In a report published on Tuesday, The Washington Post smeared conservative activists, likening them to “Russian bots” and a Macedonian “troll farm” for posting pro-Trump and conservative content online from their own accounts, in coordination with Turning Point USA marketing partner Rally Forge.
The Post, ironically railing against so-called election interference, boasted Tuesday about prompting social media giants like Twitter and Facebook to ban the young Arizona-based politicos’ accounts:
In response to questions from The Post, Twitter on Tuesday suspended at least 20 accounts involved in the activity for “platform manipulation and spam.” Facebook also removed a number of accounts as part of what the company said is an ongoing investigation.
There is no evidence presented by the Post or otherwise that the accounts are in fact “bots.”
The young conservatives used their real names and personal accounts—or pseudonyms to protect themselves from bullying and harassment—posting pro-Trump, conservative, and lockdown-skeptical content online for months.
Moreover, numerous Democrat organizations engage in the same message-pushing outlined in the Post report, noted Breitbart reporter Allum Bokhari.
Here are a just a couple of the examples highlighted by Bokhari:
The Texas Democrat Party is currently advertising for a “deputy digital organizing director” who will “Recruit and manage an in-state volunteer digital captains program to develop, curate, and distribute grassroots-generated content in support of Democrats up and down the ticket.”
The South Carolina Democrat party is currently recruiting a “digital organizing manager,” who will “develop volunteer communities via Facebook, Slack, and/or other online platforms.”
“Comparing American conservative teenagers to Russian bots is, in and of itself, the height of misinformation by the mainstream media,” said a spokesman for Students for Trump, which contracted Rally Forge. “They should be ashamed. It’s beyond ridiculous at this point.”
Paige Noonan, one of the young conservative activists, pushed back against the Post.
“I love this job,” she said, according to Breitbart. “It’s a great environment and I actually have fun with it — I am grateful I have a job during corona[virus].”
“It’s sick that the Washington Post and Twitter are working together to take away my right to free speech” she added.
“It’s stupid and dumb,” said activist Brent Hamilton. “They call us ‘Russian bots,’ which we’re obviously not. We’re American and Arizonan, writing about what we believe in.”
Hamilton had his account banned from social media following the Post’s pushback regarding the conservatives to big tech companies.
Turning Point Action field director Austin Smith issued a statement in response to the report, too. “This is sincere political activism conducted by real people who passionately hold the beliefs they describe online, not an anonymous troll farm in Russia,” he said.
“Like everyone else, Turning Point Action’s plans for nationwide in-person events and activities were completely disrupted by the pandemic,” Smith added. “Many positions TPA had planned for in field work were going to be completely cut, but TPA managed to reimagine these roles and working with our marketing partners, transitioned some to a virtual and online activist model.”
H/t Allum Bokhari