You know, I don’t recall conservative sites shedding a lot of tears when Milo and I were banned from Twitter. Why is anyone supposed to be concerned about Twitter bans now targeting conservatives? No doubt these people will expect everyone to be deeply outraged when garden variety Republicans start finding themselves demonetized as well as deplatformed, as has never, ever happened before to anyone in the entire history of the Internet.
At approximately 9 pm eastern on October 2, ten conservative twitter accounts owned by ten different entities were suspended by Twitter. When the account owners contacted Twitter to get the details of what they supposedly did wrong and appeal the punishment, no reason was provided. Instead, the “bluebirds of punishment” sent them notices that they were permanently banned.
Eight of the accounts booted by twitter were connected to websites; two were personal accounts:
@theEagleRising: Eagle Rising.com
@luvGodnCountry: Personal Account For Tanya Grimsley
@deplorableNews : DeplorableNews.com
@ BarracudaMama: Personal Account For Alicia Luke
Well, they’re all racist bigot Nazi hate extremists and information terrorists anyhow, so they probably deserved it, right? If you don’t bother to pay any attention when the camel sticks his nose in the tent, you just don’t have much cause for complaint or sympathy when he subsequently starts voiding his bladder right in the middle of it.
It’s almost comical the way Wired is now attempting to blame GamerGate for both the election of Donald Trump as well as the Kavanaugh confirmation circus. But underneath all the projection and the usual discredit & disqualify routine, the real takeaway is the way the media creeps really don’t like being subjected to the same scrutiny they mete out to the subjects, associates, and acquaintances of their targets in the process of their “investigative” hit pieces.
Many reporters who cover this phenomenon have themselves been swarmed by attacks and harassment from the digital insurgency that these information terrorists—call them the cadre—command. Information terrorism is not a term I apply lightly. But if you accept the core definition of terrorism as “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims,” then there are few terms more apt to describe what this group has unleashed against their fellow Americans.
The cadre coalesced and sharpened its edge starting in 2014 with Gamergate before throwing in with then-candidate Trump. It has promoted toxic conspiracies like Pizzagate and QAnon, and was ever-present around movements from Unite the Right to #releasethememo.
This same information architecture was used to attack Blasey Ford and exonerate Kavanaugh. The attacks on Blasey Ford aimed to discredit and silence her using the same tactics that have been deployed to discredit and silence others over the past few years. As others have come forward to accuse Kavanaugh of wrongdoing—including Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick—they have been similarly harassed and smeared by the same machinery and themes.
Some call this trolling, but that term is far too mild. These are not the proverbial hoodied losers in some basement, engaging with other humans only via videogames and 8chan. This cadre has hundreds of thousands of followers and devotees on Twitter, Instagram, Gab, and other social media, many of whom will post and amplify their views even after the personalities themselves are kicked off the platforms for threats and rules violations. The network also takes advantage of affiliations with increasingly mainstream partisan media outlets that will subscribe to any argument that suits their current agenda.
Ultimately, the followers—who are real people, not bots—are cultivated and activated: They don’t need be told to threaten or harass whoever the new enemy is because they already know their part in the play.
But this obvious sensitivity points to a useful tactic of journalistic reprisal. The next time a reporter contacts someone who is a friend, family member, or business associate in connection with a “story” about you, utilize the information infrastructure to ensure that all of their friends, family members, and Facebook connections are contacted and questioned for an in-depth investigative story on that reporter.
It’s just good journalism, after all. The people have a right to know!
About the author: Molly K. McKew (@MollyMcKew) is an expert on information warfare and the narrative architect at New Media Frontier. She advised Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili’s government from 2009 to 2013 and former Moldovan prime minister Vlad Filat in 2014–15.
Translation: The 4DW countermedia has proven so much more effective than the media’s hapless journalist grunts that the media institutions are now running to the Deep State for assistance and higher-quality specialists. “Narrative architect” = political lobbyist, propagandist, and registered foreign agent.