Correcting Correct The Record’s Record

Does no one notice how much this looks like a chan op?

Correcting The Record” sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? It implies the record is incorrect and that — finally — steps are being taken to undo that. But what happens when “the record” is your voting record? What if it’s already verifiably correct? Wouldn’t changing the record in some way then be, plainly and simply put, dishonest?

What if “correcting the record” meant bending campaign finance laws to spend one million dollars through a SuperPAC to essentially register a bunch of Twitter accounts to argue with anyone who brings up said record? Is that… correct?

In a CNN interview, Senator Sanders told “Bernie Bros” to “cut the crap.” It’s pretty clear that sexism is not a part of Bernie Sanders ideology, but Bernie Bros, as defined, do exist because “stansdo exist (for absolutely everything) — but the intention of naming them such a thing is to associate Bernie Sanders with people that do things he specifically does not condone. The media doesn’t really care that these folks are a small minority in the first place — nor does it care that there’s a small minority of Hillary Clinton supporters that constantly say racist and sexist things (someone has taken to cataloguing them on-and-off here).

Correct The Record’s actual about page. Seems legit.

In the announcement for their “Barrier Breakers 2016” project, pro-Hillary Clinton SuperPAC Correct The Record tries to sound impartial (which is hilarious for an organization built around promoting a presidential candidate), then seeks to automatically associate any negative implications about Hillary Clinton with sexism:

Anonymous online attacks, from both sides of the political spectrum, have sought to spread lies and misleading narratives about Secretary Hillary Clinton. Hillary’s supporters are more enthusiastic than Sen. Bernie Sanders’ supporters, yet oftentimes are discouraged from engaging online and are “often afraid to voice their thoughts” because of the fear of online harassment. Many of Hillary Clinton’s female supporters in particular have been subject to intense cyber-bullying and sexist attacks from swarms of anonymous attackers.
— “Barrier Breakers 2016,” Correct The Record

The implication of saying that “female Clinton supporters are being subject to cyber-bullying” is first that male supporters of the opposing candidate are responsible — not the obsessed ones, just them in general— and that female Sanders supporters don’t get attacked (because they’re aligned with the attackers). Well, we can start with Clinton surrogates Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright to immediately dispel that, who insulted women who support Sanders’ intelligence severely after young women overwhelmingly voted Sanders in several contests. Actor Wendell Pierce, of The Wire fame, got arrested when he allegedly physically attacked a female Sanders supporter. He’s disputed the circumstances and, to be fair, there are conflicting stories and his version absolves him.

Then there are the constant flow of accounts on Twitter telling women they’re “stupid” for not voting Clinton, making racist comments about Sanders and surrogates, and all the sexist badgering of Jane Sanders:

Does anyone remember “Obama Boys?” You know, the tiny minority of people who were obsessed with Barack Obama and were horrible to people about Hillary Clinton? Do you know why they got a name and the tiny minority of people who were obsessed with Hillary Clinton, the people that actually started Obama birtherism did not get a name? Because the Clinton campaign (and people adjacent to it) gave them a name — which, considering the racial connotations of calling supporters of a black candidate “boys,” actually went in line pretty well with the campaign she was running against him. The point is to associate that fringe element of the support with the candidate as a whole, and thus make an association your brain calls on when you see a male Obama supporter — or Obama himself. Sound familiar?

The amount of people who wander into my timeline to attack my support of Bernie Sanders is sometimes staggering, especially because I do not do anything at all in bad faith to encourage argument myself. I post my thoughts to my timeline and I do not reply to Clinton supporters’ timeline tweets (and mostly do not even reply to them when they reply to mine). The reason for that is I do not search for their tweets. I do not seek out people I disagree with to tell them they are wrong. That’s not a nice thing to do and you appear to be a hostile jerk when you do it.

Many are familiar with sealions, but if you aren’t — that cartoon properly depicts the concept of sealioning. And now, this Hillary Clinton SuperPAC called Change The Record is spending literally one million dollars (more on that part later) to do just that to Sanders supporters.

And you know what? I would have never believed for even a second there actually were paid Hillary Clinton shills. I’ve heard the “paid shill” thing so many times about so many things — and up until now I have not seen a single instance of “paid shilling” that was provably real. It’s amazing to me someone just flat-out decided to say “oh yeah, we’re doing that.”

