosts Of Podcast On The “Alt-Right” Blog The Right Stuff. Jazzhands McFeels and Marcus Halberstram co-host the “Fash The Nation” podcast on the “alt-right” website The Right Stuff, an anti-Semitic blog that created the “parenthesis meme” in which Jewish names are surrounded by parentheses in order to target them for online abuse on social media. [Media Matters, 8/25/16; Inverse, 9/2/16]

    McFeels: “If You Haven't Carved Out A Cable News Exemption For Tucker Carlson's New Show On Fox, I Highly Suggest You Do.”

    [Twitter, 11/18/16]

    McFeels: “Wish I Could Be Half As Great As Tucker.”

    [Twitter, 12/19/16]

    Halberstram: “Looks Like Tucker's Show Is Off To A Great Start.”

    [Twitter, 11/16/16]
  • Misinformer Of The Year: The Ecosystem Of Fake News And The "Alt-Right"

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN WHITEHOUSE

    An anti-intellectual alliance of misogynists and white nationalists is using cult tactics to harass and abuse Americans. They systematically attempt to discredit reputable sources. They replace logic with paranoia. They horrifically harass perceived political opponents. And this campaign, which has dangerous historical precedents, has been empowered by a fake news ecosystem and a tech industry that profits off the phenomenon.

    I. Fake News

    While reporting real news requires a newsroom and some sort of process that can be critiqued and examined, “fake news” is built to obfuscate and hide sources. Its creators are varied, from a random American making $10,000 a month from his fabricated Facebook posts to a group of teenagers in Macedonia running more than a hundred pro-Trump websites. The business model is simple: identify the news that people want to read, and give it to them, regardless of the truth and with no effort whatsoever put into actual reporting.

    There is no question that fake news got lots of attention in 2016, in part because the president-elect himself -- and several people close to him -- pushed fabricated information. That’s deeply concerning, because data shows that not only do Americans believe lies they see on Facebook, but also that Americans across party lines say fake news is a real problem.

    No one is more responsible for the rise of fake news than Facebook. It was Facebook’s platform that allowed fake news to spread far and wide. In fairness, the basic nature of the social media giant ensures that users will share lies to some extent. But the structures that Facebook built also made it easy to game. All content looks the same on Facebook, and the name of the source shows up in a small and almost unreadable font. The pages look nearly identical, regardless of their purpose or who is operating them. Of course, these factors have been in place since Facebook’s inception, but in 2016, other factors changed as well.

    In its own way, fake news is more sophisticated than real news. Sure, real news actually examines complexities that exist in the real world while fake news just makes stuff up. But fake news can be targeted to appeal to exactly what people want to see. On Facebook in particular, content can be fine-tuned to target exactly what people are likely to click on. Many private companies do this: It is called advertising. Whereas real news outlets generally post a piece once and people either read it or not, fake news can be tweaked again and again until it finally breaks through and becomes viral. And fake news outlets sometimes do have the data to go viral: Breitbart.com and Trump political benefactor the Mercer family has a company, Cambridge Analytica, that conveniently owns a lot of data on private citizens. And sitting on the board of Cambridge Analytica is Trump’s chief adviser, and the former CEO of Breitbart, Stephen Bannon.

    Facebook’s algorithm has always been extremely prone to confirmation bias, but changes in recent years seem to have allowed fake news to rise much more easily (as the algorithm is proprietary, no one outside Facebook can know for certain). In the past, at the very least, there were human editors who could manually prevent outright lies from making it onto the site’s list of trending topics. But when Facebook fired them after conservatives complained this summer, fake news really took off.

    As John Herrman explained in The New York Times:

    This year, political content has become more popular all across the platform: on homegrown Facebook pages, through media companies with a growing Facebook presence and through the sharing habits of users in general. But truly Facebook-native political pages have begun to create and refine a new approach to political news: cherry-picking and reconstituting the most effective tactics and tropes from activism, advocacy and journalism into a potent new mixture. This strange new class of media organization slots seamlessly into the news feed and is especially notable in what it asks, or doesn’t ask, of its readers. The point is not to get them to click on more stories or to engage further with a brand. The point is to get them to share the post that’s right in front of them. Everything else is secondary.

