This writer exposed collusion between Antifa and the media and was mobbed for it
When Eoin Lenihan published “It’s Not Your Imagination: The Journalists Writing About Antifa Are Often Their Cheerleaders” in Quillette, he had no expectation that he would be banned from Twitter. There was no way he could know that the journalists he identified as probably pro-Antifa would reach out to his other outlets, and ask them to pull Lenihan’s work as well. As of this writing, Lenihan’s account is suspended on Twitter, and his video at Al Jazeera News on a completely unrelated topic has been pulled down and is pending review.
Writing for Quillette, an open-minded publication interested in big, controversial ideas, can be a danger, as I know full well. But Twitter’s trigger happy bans and suspensions are indicative of a larger problem than simply the risks that are always present in speaking one’s mind. Twitter has no idea what it’s doing, and social media at large, which has replaced and in many ways and created so much of the arena for public discourse, is desperate to reign that public in.
In 2018, before a hearing with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as reported by David Marcus at The Federalist, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey revealed that “his company’s policies had in fact resulted in bias against conservatives.” While at the time Dorsey claimed that this was unintentional— “the result of a faulty algorithm no longer in place”—the truth is that over a year and a half since that hearing, the company has continued to not have any clear, discernible standard as to what should be banned and why.
In Lenihan’s case, the rationale for banning is rather convoluted. Bear with me: he used to have a parody account, @progdadtv, much like Titania McGrath’s, and lauded by Joe Rogan, that skewered progressive leftist politics by way of posing as, well, an ultra progressive dad. This account was banned in August 2018 when he said something untoward about one of his detractors, a white supremacist called Jason Jones, aka @lucidhurricanex (now suspended himself), who then reported the account, because Twitter cares about white supremacists’ feelings, too.
After Lenihan posted a thread revealing his exploration of potential overlaps between leftist journalists who cover Antifa and Antifa activists themselves, his account was targeted by Antifa activists, such as @antifashgordon. The revelation, presumably, that Lenihan’s current handle had remained active while his former @progdadtv handle had been silenced was the reason that @eoinlenihan was suspended.
The latter handle, however, was the first one created, which means that, because it wasn’t created as a work around to the previous ban, Lenihan should have a shot at an account reinstatement. To recap: poking white supremacists will get a parody account banned, and pointing out what may be collusion between journalists and the subjects they cover can also get you banned.
We reached out the Lenihan for his thoughts on the ban, and what he was really after in exposing the connection between journalists and Antifa.
TPM: What was your impulse to start research into this story?
EL: I have been involved in researching online extremism since 2016. I am interested in both the far left and the far right but I decided to study Antifa after I did a round table talk on extremism with several of Germany’s leading extremism experts in October of 2018. At that conference, several individuals bemoaned the lack of evidence on far left extremism and so I thought I would look into it. This work on journalists was completely accidental. Our work was to create a classification of Antifa accounts on Twitter much like other extremism experts have done for ISIS and the far right. What we never expected was to see so many Twitter verified journalists appear in our subset of the most connected Antifa accounts on Twitter. It singled them out for manual inspection.
TPM: It seems your point was mostly about journalistic integrity. Do you feel like that’s an issue across the board?
EL: That assumption is correct. I think in the post-Brexit and post-Trump era, public faith in the media is at an all time low. Too many news outlets left and right have become hyper-partisan and are contributing to the increased polarisation of people in the US and in Europe. This is dangerous. I would be horrified to find out that certain journalists and publications were leveraging contacts in the far right to spread their ideals and narratives to an unsuspecting public. The same is true of our findings. It is now clear that certain journalists and prominent publications have working relationships with Antifa to promote their ideals and downplay their illegal activities. That is dangerous.
TPM: There’s been a huge push, by the progressive left, for people who have a platform to be more activist, to infuse their activism into every aspect of their work. Comics, artists, writers, have all taken up the charge, and party lines are being toed all over the place. Is the problem here that you feel that journalists have not been transparent in their views?
EL: This is a very interesting question. The journalist—Elizabeth King—who was banned for abusing me, who is close with Jason Wilson of “The Guardian” and who appeared on anarchist podcast “It’s Going Down News” with the SPLC’s Michael Hayden recently wrote a piece on exactly this: how journalists should cover the far right from an activist perspective.
It is an Antifa guide to reporting riddled with Antifa talking points and ideology. For example, when covering the far right, King makes little difference between the police and white supremacists and encourages journalists to seek out local Antifa individuals who have antagonistic relationships with the police for comment on any reporting involving the police.
King writes that “journalists covering the far right will inevitably run into the relationship between the police and the far right. The two are not necessarily distinct entities, but journalists often treat the police as neutral toward or even hostile to fascist groups, when the reality is often quite the opposite…When quoting police, it’s essential to reach out to those who have a contentious relationship with them, as opposed to taking the police for their word. Examples of who to reach out to include: local antifascist organizations, anti-fascist and anti-racist protesters at rallies, local community organizations who focus on racial, immigrant, gender, and sexuality justice.“
Our research, including our analysis of the bodies of work of those verified journalists who showed up in our highly connected subset seems to indicate that this practice—activist journalism—is already deeply rooted. It seems King is just formalizing it in print.
