Trump’s current misinformation campaign against the American public is being built upon false equivalence. As his supporters grow more overtly racist and violent, he needs something to point to on the left as just as bad.
This Whataboutism technique – originally, and ironically first employed by the Soviets – was put on disgusting display when Trump defended the Charlottesville Neo-Nazi’s by saying that there was violence on “many sides.” If Trump can lie and say the left is just as bad as the right, he can defuse the well-founded criticism being leveled at his hateful acolytes.
The BBC reports that researcher Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat has revealed the disgusting lows that the Trumpsters are sinking to in their efforts to smear the left.
Far-right propagandists are masquerading as members of Antifa, a shortening of anti-fascist, a loosely associated collection of people who have been taking to the streets to protest what they see as a wave of rising fascism in the United States. The far-right is mass-producing ugly, offensive images and memes, and spreading them while pretending to be Antifa, in an effort to make the left look violent and hateful.
The term “Antifa” has quickly become the latest conservative bugaboo, with some on the right demanding Antifa be labeled a terrorist organization, despite the fact that it’s simply a label and not a coherent organized group.
Higgins discovered 4chan users – a popular website for the alt-right – discussing a concerted effort to push their propaganda. They planned to find images of women who had been physically abused, and then superimpose text claiming that women who voted for Trump deserved to be beaten:
The images flooded social media, shared by accounts pretending to be Antifa. Many of the accounts were only created this month, and had no other content besides the images, showing the telltale signs of being shell accounts.
Many of the pictures were vile, with a deep current of misogyny running beneath them. The far-right is exploiting the suffering of women to smear Antifa and promote their agenda:
Higgins told the BBC that the misinformation campaign was “pretty clumsy.”
“This was a transparent and quite pathetic attempt, but I wouldn’t be surprised if white nationalist groups try to mount more sophisticated attacks in the future,” Higgins went on to say.
The entire affair is disturbing and immoral and demonstrates the lengths that Trump supporters will go to in order to prop up their incompetent leader.
Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.