“A network of anonymous accounts.”
The deceptive video that had instigated the online mobbing of MAGA hat-wearing students of Covington Catholic High School has been traced back to the fake Twitter account of a Brazilian culture warrior, CNN reported Monday.
Under the handle @2020Fight, the account had released on Friday a manipulative cut of a video showing the teens, who had participated in the March for Life in Washington, crowding a Native American protestor and appearing to mock him. “This MAGA loser gleefully bothering a Native American protester at the Indigenous Peoples March,”@2020Fight tweeted.
Only after the video reached millions of views and shares — leading many an outraged liberal to call for the doxxing and shaming of the students as racist — did a fuller version begin to circulate, painting a much more complex picture (and forcing the more implacable liberal critics to look for new reasons to hate on the kids).
But on Monday CNN Business found that @2020Fight, which claimed to be the account of a California-based “Teacher and Advocate” named Talia, was in fact run by a Brazilian blogger aiming to impact American politics through disinformation.
Information strategist Molly McKew told CNN that an examination of the video’s virality shows signs that it has been boosted by “a network of anonymous accounts,” which appears to indicate a coordinated outrage-sowing campaign. (Sounds familiar?)
CNN credited Rob McDonagh, an assistant editor at online journalism watchdog Storyful, with raising the alarm. He told CNN that what made him suspicious was the account’s “high follower count, highly polarized and yet inconsistent political messaging, the unusually high rate of tweets, and the use of someone else’s image in the profile photo.”
Following CNN’s inquiry, Twitter suspended @2020Fight for its “deliberate attempts to manipulate the public conversation on Twitter by using misleading account information.”
Neither the release of the full video nor the discovery of the bot-amplification that fomented the controversy have done much to slacken the left’s hostility towards the students. The New York Daily News, for example, unearthed on Monday photos showing the Catholic school students in supposed blackface during a basketball game. (because it has now become a national emergency to find some reason to indict the Covington kids.) Meanwhile others, like Vulture contributor Erik Abriss, simply gave in to the “hysterical rage, nausea, and heartache,” tweeting,”I just want these people to die. Simple as that. Every single one of them. And their parents.”
Caroline Orr, a contributor for Shareblue, thinks the real problem is that the Covington students, who, have been coddled by the media.
Given that the Covington Catholic High School students think they’re mature enough to understand pregnancy, abortion, childbirth, and parenting — and to tell women what we should do with our bodies — it’d be great if the media would stop coddling them like they’re little boys.
— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) January 22, 2019