Desperate Erick Erickson Can't Stop Falling For 4Chan Hoaxes
Although it's only been a week and a half since Christine Blasey Ford came forward, it seems like it's been a year. We've had at least a year's worth of bizarre excuses for why Brett Kavanaugh is definitely not an attempted rapist, including two separate theories involving an evil twin.
There is at this point almost nothing at the bottom of the barrel left to scrape, unless someone has a good theory about robots or alien abduction. Almost nothing, that is, except for whatever weird shit the top minds of the internet over at 4chan and 8chan can come up with.
On Tuesday morning, as pointed out by online extremism researcher Travis View, some idiot over on the 8chan QAnon board posted a photograph of Hillary Clinton and photographer Barbara Kinney, claiming that Kinney was actually Debra Katz, the attorney representing Christine Blasey Ford. How Hillary Clinton actually secretly orchestrating the whole attack on Kavanaugh -- which is clearly what they were trying to insinuate here -- squares with their theory that Donald Trump has already arrested her for her involvement in a pizza-based pedophile ring, one cannot be sure.
Nevertheless, eager to jump on literally any possible theory to explain why this is all happening to them, the picture quickly circulated around the right-wing loonosphere, even getting traction from #1 Brett Kavanaugh Superfan Erick Erickson.
It was also picked up by conservative news site Your News Wire:
And then by Big League Politics:
And then, ultimately, by TMZ -- which, despite the fact that they are supposed to just be a gossip site, has taken to posting a whole lot of pro-Trump propaganda over the past few years.
All these publications have since pulled their articles on the photograph, although TMZ republished theirs with a note saying "Earlier, we posted a pic of Hillary with a woman who'd mistakenly been identified as Katz, but it wasn't her."
In case you were wondering about the kind of theories these 8chan QAnon "researchers" come up with, here is another one I found yesterday suggesting that Sherwin-Williams is the Illuminati:
Also on Tuesday, prior to Julie Swetnick coming forward, some idiot over on 4chan made a post claiming that his "stripper girlfriend" (you don't know her, she's Canadian) was the one who contacted Michael Avenatti and told him the story about Kavanaugh and Judge being involved in gang rapes in high school.
> Have stripper GF give him a call on her >Burner Phone
>She tells him that she is a 51 Year alumna >of the private Holton-Arms School. And that >Bret Kavanugh and his buddy Mark Judge >ran a train on her. Tells Him that she knows >all the "Secret" codes... Find Them, Feel >Them,French Them, Fuck Them, and Forget >Them" - "Devil's Triangle" is a Three way >fuck... with a cock in all of her orifices ... He >EATS IT THE FUCK UP !
>She has him call my Burner Cell phone - I'm >a Classmate of Judge Kavaugh to Confirm.
>In my Creepiest Deep Throat voice...I >Confirm it ALL
>Can Hear Avanatti wheels spinning..he's >thinking he's broken the story of the year.
>Calls GF 10 times. Wants her to tell her story >on "Anderson Cooper 360" She Cries that >she cannot be around Men.. He then BEGS >her to to do a one on one special with Poppy > Harlow. She would but her car just broke >down and the rent is door she cannot miss >work...Offers her 20K .. cries she cannot >She'll loser her job. 20K isn't enough. Ups it >to 75K and much more after the >"Gofundme" Scam. She'll be a national >HERO
>Claims the Money will be ready to be wired >in 2 hours... right after she signs CNN >Exclusive
>The phone doesn't stop ringing...She tells me >she is bored and scared wants to stop. OK >we've had enough fun with this jack off
> We break our burner phones
>Avanatti disables his Twitter.
Now, most people would read that and go "Oh, that for sure sounds like a troll." But most people are not Erick Erickson, who JUST GODDAMNED WANTS SOMETHING, ANYTHING TO PROVE THAT KAVANAUGH IS INNOCENT.
As Cristina Lopez G. of Media Matters points out, the story was also picked up by several others:
Erickson was not alone in spreading misinformation anonymously posted in a message board known for generating hoaxes. He was joined on Twitter by FoxNews.com commentator Stephen Miller, the widely-followed right-wing Twitter account Instapundit.com, and One America News Network correspondent and "Pizzagate" pusher Jack Posobiec.
Red State also jumped on the bandwagon, speculating in its report that the false narrative could be "one of the greatest events in 2018." And on the September 26 edition of Fox & Friends, host Brian Kilmeade also alluded to the fake narrative concocted by 4chan trolls, falsely claiming Avenatti had admitted to being fooled.
I would say that this is nothing if not deeply fucking sad if it were not also incredibly irresponsible. Taking someone who posts anonymously on 4chan -- a notorious troll site where people frequently make up stupid stories like this -- or taking the "research" of someone who believes in freaking QAnon seriously just because they are telling you something you want to believe is true is a deliberately irresponsible and stupid thing to do. These sites are so full of shit that if someone were to post on there that it was raining outside, I would immediately assume that they were lying and that the skies were clear and the sun was shining wherever they were.
Granted, these are not people that one would consider particularly responsible, but they are people who spend a lot of time whining about the "liberal media." Erickson in particular keeps falling for these hoaxes while he is simultaneously going around being mad about people believing Kavanaugh's accusers:
Democrats would have us believe trauma can cause memory failure and memory unreliability. They would be right. But if a victim of sexual assault can forget the year, the location and the people present, surely she can also forget or confuse the assailant for someone else. To be clear, Ford may have been assaulted. But it is fiction to blame Kavanaugh.
It is fiction, and not just unlikely, because everyone who has known Kavanaugh since before and after the alleged incident attests to it being completely out of his character. It is fiction because young men who would behave that way as a junior or senior in high school never really give up the bad behavior, except through a profound religious transformation. Kavanaugh, though a practicing Catholic, has never had such a profound, life-changing religious transformation. What he does have, though, is a clean record of hiring and working with lots of women. He has never had an allegation of abuse, assault, coercion or harassment against him.
That particular essay has not aged well! Still, I am going to say that if you are the type of person to go around falling for 4chan hoaxes left and right, you really have no business positioning yourself as a skeptic on any subject whatsoever.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse