A few days ago the Washington Post published a story which should have shocked us…but sadly, it didn’t.
Authors Craig Timberg and Drew Harwell wrote:
Forty-seven minutes after news broke of a high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., the posters on the anonymous chat board 8chan had devised a plan to bend the public narrative to their own designs: “Start looking for [Jewish] numerology and crisis actors.”
The voices from this dark corner of the Internet quickly coalesced around a plan of attack: Use details gleaned from news reports and other sources to push false information about one of America’s deadliest school shootings.
Timberg and Harwell studied thousands of posts on alt-right conspiracy channels 8chan, 4chan, and Reddit, looking at how anonymous users correctly predicted that the Parkland mass murder would revive interest in gun control in the United States. Almost before the story had hit the mainstream news, users leapt in, distorting and re-shaping the narrative of the shooting to cast doubt upon the event…and to target its young victims in a vicious, relentless, co-ordinated campaign.
According to Timberg and Harwell,
Former YouTube engineer Guillaume Chaslot referred to coordinated campaigns across online platforms to spread a video as “4chan attacks” because such anonymous forums often served as staging grounds for these efforts.
Using methods which will be familiar to those who followed the conspiracy theorists’ aggressive attacks on the Sandy Hook community, Timberg and Harwell said,
[t]he Parkland story line took advantage of emerging details about the surviving students — and even how they looked or talked during interviews with television reporters — to portray them as “crisis actors” playing the roles of victims in a “false flag” attack, a hoax designed to mislead the public and build support for gun control.
Just as the victims of the Hampstead SRA hoax have suffered long-term damage from those who’ve created a defamatory, abusive narrative about the children, parents, teachers, clergy, and others in the community, the victims of the Parkland shootings—those who died, the traumatised survivors, teachers, and families—must now cope with a virtual siege from an online community with a very ugly axe to grind.
Parkland student David Hogg has been targetted in particular, primarily due to his passionate articulation of the problem: “Blood is being spilled on the floors of American classrooms”, he says. “And that is not acceptable”.
From the start, the conspiranoids flagged him as a problem to be neutralised. Timberg and Harwell wrote:
‘Just wanted to say thanks for all your digging and research,’ one poster wrote on 8chan. ‘Extra thanks if you’re spreading info or memes about this kid. It’s already breaking through the normie-sphere. KEEP PUSHING!’
Troofers zeroed in on the fact that David’s father is a retired FBI agent; to the conspiranoids, this must mean that David Hogg was play-acting.
YouTuber “Bombard” posted a video the day of the mass murder, analysing the students’ body language and referring to David as a “psychopath”.
Timberg and Harwell stated:
Memes with Hogg’s face tagged as “Son of FBI agent” were spreading widely on Twitter by the next day. And on Feb. 18, users were cheering the surprising speed with which they were able to shape the story line.
‘Man, I just gotta say, on our progress around these events is quite remarkable,’ one 8chan poster wrote that day. It’s ‘marvelous to see non centralized actors . . . produce so many counter points, so fast, with zero centrally planned coordination.’
The poster added, ‘At this point I think we managed to get into a 1.5 . . . to 2 :1 ratio of information warfare for OUR advantage, compared to the jews (sic).
In yet another parallel to the Hoaxtead narrative, when David Hogg went on television to state that he was not a crisis actor, the conspiranoids interpreted his protestations as clear evidence that he was.
This is war
Since the day of the murders in Parkland, the conspiracy narrative has seeped upward into the internet’s consciousness: from 8chan, 4chan, and Reddit, it has made its way onto the (slightly) more regulated platforms: Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Alt-right conspiracy trumpeter Alex Jones latched onto the false flag idea briefly, but now seems to have abandoned this in favour of sowing doubt about the murders; better stick to the softer sell and avoid potential lawsuits, it seems.
Even normal people, to whom conspiracy theories seem bizarre and foreign, have begun to become aware of the conspiranoid version of events. The majority of people tend to react with understandable shock and disgust, writing off the troofers as marginal nut-cases who will go away if they’re ignored.
Those of us who’ve seen this kind of thing before realise that that’s a dangerously short-sighted approach.
When YouTube responded to the growing conspiracy theory by banning videos and channels which claimed that David Hogg was less than genuine, the conspiranoids took it as evidence of a “cover-up” and pushed harder:
A poster on 8chan soon advanced a battle plan. “We Go to War. Gather any dirt we can find on the leaders and their parents … Disprove, Disrupt, Discredit, Disinfo, Discourage, Demotivate, Deny. Sabotage the movement [to implement gun control legislation]” the poster wrote.
And that’s how it is: having grabbed hold of the narrative within minutes of the murders being announced, the conspiranoid propagandists do whatever they can to wrest it further from the truth, to shape and mould it into their own twisted version in which children who’ve lost friends and classmates, who have watched their classmates die, are somehow liars and fakers.
As HR commenter Justin Sanity remarked yesterday,
There are both direct and indirect relationships between conspiranoid propaganda and mass shooting incidents in America.
The indirect relationship runs something like this; conspiranoid propaganda winds up American paranoids, they buy more guns and support groups like the NRA that actively block gun control legislation. We used to call these paranoids “survivalists”, decades ago, and guess what? Our old ‘friend’ John Todd was very much involved in inciting their paranoia in the 1970’s & 1980’s:
As for the direct relationship…at least one of the paranoid lunatic assassins that have carried out fatal ambushes on police officers in the US & Canada was provably an Alex Jones fan. (I could say a lot more about this, but I’ll stick to what I can prove).
So…want to support the Florida kids and gun control in America? Help take down the conspiranoid channels, sites, webpages and blogs.