Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Dirty Deeds Done Relatively Inexpensively Online

Expect another year plus of rotten fake news like this as Republican sleazebags invent misinformation to destroy Democratic candidates for 2020.

A pair of right-wing provocateurs are being accused of attempting to recruit young Republican men to level false allegations of sexual assault against Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.

The details of the operatives’ attempt emerged as one man suddenly surfaced with a vague and uncorroborated allegation that Buttigieg had assaulted him. The claim was retracted hours later on a Facebook page appearing to belong to the man.

A Republican source told The Daily Beast that lobbyist Jack Burkman and internet troll Jacob Wohl approached him last week to try to convince him to falsely accuse Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, of engaging him sexually while he was too drunk to consent.

The source who spoke to The Daily Beast said Burkman and Wohl made clear that their goal was to kneecap Buttigieg’s momentum in the 2020 presidential race. The man asked to remain anonymous out of a concern that the resulting publicity might imperil his employment, and because he said Wohl and Burkman have a reputation for vindictiveness.

But the source provided The Daily Beast with a surreptitious audio recording of the meeting, which corroborates his account. In it, Wohl appears to refer to Buttigieg as a “terminal threat” to President Donald Trump’s reelection next year.

Neither Burkman nor Wohl responded to repeated requests for comment on this story. But after The Daily Beast contacted them last week, traces of the scheme disappeared from the web and social media.

And of course, right-wing sites immediately ran the fake news as real.  Jacob Wohl is performing criminal acts here, and the Buttigieg campaign should sue at the minimum.

But a lot more of this is coming, and it won't be just garden-variety social media hucksters like Wohl, but calculated Russian disinformation ops designed to wreck any semblance of trust in the media.

2020's big lies and criminal collusion will make 2016 look like a cookout.

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