Why is Twitter taking its cues from journalists who Lenihan has shown to be connected to violent Antifa activists, and how could they not see past the rouse of the attacks against Lenihan being purported to be for violating his previous suspension? Twitter’s rules are so vague and unwieldy, precisely because it is an area where every single misstep runs the risk of being a free speech violation or direct misapplication, that those who apply them are unable to suss out when they are being played by complainers seeking only to silence their detractors.
Liberal Transport Minister Marc Garneau is “very concerned” by the anti-pipeline protestors who have blocked the tracks between Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal, according to CBC News.
These protests have crippled Canada’s infrastructure, particularly due to the fact that the protestors are blocking one of the busiest intersections of the countries transport network.
The protestors have blocked the tracks in Bellville, Ontario, which serves as the epicentre for all routes between Canada’s two largest cities and the capital of the nation. All passenger trains and freight trains have been blocked.
CN has chosen to shut down all train travel until the dispute is resolved, despite the fact that the train company received an injunction to remove the protestors from the tracks.
These protests have effectively shut down all passenger travel between these cities, and are having a significant impact on the transport of food and commercial goods. The effect on the economy if this blockade continues will be severe.
These protests have been ongoing since Thursday when demonstrators began to gather at the tracks. Since then, the protests have only gained more traction and attracted more demonstrators to the scene.
The demonstrators say that they are standing in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en chiefs. However, the northern B.C.First Nation officially supports the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
So far, Via Rail has had to cancel 157 trips in the Toronto-to-Montreal corridor: 24,500 passengers have been affected.
Most Ontarians are not for the government raising teachers’ salaries by 2 percent according to a poll formulated by The Star. Most people, however, do agree with the education unions on things like the number of students in a classroom and e-learning.
The opt-in poll was made by Campaign Research and included 1,536 people. It ran from Feb 6 to 9.
Nick Kouvalis, the principal strategist at Campaign Research said that most people “do not want to give the teachers a more than 1 percent raise,” and added, “but teachers should be encouraged that the public is still with them during these rotating strikes.”
The poll shows that 45 percent of people disagree with the teachers’ request of a 2 percent salary increase—opposing the 1 percent cap set in place by the government. Only 35 percent of people agree with teachers while 13 percent do not support either side and 8 percent are unsure.
Just 12 percent of people believe that teachers should not receive any pay increase while 32 percent support a 1 percent increase. Another 9 percent of the public believe that the teachers should receive an increase of more than 2 percent.
The public does not disagree with teachers on all issues though. While the government wants 2 of the 30 classes required by high school students to be taken online, teachers believe that the 30 classes should all be taken in the school classroom. The poll shows that 52 percent of the public agree with teachers on this issue while 28 percent disagree.
The public also agrees with teachers that the number of students per classroom should not be raised. The government wants to raise the amount of students per class to raise from 22.5 to 25. The poll finds that 52 percent of the public also agrees with teachers on this subject while 36 percent agree with Ontario’s government.
A cruise ship that has been stuck at sea after there were passengers discovered to have coronavirus is getting a little help from an adult website to entertain them while they’re quarantined: some skin flicks.
Approximately 7,300 passengers aboard the Diamond Princess and World Dream cruise have been stranded and docked Hong Kong and Japan as a direct result of the coronavirus epidemic.
251 Canadians are docked in Japan after it was announced on Sunday, that six more people tested positive for the virus. The cruise ship now has a total of 70 cases onboard with the remaining passengers stuck on board and quarantined with little to do for entertainment.
CamSoda, a Miami-based pornography company has offered quarantined passengers full complimentary access to their webcam services according to Fox Business reports.
Daryn Parker is CamSoda’s vice president and he elaborated on the decision in a statement to the press, “They are not only dealing with the fear of infection, which is terrifying, but boredom,” stated the release. “We like cruises just as much as the next guy, but without activities or human interaction, the boredom must be crippling.”
“In an effort to keep their minds off of the coronavirus and to help with the boredom, we’re offering passengers and crews the ability to have fun in a safe and controlled environment with camming.”
“Camming” is a more interactive approach to traditional pornography whereby individuals can perform in front of their webcam at home or in a studio for a live audience and the viewers pay for the experience through tips and site tokens. There is also the ability to chat in real-time with the sex worker.
CamSoda is asking that passengers and crew aboard the cruise to send them proof of travel documents via email to [email protected] according to the New York Post. CamSoda will then respond by sending the individual 1,000 free tokens which can be used to pay for the webcam live-stream performers.
Many towns and schools have been forced to evacuate after New South Wales sees heavy rainfall throughout the region. The rain has put out some of the wildfires that have been burning for months according to CTV News.
According to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, over 200 millimetres of rain came down on the region in just one day. Sydney saw more rainfall than the city has seen since 1990 at 391.6 millimetres over four days.
On Monday, the New South Wales Department of Education closed many schools due to flooding in the area.
Since Friday, more than 30 fires were put out by the heavy rainfall according to the New South Wales Fire Service. The Fire Service released a Tweet saying that the rain was the “most positive news we’ve had in some time.”
James Morris of the Fire Service noted that the Currowan fire was put out by the heavy rain on Saturday. That was a giant fire that had covered about 500,000 hectares in 74 days.
Morris also noted that the persisting fires will most likely be extinguished by the continuous rain.