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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Right Wing Media Hits Back at Sleeping Giants Founder

by Spocko

Four days ago the The Daily Caller, a site co-founded by Tucker Carlson, revealed the identity of one of the founders of Sleeping Giants. Today the New York Times did a follow up piece on the founder.

Just after the 2016 election, an anonymously run Twitter account emerged with a plan to choke off advertising dollars to Breitbart News, the hard-edge, nationalist website closely tied to President Trump’s administration.
The account, named Sleeping Giants, urged people to collect screenshots of ads on Breitbart and then question brands about their support of the site. Sleeping Giants correctly guessed that many companies did not know where their digital ads were running, and advertisers were caught off guard as the account circulated images of blue-chip brands in proximity to headlines like “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.”
As hundreds of brands blocked their ads from appearing on Breitbart, and the account expanded to put pressure on certain Fox News shows, the people behind Sleeping Giants maintained their anonymity — until this week.
The founder's story is very similar to mine. (About Spocko. Here is the link to my story in the New York Times from 2007) I won't go into detail here since I've told this story before.

When I read the Daily Caller story I saw threats of violence in the comments section (although many of the worst from 4 days ago have since been deleted), as well as personal information about the founder and his wife (a violation to the Daily Caller's Terms of Service.) They listed his place of employment and clients he had worked for suggesting they be boycotted and used the phrase "Turnabout is fair play."

Based on my personal experience and a over a decade of observations, for a large section of people on the right, their idea of "turnabout" is not fair play. Their response to a legal protest action is escalated retaliation.

Death Threats Are Not Fair Play

 From the article:
He added that he had received a barrage of threats and harassment in the wake of the Daily Caller article, which also named his wife and friends.
Sending the founder threats of violence--because he wrote polite alerts to advertisers suggesting that they might want to reconsider where they are advertising--is not fair play.

Look at how polite and civil this action is!

The retaliation against people politely alerting advertisers doesn't just come from unnamed trolls. Sometimes it comes from highly-paid operatives of the right. The New York Times quoted Brian Glicklich as a spokesman for Breitbart. I recognized that name. He was hired by Rush Limbaugh in 2015 for "reputation management" after 1000's of advertisers left the show after being alerted by people about the sexist comments made by Limbaugh.

What was Glicklich's method to help Rush's reputation? Did he suggest Rush stop saying disgusting sexist things? He might have, but based on the public evidence I've seen, he went after the people who contacted the advertisers--then threatened and extorted them. These tactics led to his Twitter account being suspended twice. Twitter Suspends Rush Limbaugh’s $900/Hour Fixer For Extortion, Harassment (UPDATE) Not very civil.

When someone on the left runs a successful action that has an impact on the right, one of the tactics used by the right wing media is to identify the leaders of the action so that followers on the right can act. They don't always say what the followers should do, just vague, "Who shall rid me of this troublesome priest?" suggestions. But other times, as we have seen from the bully-in-chief, he comes comes right out and encourages violence at his rallies.  Not very civil.

I don't have the statistics about number or severity of threats from the right vs the left. I do know that when it comes to threats of violence, the right pretends to be the victim while they actually are the bully. For example, since they couldn't find a prominent person on the left saying what Trump does, they lied about what Maxine Waters said when she encouraged people to tell Trump cabinet members they weren't welcome in  public spaces. At no time did she call for violence against or harm to come to anyone.

On the other side threats of violence from Trump led to actual violence at a Kentucky rally. In that case Trump is being sued for incitement and the suit has been allowed to move forward.

Here is what Sarah Huckabee Sanders had to say about this, "The president in no way, form, or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence." (I would laugh but I have chapped lips.)

When threats of violence are dismissed or downplayed it sends a message to people that they are acceptable. They are not.

I believe there should be consequences to the people making threats of violence to others, especially "true threats" as defined in the Elonis v. United States case. 

I write about activism and have written about the death threats to gun-control activists, especially those from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

I'm currently looking into the SWATTING of Parkland students David Hogg on June 5th, Cameron Kasky on June 6th and Sarah Chadwick on June 11th. I've contacted the police and sheriffs in Broward County, Palm Beach and the City of Coral Spring. It's been over a month and there has been no arrests, but the case is still active and the cities are coordinating their efforts. 

I've spoken to Florida legislators who are very concerned about these threats and want to ensure the people making the threats are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The good news is that Florida recently changed the state code to make threats a class 2 felony. 

When the people who make threats of violence are caught, tried and convicted of felonies it will send a message that there are real consequences for those who make threats of violence.