Liberal Websites Ultimately Help Racists by Pathetically Running with Bogus KKK Story

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 8.44.10 AMOn Monday, when I saw the liberal media exploding with the news that several Republicans politicians had been “outed by Anonymous as members of the KKK,” the first thing I did was go fact-finding.


What did I find literally within 30 seconds of researching whether or not this story was true? That it wasn’t. In fact – at best – the information many of these websites were using to write their ridiculously sensationalized clickbait headlines was extremely questionable and not at all credible enough to actually ethically claim that these particular individuals were members of a white supremacist hate group.

But that didn’t stop these people from seizing on this bogus story, running with it without any regard concerning the facts or what reporting this misinformation might do to these people.

Here are a few of the headlines I came across:

PoliticusUSAAnonymous Outs 4 Republican Senators As Associated With The KKK And Hate Groups

This one actually surprised me a bit. PoliticusUSA is a site I respect and recommend to people if they ask me my opinion (though I do poke fun at some of their ridiculously over-the-top headlines from time to time), so it was disappointing to see their story show up as one of the first links I came across.

U.S. Uncut: Prominent US Senators and Mayors Outed as Members of the KKK by Anonymous

Americans Against the Tea Party: BREAKING: Activist Group Anonymous Has Begun Releasing Names of KKK Members, Including 4 U.S. Senators! 

(Sidenote on the AATTP story: At the bottom of the article the site actually added a disclaimer admitting that Anonymous had nothing to do with this supposed lead, yet instead of actually pulling the article completely or writing a retraction, they kept the headline exactly how it originally was written. Nothing like putting a disclaimer at the bottom of an article admitting that the article is, in fact, garbage… while continuing to keep that article published on your website.)

Occupy Democrats ran with the story (a site that’s becoming synonymous with pushing misinformation for the sake revenue-generating “clickbait”) as well, along with posting several memes on their Facebook page. They have since updated the article, omitting the names of the politicians, while adding a disclaimer that their original story was based on information that was neither credible or verified. They also pulled the memes from their page. While I commend them for at least pulling the false information from their site, the damage had already been done. The memes they had posted to their Facebook account had already been shared tens of thousands of times, along with who knows how many article views which amounted to revenue earned from falsifying a story.

Daily KosSeveral Republican Senators Outed as Members of the KKK by Anonymous

However, if you click on that link you’ll get an error message as they pulled the article completely.


International Business Times: Anonymous KKK List Names US Senators, Mayors: Alleged Ku Klux Klan Members Include John Cornyn of Texas

There were several others as well, but I think you get the point.

For the record, here’s the “official” response from the Twitter account for Anonymous Operation KKK group.

While I’m sure all of the sites that ran with this nonsense made a lot of money from these articles, all they really did was help racists by giving anyone whose name might appear on the actual list Anonymous releases instant deniability based on the misinformation that was heavily pushed on Monday.

Not only that, but according to a report from Gizmodo, apparently it’s not very difficult for anyone to sign someone else up as a member of the KKK. All it takes is for someone to have your name, email address and put forth a little effort and they can link at least some of your information to a chapter of the KKK.

So, unless Anonymous releases some rather direct and indisputable evidence specifically linking the names on their list to being active members of the infamous hate group, I would urge extreme caution on jumping to any sort of conclusions about any of this.

But this “story” showcases a huge problem with the so-called “independent” media about which I frequently warn people. While it’s easy to bash the mainstream media (and rightfully so), the “independent media” is often not a whole lot better. While networks like CNN, Fox News and MSNBC are far from perfect, there are rules to which they must adhere. Even as biased as Fox News and MSNBC can be at times, they are forced to face repercussions if they cross certain lines.

However, the “independent media” isn’t usually held to even those bare minimum standards. For many of these websites, it’s about clickbait, website traffic and revenue. Often there’s very little, if any, vetting process for many of the stories they publish. Not only that, but a lot of these sites have clear agendas of their own, completely removed from journalistic integrity or objectivity.

The worst part of all of this is when left-leaning or liberal websites play loose with the facts like this, they’re behaving just like the right-wing media that they often claim is so devoid of reality. As someone who prides myself on believing that progressives stand above most conservatives because, if nothing else, we believe in facts – it absolutely pisses me off when I see nonsense like this. When these sites behave in this manner, all they do is give people like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and the rest of the conservative media legitimate examples to use against liberals in trying to make us look dishonest and untrustworthy.

We’re supposed to be better than this. At the end of the day, as a progressive activist, I want to be able to hold my head up high that, win or lose, we did so ethically, with integrity and based on facts – not misleading propaganda or outright lies. I would hope that these sites who ran with this bogus story, potentially slandering innocent people, would do the right thing and own up to their mistake. Based on my experience in this business, most won’t.

Hit me up on Twitter or Facebook and let me know what you think (and if you’ve seen any of these sites issue an actual retraction and apology for their bogus stories or memes, I’d love to know about it).



Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

Comments

Facebook comments

  • dan690

    Half truths and outright lies are the mainstay of the liberal media.

    • Denise Parker

      That is a halftruth at best, but most likely an outright lie. Most liberals are well educated. Doesn’t make us all honest, but most of us are smart enough to know we are better served by facts. Mistakes still get made.

