Monday, October 29, 2018


Much of the right would like you to believe that the anti-Semitism of Robert Bowers, the man charged in this weekend's mass slaughter at a Pittsburgh synagogue, had nothing whatsoever to do with Trumpian conservatism or the Republican Party. Here's a typical headline, from RedState: "Despite Claims Of ‘Right-Winger,’ The Synagogue Shooter Was Anti-Trump."

Bowers did complain that President Trump isn't sufficiently anti-Semitic. But Gab -- Bowers's favorite venue for expressing hate online -- is now responding to the public and vendor pressure to tone down the site's rhetoric by reaching out to President Trump and quoting a Republican campaign slogan.

Here's a tweet in which Gab seeks help from Trump and from the head of Trump's 2020 campaign, Brad Parscale:

And here are some excerpts from a statement issued by Gab CEO Andrew Torba after the shooting:
After Mr. Bowers was named as a suspect in the mass shooting, Gab released a statement saying it “unequivocally disavows and condemns all acts of terrorism and violence.” ...

Mr. Torba insisted in his email that the shooting had not changed his mind about Gab’s core mission of promoting free speech.

“Twitter and other platforms police ‘hate speech’ as long as it isn’t against President Trump, white people, Christians, or minorities who have walked away from the Democratic Party,” he wrote. “This double standard does not exist on Gab.”
(Emphasis added.)

#WalkAway is a Republican effort to persuade voters that a significant exodus from the Democratic Party is currently taking place; it's received attention at Fox News, the New York Post, and other conservative media outlets, which feature fact-challenged headlines such as "How the #WalkAway Campaign Is Drowning the Blue Wave Democrats." If you believe the #WalkAway folks, African-Americans in particular are leaving the Democratic Party in large numbers.

Recently, Kanye West and black conservative Candace Owens have been trying to expand (and modify) the #WalkAway brand:
Kanye West has debuted a line of shirts endorsing a 'Black Exit' from the Democratic Party.

The rapper's latest clothing venture features a selection of aqua, salmon and lilac tees and denim hats with the words 'Blexit' and 'We Free' boldly printed on the front, ranging from $25-$28.

The line was unveiled at the Young Black Leadership Summit in Washington, DC, on Saturday, an event organized by Candace Owens of the conservative advocacy group Turning Point USA.
If Torba is invoking "minorities who have walked away from the Democratic Party," he's retransmitting Republican election-year propaganda, at the same time his site is publishing hate propaganda.

Gab is and always has been a cesspool of hate speech. What Bowers posted at Gab wasn't unusual, as Cristina López G. of Media Matters notes:
Gab was born in reaction to social media platforms that ban hate speech, extremism, and harassment, explicitly meant to provide a haven to those whose extremist content had gotten them banned from other platforms, specifically Twitter....

Prominent white nationalist Christopher Cantwell -- dubbed the “crying Nazi” following his teary reactions to the 2017 Charlottesville, VA, Unite the Right rally -- posted a message for newcomers with an anti-Semitic greeting, compelling them to not “worry about the racism” on the site, while recognizing that “it can be a little weird at first:”

... On April 20, posters openly celebrated Adolf Hitler’s birthday, as evidenced by the site’s popular topics that day....

Neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin openly called for shooting Middle Eastern refugees and blamed Jewish people for waging “a psychological war” to push for the right of refugees to come to the U.S.: “All it would take to stop this is a few bullets.” And that wasn’t the first time Anglin had posted about shooting up Jewish people, but Gab leadership told a journalist asking for a reaction that he hadn’t crossed a line.

Back in August, Gab’s hosting provider, Microsoft Azure, gave the site 48 hours to remove two virulently anti-Semitic posts made by defeated neo-Nazi congressional candidate Patrick Little (who also ran as a Republican in a primary and is verified by Gab on the site). Little was suggesting raising Jewish people “as livestock,” and vowing to attack Holocaust memorials in the U.S. with a sledge hammer. After Azure’s pressure, the site removed the posts in contention, but before the site was taken offline, Little was still on Gab, where he reacted to the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting by urging his followers to blame the victims.
That's what's been happening at a site that reaches out to President Trump and the head of his reelection campaign when challenged, all the while quoting Republican campaign slogans.

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