In response to these attacks on supporters and superdelegates, Correct The Record is launching the Barrier Breakers 2016 digital task force. While Hillary Clinton fights to break down barriers and bring America together, the Barrier Breakers 2016 digital task force will serve as a resource for supporters looking for positive content and push-back to share with their online progressive communities, as well as thanking prominent supporters and committed superdelegates on social media.
— “Barrier Breakers 2016,” Correct The Record

There’s been a repeated action throughout Clinton’s campaign: painting the idea of harassment as something only the other side engages in. The fact is, there are some people who are obsessed with both Sanders and Clinton — harassing people and/or make bigoted statements over said obsession (and I think it’s disgusting either way). Correct The Record is creating ready-made responses “to share with communities” to “set things straight” — in which they make these one-sided accusations, among other grievances. I don’t know about you, but this reminds me of something. Something that disturbs me to think something involved with any political candidate would ever remind me of: GamerGate, a “consumer revolt” (ha) that started on IRC and continued on 8chan. When it became apparent to people outside GamerGate that it was created to harass a woman, they created “pushback to share.” A pushback you might remember as “actually, it’s about ethics in games journalism.”

Except where GamerGate is an utterly foolish expression of cultivated identity with a net result of harassing people (mainly women) online, “Correct The Record” is a SuperPAC with unlimited amounts of funding working in support of a candidate for President.

Correct The Record will invest more than $1 million into Barrier Breakers 2016 activities, including the more than tripling of its digital operation to engage in online messaging both for Secretary Clinton and to push back against attackers on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Instagram. Barrier Breakers 2016 is a project of Correct The Record and the brainchild of David Brock
— “Barrier Breakers 2016,” Correct The Record

That’s correct. David Brock, The Grandfather of Public Harassment. Suddenly, drawing comparisons between the “brainchild” of a man who publicly ruined a woman’s life to cover for a Supreme Court Justice nominee who sexually harassed her (and built a career in doing so — again this sounds pretty familiar) and GamerGate sounds a little less absurd.

I couldn’t tell you if it has been action people have been paid for or not, but I have been on the receiving end of this “pushback against attackers.” These random people (who have never previously associated with me, implying they found me through the search function) seem to think that an “attack” on a person seeking the most powerful office in the country is specifically pointing out their official record (not hearsay) — a record in fairly stark contrast to the rhetoric they speak today. The problem is, that’s not what an attack is.

Do I think Hillary Clinton faces unfair malice as the first viable female presidential candidate? Yes. I do. I would not and will not say otherwise, and I feel it would be legitimately mean-spirited to do so.

I do not, however, believe that should have impact on the amount of scrutiny as a person looking to become President of The United States. Sanders has been declared incompetent over his policy proposals by almost any paper and they constantly bring up things he’s said over decades as a means to call his ideas “pie-in-the-sky.” Others should be allowed to bring up things they find objectionable about Hillary Clinton’s stances — stances that have gone back and forth, demonstrably — over the same period of time.

Lessons learned from online engagement with “Bernie Bros” during the Democratic Primary will be applied to the rest of the primary season and general election–responding quickly and forcefully to negative attacks and false narratives. Additionally, as the general election approaches, the task force will begin to push out information to Sanders supporters online, encouraging them to support Hillary Clinton.
— “Barrier Breakers 2016,” Correct The Record

David Brock, a person who literally wrote a book to ruin a woman’s life because she accused a Supreme Court Justice nominee of sexual harassment is talking about how bad “Bernie Bros” (a small minority of Sanders support and too obsessed with Bernie Sanders the personality to care that Bernie Sanders the person doesn’t condone their actions) are while Hillary Clinton’s unnamed small minority of obsessive fans (who equally do not care that Hillary Clinton would likely not condone their actions) do all the same things. This is not a person who gives a damn about the actions, just who’s doing them (and if he can collect a paycheck calling them out).

The problem is that the vast majority of things most people (of all genders) have an issue with Clinton about, at least in 2016, are not even tangentially related to her gender. There are obviously some that are spouting the age-old bullshit we’ve all heard over the years about “a woman president,” but not a relatively large number.