    While web publishers have struggled to figure out how to take advantage of Facebook’s audience, these pages have thrived. Unburdened of any allegiance to old forms of news media and the practice, or performance, of any sort of ideological balance, native Facebook page publishers have a freedom that more traditional publishers don’t: to engage with Facebook purely on its terms. These are professional Facebook users straining to build media companies, in other words, not the other way around.

    Google is also responsible for this burgeoning fake news empire. Google’s third-party advertising platform, AdSense, is driving mass profitability on many of these websites. When pressure started to rise about fake news, Google said it would be taking action to remove these actors from its advertising network, eliminating their ability to generate revenue. Our review showed that the company still has much work to do.

    II. The “Alt-Right”

    While some fake news is created simply for profit (think of the Macedonian teens who just see their sites as an easy way to make money), the misogynist and white nationalist “alt-right” embraces it for a more dangerous purpose: to encourage fake news readers into harassing individuals and discouraging people from taking part in public life. The fake news ecosystem is broader than just lies; many of these lies are purposeful.

    The “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory proved this link. A fake news story emerged from the depths of the internet claiming that a D.C. pizzeria with ties to certain political figures was running an underground child sex-trafficking ring. It was patently untrue. And yet mainstream reports on the story, even great in-depth reporting from truly credible sources, treated the fake news as separate from the harassment that pizzerias across the country endured from believers of the bogus claims as they spread to include other restaurants.

    Harassment is a deeply entrenched aspect of the “alt-right” community. It came to prominence with Gamergate, and then there was a wretched, bigoted campaign against black actress Leslie Jones. “Alt-right” figure Milo Yiannopoulos has now taken his harassment tactics with him on a college tour. Another example is the recent smear campaign against satirist Vic Berger by “alt-right” figure Mike Cernovich. Cernovich is no stranger to such tactics, having bragged previously about his ability to game Google to get other outlets to pick up on his smears, spreading the lies to more false headlines and more viewers. Comedian and producer Tim Heidecker has also spoken out about abuse he has received, including death-threats, as a result of "alt-right" criticism.

    The New York Times’ John Herrman took special note of commenters on pro-Trump Facebook pages:

    Nearly every page operator I spoke to was astonished by the tone their commenters took, comparing them to things like torch-wielding mobs and sharks in a feeding frenzy. No doubt because of the [Make America Great] page’s name, some Trump supporters even mistake [operator Adam] Nicoloff’s page for an official organ of the campaign. Nicoloff says that he receives dozens of messages a day from Trump supporters, expecting or hoping to reach the man himself. Many, he says, are simply asking for money.

    It is not clear to what extent this vitriol on Facebook overlaps with the “alt-right” proper (to whatever extent there even is an “alt-right” proper). But Facebook crowd-sourced virulence is at least overtly reminiscent of what is seen from the “alt-right.”

    A particular hub for the “alt-right” is Reddit’s “r/The_Donald” subreddit. As Bryan Menegus explained for Gizmodo:

    Reddit’s The_Donald subreddit was founded a year ago as the premier online meeting place for Trump supporters. It has since sought to—in CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman’s words—“dominate the conversation” on the site. Its members spread coded hate speech, openly antagonize other Redditors, and break the site’s most basic rules with impunity while moderators feel the brunt of the abuse, and Reddit leadership fail to adequately address the problem.

    This is abuse, and it is abuse for a particular political purpose. Whether it is under the guise of news or commentary, the fabricated stories bouncing around r/The_Donald, often cloaked in shockingly venomous rhetoric, do not adhere to and cannot be judged by traditional journalistic standards. This type of fake news needs to be understood in tandem with its context and purpose. Some of it is just for profit. But other pieces are intended to serve as weaponized propaganda meant to inspire harassment or even worse.

    The “alt-right” movement has been equated to white supremacy and neo-Nazis. That is broadly accurate, but the reality is a bit more complicated. More often than not, the gateway drug for this movement is sexism -- "extreme misogyny evolving from male bonding gone haywire,” as Aja Romano put it for Vox. White nationalism and neo-Nazism often come later.

    This framework also explains why the “alt-right” tilts at so many cultural windmills. Whether with boycotts against Star Wars this year, or boycotts against Star Wars last year, or boycotts against Ghostbusters or Hamilton or other notable events that women and people of color are involved in, the intent of the “alt-right” is not necessarily to be successful in the short run: The protests are intended as a statement of white patriarchy. Anyone talking about the boycott is surreptitiously sharing the message of white, male-centric cultural identity.

