Shenanigans are afoot.
On December 10th an unknown spammer posted a selectively-edited video of Senator Carl Levin at YouTube and proceeded to tweet the link 45 times over 24 hours. The link is now dead (video deleted by user), but it has already been copied to accounts on various video sites. To find out what Senator Levin actually said, you can go watch the full C-SPAN clip at PoliticusUSA.
The video set off an online freakout of epic proportions. Recipients of this ‘reply message spam’ included a Bradley Manning account, Occupy accounts, and assorted hacktivist accounts. It was like squirting lighter fluid onto a smoldering flame, feeding paranoid memes of right and left. Indeed, “Joe Fangorico” was nonpartisan, including FOX News’ own Joe Napolitano and Ron Paulites on his or her list.
That’s because spammers are mainly looking for clicks. They make money from the first click, and so have incentive to obtain as many clicks as possible. A certain subset of netizen culture is eager for outrage, and therefore prone to pass disinformation. Video evidence that President Obama has evil designs on habeas corpus? That’s traffic gold, which is why so many different sites featured the video.
Joe Fangorico is not just a spammer, he’s also a hacker. You can see the Twitter account here:
Who was taken in by and helped spread this tale? Need you even ask?
Given what Allan Brauer uncovered this morning — a website fraudulently leveraging the names of journalists Josh Harkinson (Mother Jones) and James Kerchick (The National Review; Wall Street Journal) to spread misinformation about the NDAA, calling President Obama a “serial liar” and accusing him of treason — I’d say there seems to be a concerted effort going on to stoke the flames of anti-Obama discontent among those who have fears about the odious detention provisions in the NDAA — whether real or imagined — through the purposeful dissemination of half-truths, misrepresentations, and outright lies.
Now why would someone do that?
[via Osborne Ink]
- The NDAA is Not A Detention Bill by ABL
- NDAA Facepalm Induction by Matt Osborne
- ABL’s Blargh on the Veto Blargh by ABL
- #NDAA: A Perspective by rkref
- There’s No Such Thing As an ‘Indefinite Detention Bill’ and Other ProLeft Lies by Milt Shook (PCTC)
- NDAA FAQ: A Guide for the Perplexed by Benjamin Wittes (Lawfareblog)
- The Defense Bill Passed. Now What Does it Do? by Adam Serwer (Mother Jones)
- Why I Won’t Engage Glenn Greenwald by Benjamin Wittes (Lawfareblog)
- Exposed: A Spammer Fooled MSM & America with Edited NDAA [Carl Levin] Video by Sarah Jones (PoliticusUSA)