Let me start off by saying that what I just read is not journalism. It’s not blogging. It’s not even credible opinion. It’s nothing more than pure clickbait bullshit and a shining example of what’s wrong with so much of the “information” that’s being put out there on the Internet.
As I was sitting in front of my desk, an article published on Mediaite.com’s homepage caught my eye: Hillary Clinton Supporters Are Plotting To Falsely Accuse Bernie Sanders of Sexual Assault
Even though I knew the article was going to be complete nonsense, I took the bait, curious to see what the author of this piece, Colin Kalmbacher, used to back up this headline:
Apparent Hillary Clinton supporters on Twitter are plotting to falsely accuse Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) of sexual harassment in order to force his resignation.
A tweet sent at 9:14 a.m. on December 7 by Gabrielle Fane reads:
So who’s ready to be an Anonymous caller to say Bernie grabbed my waist during a selfie? All we need is 8 and we can push him out. #AlFranken
Fane’s Twitter handle is @gabyfane and her bio reads: “‘We are the ones we have been waiting for.’ – Barack Obama CA, NYC, NJ, UK, CA, PDX #StillWithHer” Notably, Fane’s bio also contains a donut emoji, which is widely understood among online left-leaning communities to be a symbol for liberals and Democrats opposed to socialists and the so-called Sanders wing of the Democratic Party.
A long-time supporter of liberal Democrats, Fane penned an election-eve Facebook post on November 8, 2016 which was decidedly anti-Trump and apparently pro-Clinton. She wrote, in an introduction to a letter from the principal at her daughter’s school describing racist and anti-Semitic incidents: “A letter from my daughters school. For those who think that their is nothing to worry about with a Trump presidency. This is real and I hate that my child and other children have to deal with this in 2016. #trump #hillary #election2016.” On October 31, 2016, Fane shared a video criticizing Donald Trump‘s record on LGBT issues and praising Clinton’s record.
Let me just start off by saying that I write about progressive politics basically every day, and I’ve never heard that a “donut emoji” represents Democrats who oppose socialists. So I’m not sure how “widely understood” that symbolism is. It might be known to some, sure, but “widely understood” — I don’t think so.
The rest of the article goes on to break down various things Fane has apparently posted online, making sure to point out that they reached out to her for comment but had not heard back.
So, who is Gabrielle Fane?
I have absolutely no idea.
As far as I can tell, she’s just a random person on Twitter with just over 1,200 followers who posted this. If you click on the link for the Facebook post from last year, it got a grand total of 20 “Likes.” Even the screen shot of the link Kalmbacher used of the tweet itself had a total of two likes.
Basically what this article boils down to is one random Clinton supporter said something really stupid on Twitter — and Kalmbacher decided that was enough validation to write an article with a headline that makes it appear that there’s a powerful movement among Clinton supporters to falsely accuse Bernie Sanders of sexual assault.
I’ve read quite a few articles in my day that qualify as pure garbage and this one ranks right up there with one of the worst I’ve ever seen.
Is this what qualifies as “newsworthy?” Some random person with almost no followers on Twitter saying something idiotic?
How this even got published is mind-boggling. At what point does any credible editor see this and say, “Yup, that’s a newsworthy story, let’s post it.”
This article just pissed me off. This is exactly what I mean when I say there’s a huge difference between clickbait being used as marketing to lure in an audience to important, credible information — and completely dishonest clickbait that’s nothing but pure trash meant to create confusion or hostility while driving view counts through the roof.
As the co-founder of Forward Progressives, if someone writing for us posted an article like this, whoever authorized it would no longer be associated with us. That’s how absolutely absurd I feel it is that this article somehow made it online.
This is the type of article both Clinton and Sanders supporters should look at with disgust that someone seemed to be going out of their way to make a story out of nothing, seemingly for no other reason than to get a few cheap “clicks” by trying to divide progressives during a time when we all need to be united in our fight against Donald Trump and the GOP.
Normally I view Mediaite as a decent source from which to get information, and apparently they cross-posted this from something called LawAndCrime.com, but this article was pathetic. They should be ashamed of themselves for posting it on their site.
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