    Jason Wilson perfectly characterized the misogyny and bigotry of the "alt-right" when describing Yiannopoulos and his tactics:

    Yiannopoulos and the alt right certainly shared a couple of traits. First, there was a willingness to dispense with the American right’s trusty dog whistle and offer frank views on race (all the while disparaging those conservatives who were more attuned to euphemism and conciliation as ‘cucks’). Second, they shared a desire to restore white masculinity to its position as the central, reigning political identity.

    In Eugene, [OH], Yiannopoulos endorsed Trump’s call to end Muslim immigration on the grounds that fundamentalists ‘want to kill people like me’ – a preview of the full-throated Islamophobic appeal that he and others made to the LGBT community after the Pulse nightclub shooting the next month.

    But the meat of his address was a repetition of a claim he has made repeatedly in his writings and on social media: that white men, especially the working class, are being oppressed with an elitist doctrine of political correctness.

    Referring to lesbians as ‘horrendous, quivering masses of horror’ and feminism as ‘cancer’, Yiannopoulos generally castigated the ‘awful, awful, terrible, diseased and damaged people lecturing and hectoring the working class’ – those he sees as the enforcers of ‘the oppressive hegemony of social justice’. The only solution, he said, is a Trump administration.

    Members of the "alt-right" don't just preach this hatred. They mobilize it. Jesse Singal examined the many similarities the “alt-right”/fake news ecosystem shares with cults, and the role misogyny plays in attracting new members:

    But it’s the alt-right concept of so-called red-pilling where this subculture appears more similar to “traditional” cults and extremist groups. Adapted from The Matrix, “taking the red pill” or “getting red-pilled” simply means seeing the world as it really is. In the online subcultures that gave rise to the alt-right, its most famous meaning is in reference to feminism: After you take the red pill, the scales fall from your eyes and you can see that feminism is really just an attempt to emasculate and bully men, to allow social-justice warriors to run rampant over masculine (and traditional) values and ideals in favor of a shrill and judgmental far-left radicalism. Recently, the definition has expanded a bit — these days, in an alt-right context “getting red-pilled” probably means something more like “understanding that progressivism is a lie and part of a large-scale effort to hurt you and people like you.” But the basic point is the same: This is the moment at which you start to see things as they really are.

    This is exactly the sort of transformative experience offered by cults and extremist movements: After this, things won’t ever be the same for you. After this, you will have a role to play in an important battle that will determine the fate of the world. Your life will take on an enhanced meaning.

    At its core, the “alt-right” is just a bunch of men who feel powerless and resent women because of it. That’s why Gamergate is so crucial to understanding the movement; it truly was a galvanizing political event for a fringe movement that far too many mainstream people had overlooked because they were not the ones being harassed.

    III. Historical Precedent

    The “alt-right” weaponizes fake news stories that others drum up to harass and abuse opponents. Its members attack women, people of color, and the poor -- and their allies and advocates -- from “Gamergate” to Leslie Jones, to “Pizzagate” and now to Vic Berger (also see Megyn Kelly below). Radio host Alex Jones ties the conspiracy theories together and gives everything a common language. Reddit allows the herd to self-organize and quickly pivot from one harassment campaign to another. The Drudge Report tries to push these things into the mainstream. And tying the whole enterprise together is Breitbart, which was up until recently run by Bannon, now President-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist. Breitbart is now even admitting that it will take on any Republicans who try to hurt Trump, again neatly echoing oppressive regimes of the past. Meanwhile, Trump is deliberately trying to undermine the reliability of truth itself, in a hope to push as many people as possible toward this ecosystem.

    It is possible that this abuse and harassment could escalate in the near future. While the digital tactics of pushing fake news and harassing people via social media are new, there is a precedent for this type of behavior: the “struggle sessions” in Mao’s China.

    Max Fisher explained how struggle sessions worked in The Washington Post:

    During Mao Zedong's totalitarian and often ruthless rule over China, from the early 1950s through 1976, one of the Communist Party's most unpleasant tactics for maintaining control was something called a "struggle session." On the surface, the idea was that everyone had to suss out "class enemies" and try to better their own commitment to the Communist revolution by attending regular "struggle session" meetings where they'd admit their own revolutionary failures and try to do better as individuals and communities. In practice, though, it was a form of self-reinforcing terror, a means of purging political enemies real and imagined, a tactic for working people into ideological fervor, sometimes in mass "sessions" with thousands of people.