      • dan690

        Not the case in reality on any of your points.

      • Jonas Planck

        Reality is not defined by your belief systems.

      • dan690

        It’s obviously not defined by yours. Your beliefs don’t seem to have any reality in them. You are definitely a blind liberal.

      • Jonas Planck

        Where are you getting the idea that I believe things? I have ideas, not beliefs. Trust is dangerous in this day and age. You assume a lot, and place too much trust in those assumptions.

    • BahlSanchin

      Spoken like a righwing nutjob who thinks CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN are “Liberal” despite the fact that they are all own by huge multinational corporations. Go back to InfoWars, RedState, WorldNutDaily, The Blaze, Fox “news” or where ever you choose to get your daily spoon feeding of hatred, fear and xenophobia.

      • dan690

        Drink that kool-aid nutboy.

      • BahlSanchin

        Wow, what a clever and totally original retort. You must be the wittiest guy in your trailer park.

      • dan690

        Much wittier than anyone in your mothers basement.

    • Creeayshun Sighuntist

      you should probably up your meds. Your family is worried about you.

      • dan690

        You should perhaps up your education. You are obviously blinded by stupidity.

      • Creeayshun Sighuntist

        sure bud

    • Creeayshun Sighuntist

      You do realize don’t you that Fox “news” and Fox “Business” tells a combined 80% of half truths, mostly false, false, outright LIES every single day, right? Do the math….you are only getting the outright “truth” at Fox 20% of the time! 20%. The rest of the time you are being manipulated and outright lied to, strictly to keep you afraid and angry.

      Good luck with that.

      • dan690

        Well, you are obviously wrong. The truth to a liberal is what they want to hear and don’t matter about facts. Plus, you media statistics are reversed. Liberals cannot tell the truth or it would work against their agenda.

      • Creeayshun Sighuntist

        I’m not making this up. People track the right wing propaganda / lie machine. FACT: the more you ingest Fox, the dumber you become. (and you didn’t start out very smart in the first place, so you should really limit your intake)

        http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/tv/fox/

      • dan690

        You might want to check your sources. One without an agenda.

      • Creeayshun Sighuntist

        Facts always have a liberal bias

      • dan690

        Liberal and facts cannot be used in the same sentence.

      • Jonas Planck

        You just did that.

      • dan690

        I see your lack of understanding now.

      • Jonas Planck

        I see that you suck at logic, which is kind of ironic considering that you’re nothing but a logic algorithm.

      • dan690

        Looks like your drug abuse has killed most of your brain cells, assuming you ever had any.

      • Jonas Planck

        Nice, you’ve almost repeated everything that you’ve been programmed to repeat… Now I just need you say “mother’s basement” and “Al Sharpton” and then I get a free sandwich!

      • dan690

        I bet you do live in Al Sharptons mothers basement and that would help explain your lunacy.

      • Jonas Planck

        BINGO!!!

    • Jonas Planck

      Reflexive validation of prejudice is the mainstay of self-imposed slavery to dogma.

      You might want to get that looked at, before it gets you fleeced.

      • dan690

        If this was an isolated incident you might have a point, but it is the norm so maybe a little psychological evaluation may be in order for yourself. You are another self blinded liberal.

      • Jonas Planck

        Are you talking about yourself, or the liberal media? Oh, no, you’re talking about ME! You’re saying that NOT reflexively believing things is a sign of insanity? That’s the opposite of what you just said before that.
        Damn, you got a NASTY case of it, don’t you?

        If I’m crazy for agreeing with you, then what does that make YOU?

  • Jonas Planck

    Pre-emptive damage control. False-flagging the dox BEFORE the dox are dropped. That’s some nasty tactics right there. Not unlike the bait they used to backstab Dan Rather… It’s obvious that there must be some powerful, famous names on that list, otherwise, nobody would have gone to the trouble of concocting such an elaborate psy-op to head it off at the pass.

    Some of those who command forces really ARE the same who burn crosses. But they wear those hoods for a REASON, don’t they?

  • Alethinos95

    WHY NOT THIS…. Let’s RID our society of IDEOLOGIES. Instead we adopt a Platonic solution! We each investigate the TRUTH of the reality we as a community face, and we CONSULT with other members of that community, realizing that, in the end, WE ALL benefit if we all work together!

    Of course Socrates spent much of the early and mid-dialogues showing Athenians that behaving in a SELF-CENTERED, SELFISH “screw you I got MINE” manner would only bring about their own personal destruction and the destruction of the entire society… You can’t have that level of maturity IF the citizenry essentially believes even a splinter of an Ayn Rand Ideology (probably best summed up today as Libertarianism on the personal side and Corporate Fascism on the other).

    It’s been 2500 years since that physically ugly, spiritually beautiful old soul told us all this. I’d like to think we have actually advanced – as human beings – where we can really give Plato’s vision a chance…

    Because Partisan Politics is wrecking us.

  • Victor Amoroso

    “As someone who prides myself on believing that progressives stand above most conservatives because, if nothing else, we believe in facts” – I couldn’t read this with a straight face, I can’t image it could be written with a straight face.