What is being questioned as it is circulated around is legitimately highly questionable — like being involved in lobbying against a raise in the minimum wage in Haiti to $0.62/hour on behalf of American clothing companies who manufacture there, or giving an AIPAC speech about the United States role in the Middle East that was to Donald Trump’s right. The issues I most prominently see risen against Hillary Clinton relate to her saying progressive things while having a record of doing things that benefit corporations, whether through the harming of women in Haiti (a majority of the people that were denied $0.62/hr were women) or her involvement in the Honduras coup. Or the fact there’s a lot of evidence that suggests the Clinton Foundation is not entirely upfront about all of their dealings — and I am putting that as respectfully as I can.

The task force currently combats online political harassment, having already addressed more than 5,000 individuals who have personally attacked Secretary Clinton on Twitter. The task force will provide a presence and space online where Clinton supporters can organize and engage with one another and are able to obtain graphics, videos, gifs, and messaging to use in their own social spaces.
— “Barrier Breakers 2016,” Correct The Record

I don’t know about you, but this kind of sounds like targeting people to me. Now, I understand that I am more likely to be oversensitive to implication regarding targeting people than most. But I couldn’t help but think about someone else talking about “responding forcefully” to “false narrative” to specific people with specific viewpoints. Here’s a little excerpt from a medium piece called “Five Positive Things About GamerGate:”

GamerGaters and exiled 4channers now on 8chan are advocating for civility and denouncing harassment. It is true the birth of GamerGate is one of harassment, but since then, many in GamerGate have strongly denounced this type of behavior and insisted their movement has nothing to do with harassment.
Five Positive Things About GamerGate

This is not an uncommon claim — and is one they have made since they existed. Many still have GamerGaters harassing and spreading false information about them. Many still get DMs, emails, and weird facebook requests. GamerGate is a thoroughly discredited bullshit campaign, but it still exists (similarly, David Brock has admitted his book on Anita Hill is based in lies, but is still in “reputation management” and political strategy). GamerGate is still doing all their misdeeds— but they’re telling you that they advocate against it. In fact, they always have — and used that claim as a tool to further harass.

Kind of sounds like David Brock’s latest “brainchild,” doesn’t it?

On top of having money to engage in all this online brigading, Correct The Record also claims that because it’s online that they are exempt from the rule that prevents SuperPACs from coordinating with political campaigns. No, really. Correct The Record (and by proxy, the Clinton Campaign) claim to have found a loophole. It’s a loophole that Ted Cruz exploited to give his SuperPAC a bunch of really awkward stock footage to make ads with.

{Side note: do you honestly think Hillary Clinton is going to fight Citizen’s United tooth-and-nail if she and a SuperPAC are coordinating thanks to loopholes?}

Forgive me for being a little suspicious of a SuperPAC headed by David Brock (who literally wrote the book on public harassment and reputation destruction) “responding forcefully” on social media to “false narratives” that also finds loopholes to break rules that supposedly legitimize the existence of SuperPACs in general.

  • Front with stated purpose (Correct The Record) that turns out to be doublespeak? Check.

Forgive me if when several of the largest Bernie Sanders Facebook groups (all above 50,000 members) suddenly disappear — with Clinton supporters taking credit — I can’t help but associate all of these activities because it’s now starting to reek in a way-too-familiar way.

  • Armies of “useful idiots” (supporters/sympathizers) doing the dirty work in slightly-less-public channels? Check.
Whether it’s official or emboldened supporters, Correct The Record is undeniably tied to this.

Forgive me when people give accounts of child porn being posted to these groups for the specific purpose of being reported (reported by the people posting the images to the groups from sock accounts — and by the people regularly using the groups in good faith) as violations of Facebook’s rules.

Numerous popular Bernie Sanders Facebook groups and pages were removed from the social media giant today… This was likely the result of false ‘flagged’ reports about the groups, rather than direct facebook censoring… Screenshots have surfaced pointing to a possible coordinated attempt at “mass reporting” the Bernie Sanders pages for false violations…
Erica Libenow, a Sanders supporter and member of one of the pro-Bernie groups, said, “We had what looked like a kiddie porn posted in one of our groups today. I reported that one. Seriously made me want to vomit.”
Why Are Bernie Sanders Groups Being Removed From Facebook?
  • Background ops that spread child porn and force the other side to recognize it by denying or just conspicuously not acknowledging it’s happening? Check.

Whether it’s “Barrier Breakers 2016” acting on a $1 million mandate to “Correct The Record” or Hillary Clinton followers emboldened by the online actions of this project… it all echoes chan ops (like GamerGate).

If you think that does not stink to holy hell, I implore you to inhale deeper.

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