    The systematic harassment campaign that the “alt-right” has waged through the guise of journalism is remarkably similar. Like the struggle sessions, the harassment is meant to create a sense of terror among political enemies while building a feeling of community among allies. It spreads extreme fear through communities across the country, deterring any theoretical political resistance. This abuse is meant to crush meaning in society. The more you discuss whether pizzerias have established a secret child sex ring, the more real it becomes. The more outlandish the accusation, the more effective it becomes. For both the struggle sessions and the “alt-right,” truth is no defense: You will be forced to submit. As long as members use the fake news to harass, then it is worthwhile. Engagement is not the means; engagement is the end.

    The next logical step would be something akin to book burning, which The Daily Beast says is “a peculiar form of censorship in that the act itself is intended to send a message. This is why book burning is a public spectacle. It is designed to express outrage and contains within it the notion that the ideas contained in the books or other works of art should be obliterated entirely.”

    Among American pundits, Walter Lippman alone understood the significance of what was happening when books were burned in the 1930s in Germany:

    The Nazis deliberately and systematically mean to turn the minds of the German people to war. These acts symbolize the moral and intellectual character of the Nazi regime. For these bonfires are not the work of schoolboys or mobs but of the present German Government acting through its Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment.... For example ... they burn with conspicuous zeal ... Erich Maria Remarque's [anti-war book] All Quiet on the Western Front. The ominous symbolism of [this burning and] these bonfires is that there is a Government in Germany which means to teach its people that their salvation lies in violence.

    The only thing standing in the way of the “alt-right” is that it is not yet big enough to take on the entirety of American culture so directly. And yet it seems entirely possible that the movement could do something like that soon, especially if it grows emboldened by having allies in the White House. After an ISIS attack under President Trump, one can imagine the “alt-right” organizing some kind of book burning. Breitbart may even promote it.

    IV. Complicity Of Others

    The “alt-right” is the engine driving this harassment, and fake news is the tool. But it’s clear that failure of others in the media landscape helped the perverse movement get this far.

    For one, the tech industry is profiting from this activity every step of the way. Twitter’s failure to stop harassment is legendary. The Trump subreddit has grown completely out of hand. Facebook’s complicity in the spread of fake news is clear. The tech industry is so concerned with engagement that companies have been reluctant to act even when it is clear that some of that engagement is outright abuse and harassment.

    While mainstream media outlets seem to realize that fake news is a problem, they largely raise concerns only to the extent that fake news is a competitor or when the abuse is big enough that they can easily see it. There is surely fake news of every political stripe, and it should all be disincentivized. But there is no built-out ecosystem to weaponize it anywhere like there is with Breitbart, Alex Jones, Reddit, and the “alt-right.” That’s what mainstream media’s scolding about fake news and “both sides” gets wrong, time and again. In their reluctance to show the unique damage that fake news has on the right, mainstream media are continuing their biggest mistake of the Bush and Obama years: ignoring the growing radicalization of the right in America.

    And this ecosystem of fake news and the “alt-right” is entirely different from the previous right-wing media ecosystem. The previous model involved moving the audience from mainstream news to Fox News and then to the deeper trenches of talk radio and online email lists, where right-wing operators can often bilk their recipients financially. Now, things are different. Fox News’ brand of right-wing misinformation is pervasive, and over recent decades fewer people are watching mainstream news networks.

    The independence of the fake news/“alt-right” ecosystem has interesting consequences. First, members feel empowered to attack Fox News, framing it as part of the establishment media rather than an alternative to traditional sources. Aside from “Pizzagate,” the clearest example of this ecosystem is the harassment directed at Fox anchor Megyn Kelly. The first fake news story to trend on Facebook after the company fired its editors was about Kelly, falsely claiming that Fox fired her for being “‘a closet liberal who actually wants Hillary to win,’” according to CBS. Versions of this fake story featured language like “Megyn Kelly has gotten into a lot of hot water for her many attempts to smear Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump.” Another fake news story called her a “traitor” for her behavior toward Trump. As Kelly has now recently explained, she also was the recipient of torrents of online abuse from Trump supporters. The harassment may not have begun with the fake news story, but their connection seems clear. And the attacks on Fox News are not limited to Kelly -- Alex Jones attacks the network regularly.

    Secondly, traditional figures like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly are functionally irrelevant to the "alt-right." They may support Trump on a given day or they may not, but the “alt-right” operates independently of anything they say or do. Alex Jones or Breitbart issuing a call to action will move people, while Limbaugh and O’Reilly are now glorified book salesmen.

    And yet, right-wing media are still allied with and permissive of the “alt-right,” continuing to train their focus on mainstream media. Rather than concerning themselves with the issue of fake news, right-wing media use the term to attack mainstream outlets.

    In fact, right-wing media go out of their way to give space for the “alt-right” to operate. Fox News dramatically undercovered “Pizzagate” compared to other mainstream outlets. Fox News reporters (not just pundits) have dismissed the concept of “fake news” and defended the “alt-right” on air. When Facebook announced its plan to alleviate its fake news infestation, the most aghast were right-wing pundits.

    It is unclear where the phenomenon is going, but one clue may be Fox’s newest host. Tucker Carlson, Fox News’ Elf on the Shelf, is a huge favorite of “alt-right” trolls. If Carlson’s show is a success, Fox News in the future could drift more toward the “alt-right” model. (Worth noting is that Rupert Murdoch is reportedly a fan of Carlson's.) And the biggest glue tying together traditional right-wing media and the fake news ecosystem are the NRA and The Drudge Report, both of which were undoubtedly further empowered this election season.

    V. What’s To Come

    Many of the proposed solutions to fake news ring exceptionally hollow. Noting that the fake news ecosystem pushes lies will not stop the abuse; merely calling out the lies is like pointing out that rain originates in the clouds. The objective now is to protect people from the lies.

    It is long past the time for mainstream outlets to realize that the yoke of false balance empowers this ecosystem even more. The “alt-right” will turn any journalistic mistake into propaganda the very moment it occurs. A factual error will become an accidental truth. A correction will become censorship.

    There’s never been such a challenging time to be an informed citizen. Independent media are struggling financially, and mainstream media are obsessed with making everything about both sides, lest they lose a small portion of their audience. Right-wing media are telling all the traditional sorts of lies. Now a fake news ecosystem is feeding into the worst instincts of humanity while punishing anyone who dares stand up against them.

    And soon there will be a president who will validate those feelings.

  • One Of The “Alt-Right” Men Who Brought You “Pizzagate” Is Now Attacking Vic Berger

    Blog ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    “Alt-right” social media personality Mike Cernovich used “pizzagate”-like tactics to attack video editor and satirist Vic Berger, who was subjected to online harassment and threats after he mocked Cernovich. In spite of his repeated harassment of other Twitter users, the social media network has taken no action against Cernovich, who became a verified user in August.

    Cernovich operates the website Danger & Play, which publishes numerous articles, essays, and audio recordings that attack feminists and "SJWs" (social justice warriors) and dispute the validity of date rape claims. On his Twitter accounts, Cernovich has dismissed the possibility of date rape, writing, “The hotter the sex, the more closely it resembles rape” and “The only rape culture is Muslim rape culture” and asking, “Why should I care when women are raped?”

    Cernovich was one of many “alt-right” figures who weaponized fake news articles to push “pizzagate,” a conspiracy theory that baselessly alleged Hillary Clinton’s inner circle was orchestrating a child sex-trafficking ring out of a Washington, D.C., pizzeria. Cernovich and his fellow “alt-right” figures’ promotion of the story on social media resulted in “abusive social media comments” for the named pizzeria owners and inspired a man to enter the business with a gun and fire shots while attempting to “self-investigate” the claims.

    Retired general Michael Flynn, whom President-elect Donald Trump has selected as his national security adviser, has frequently interacted with Cernovich on Twitter and praised Cernovich’s “terrific book” Gorilla Mindset: How to Control Your Thoughts and Emotions, Improve Your Health and Fitness, Make More Money, and Live Life on Your Terms.

    Cernovich used the same method of attack that made “pizzagate” dangerous for the Washington pizzeria owners to attack Berger, urging his followers to “monitor” Berger and his Twitter followers to “find out what is going on, who these people are, what their connections are” because “they might be harming children.” By spreading the false rumor that Berger and his Twitter followers may be involved in a child sex ring, Cernovich inspired his Twitter followers -- who have already been hearing for months that Democrats are pedophiles -- to lash out at Berger and several of his Twitter followers, including some who have never spoken to Berger but merely follow his Twitter account.

    Berger starting satirizing Cernovich in November, mocking him with video supercuts, asking him to investigate a made-up conspiracy theory that Trump has rabies, and replying to Cernovich’s most disgusting tweets, which talked about “going to the gym” with “period juice all over you” and suggested that “date rape does not exist.” After Cernovich blocked Berger from following him, Berger asked his followers to write Cernovich and tell him to unblock him because “1st Amendment is very important,” apparently mocking Cernovich’s self-proclamation that he is a “free speech activist.”

    Cernovich responded to Berger by alleging in an article on his site, Danger and Play, that one of Berger’s Twitter followers sent him a direct message that included a photo of a newborn baby and the word “cum” after Cernovich posted a photo of himself with his newborn daughter. Cernovich cited a screenshot that “has been deleted as it was sickening,” but is not included on any archived pages.

    Cernovich’s “pizzagate” tactics have resulted in a flood of online harassment and death threats aimed at Berger from “alt-right” Twitter users. Berger tweeted on December 18 that he was abandoning his Twitter profile until the harassment “is settled” because he needed to “protect [his] family.” And that’s worrying because, as UW-Madison public affairs professor Don Moynihan pointed out, after “pizzagate” it is “reasonable to worry that lies will end in violence.” Journalist Dave Weigel also noted mockingly that this tactic of baselessly calling your opponent a pedophile and mobilizing people to take action “worked so well with Pizzagate.”

    During “pizzagate,” Cernovich repeatedly pushed fake news validating the conspiracy, accused the mainstream media of “covering up” for alleged pedophiles, implied Vice President Joe Biden was a pedophile, and alleged that there was “zero evidence” connecting an armed man who entered the Washington, D.C, pizzeria to “pizzagate” in the incident’s immediate aftermath.

    Cernovich activated a hotbed of Twitter users to threaten Berger using the same smear tactics the “alt-right” used to promote harassment over “pizzagate”: Publishing a smear in a news-style article format and distributing it to an eager fan base.

  • Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn Promoted Anti-Semitic Tweet And “Diversity Is ... White Genocide” Writer

    David Duke On Flynn: “Great Pick!”

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who is reportedly President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to be national security adviser, promoted a tweet that read “Not anymore, Jews” and endorsed a racist author who claims “diversity is code for white genocide.” Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has declared Flynn to be a “great pick!”

    Trump’s presidential transition period has been marred by ties to white nationalism. He appointed Stephen Bannon, who has a history of pushing anti-Semitism and white nationalist “alt-right” views, to a senior White House position. Trump's entrance into politics has energized and emboldened the white nationalist movement.

    Media outlets are reporting that Flynn “has been asked by Trump to serve as his national security adviser.” He is the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and recently became a media commentator, author, and frequent media surrogate for Trump during the 2016 campaign.

    In July 2016, Flynn shared a tweet that read, “Not anymore, Jews. Not anymore.” Flynn linked to the message to claim that the “corrupt Democratic machine will do and say anything to get #NeverHillary into power.” He later apologized, deleted the tweet, and claimed it was “a mistake.”

    In February, Flynn tweeted: “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.”

    Flynn frequently tweets at and has endorsed the work of Mike Cernovich, who is part of the white nationalist “alt-right” movement. On October 8, Flynn tweeted, “Follow Mike @Cernovich He has a terrific book, Gorilla Mindset. Well worth the read.” Cernovich is well-known within the “alt-right” movement for being a sexual assault apologist and denying the existence of date rape. 

    Cernovich frequently pushes white nationalist themes on his Twitter account. He’s claimed that “diversity is code for white genocide,” “Blacks use guns for murder. Whites use guns to kill themselves,” and “Diversity is bad for national security.”

    David Duke endorsed Flynn for the job on Twitter. CNN's KFile reported that Flynn's son, who serves as his chief of staff, "regularly shares conspiracy theories, expletive-filled posts, and racially insensitive sentiments on Twitter and Facebook."

    Here is a sampling of Cernovich’s tweets about white genocide:

    Cernovich also reportedly tweeted -- then deleted -- that “Not being a slut is the only proven way to avoid AIDS. If you love black women, slut shame them.”

    Here is a sampling of Cernovich’s tweets about African-Americans:

    He also repeatedly warns against diversity:

  • Donald Trump Jr. Promotes “Alt-Right” Video Claiming Clinton Camp Has Satanists Who Want To Kidnap Kids

    Trump Jr.-Promoted Video Praises Trump Jr. For Looking Like He Wants To “Waterboard Or Guillotine” Clinton’s Circle

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Donald Trump Jr. promoted an “alt-right” video on his Twitter account that suggests Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign is engaged in satanism and her aides are trying to “kidnap your children, make them disappear, sell them into all kinds of things.” The video features “alt-right” bloggers Vox Day, who claims blacks are inferior to whites, and Mike Cernovich, a rape apologist.

    On November 4, Trump Jr. retweeted the video, in which blogger Stefan Molyneux talks with Cernovich and Day about the “spirit cooking scandal”:

    The "spirit cooking scandal" refers to a hacked email posted to WikiLeaks in which lobbyist Tony Podesta asked his brother, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, if he wanted to attend a “spirit cooking dinner” hosted by performance artist Marina Abramović. Trump supporters have used the invitation to claim that Podesta and the Clinton campaign are Satan worshippers. The Washington Post debunked the absurd claim, writing that an email “inviting Clinton’s campaign chair to dinner — a dinner he didn’t even attend — is not proof of any of the things that the Trump Internet is claiming about it right now.”

    During the video, Molyneux says the news is “extraordinary,” referring to the “Podesta emails, which is all this spirit cooking stuff, and invitations to what seems like occult magic/satanic rituals/I don’t know what the hell is going on.” Cernovich claimed that the allegations are “worse” than what people are saying and that “John Podesta and his brother are doing this together with who knows how many people are there.”

    The video also suggests Podesta and his allies might be luring children with their alleged “spirit cooking” parties -- a variation of the “pants on fire” false claim that the Clintons are running an underground sex ring targeting children.

    Vox Day asked: “Given all of the other weirdness that is surrounding Podesta, and is surrounding these people -- because these are the same people that were talking about this whole spirit cooking thing. And so that’s what’s very troubling. I mean, would you ever want your young children going to a party with John Podesta and his spirit cooking?”

    Mike Cernovich later said: “If you’re going to have children, you don’t want to live in a world where these people could potentially kidnap your children, make them disappear, sell them into all kinds of things, or who knows what. And that’s what people are realizing now is the gatekeepers are gone. The media people, they’re not writing about this because they’re right there at these parties -- with them.”

    Day also praised Trump Jr., saying that “he looks like he wants to personally waterboard or guillotine every single member of Hillary Clinton’s circle” during the debates. 

    Vox Day is an “alt-right” writer with a history of pushing racist and misogynistic rhetoric. He has tweeted that “I support white nationalism.” He also tweeted that “I am an Alt Right nationalist, I'm American Indian.”

    Day has a long history of racism. He has tweeted that African-Americans have lower IQs than others, are more prone to violence, and are worse than an atomic bomb for a city:

    He has also repeatedly spoken out against interracial dating:

    And from his blog:

    As for the idea of stronger blacks and smarter Asians serving whites, that could not be further from my own position on ideal interracial relations. My belief is that every population group, every human sub-species, every nation, is better served by furthering a homogeneous group interest. To put it crudely, whites would do well to pick their own cotton and count their own money, blacks would do well to build their own power stations and grow their own crops, and yellows would do well to develop their own technologies and establish their own university systems. Let Israel be Israel and let Myanmar be Myanmar.

    Mike Cernovich is another “alt-right” activist, who operates a website that attacks feminists and disputes the validity of date rape claims. He has tweeted: “the hotter the sex, the more closely it resembles rape,” “the only rape culture is Muslim rape culture,” and “why should I care when women are raped?” Cernovich is a favorite of the Trump campaign.

    Trump Jr. has repeatedly interacted with white nationalists and promoted their work. In March, he retweeted the false claim from Vox Day that “The ‘Trump Nazi’ is Portia Boulger, who runs the Women for Bernie Sanders Twitter account.” And he also:

    posted an image celebrating “Pepe the Frog, a symbol that has been co-opted by white supremacists and nationalists”;

    said during a radio interview that the media would be “warming up the gas chamber” if Trump lied like Hillary Clinton has;

    retweeted anti-Semitic writer Kevin MacDonald, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “the neo-Nazi movement's favorite academic”; and

    gave an interview to white nationalist radio host James Edwards, during which Edwards and Trump Jr. complained about “political correctness.”

    Trump Jr. has unsurprisingly become a hero to white nationalists and neo-Nazis.