In a column posted today by the Independent Journal Review, columnist Benny Johnson made a stunning connection between members of Antifa — anti-fascist activists who often physically confront white supremacists in the streets — and the Democratic Party. The article itself, which was viewed some 30.5 thousand times, is titled “Alleged Boston Antifa Thanks Hillary Clinton, Democrats for Their Support as They Burn American Flag.”
According to Johnson, the Twitter account @AntifaBoston stated “Support we’ve received from Hillary Democrats has been new but great. Let’s keep Nazis at bay together,” and used the hashtags #BostonFreeSpeech and #BostonResist. The account likewise tweeted messages calling the American flag a “garbage rag,” cheering on the assault and harassment of flag-waving protesters, and celebrating the death of free speech.
It would certainly be newsworthy if Hillary Clinton or members of the Democratic Party had shown support for these messages. The trouble is, @AntifaBoston is one of several well-known Antifa parody accounts meant to discredit and troll anti-fascist activists. It was one of these parody accounts that was responsible for the rumor that Antifa members had desecrated military cemeteries on Memorial Day.
The account Johnson cited, @AntifaBoston, is a clear parody account. It follows the Twitter accounts of right-wing provocateur Cassandra Fairbanks, alt-right media group The Red Elephants, and ex-Rebel Media personality Gavin McInnes, as well as explicitly white supremacist accounts like Third Position and WhiteIdentityPolitix.
And it routinely “likes” tweets by other right-wing parody accounts, like Mar-A-Lago Antifa, which includes a racist joke in its bio and asks readers to “HELP ME SPREAD FASH ON GAB.”
In other words, Johnson didn’t reach out to the person(s) operating the @AntifaBoston account to try and confirm that it was genuine, never looked for signs that it could be a fake, and apparently wasn’t aware of the multitude of fake Antifa Twitter accounts, including Vermont Antifa, Laguna Beach Antifa (account suspended), Guam Antifa, Gulfport-FL Antifa, and 405 Antifa.
Johnson’s lazily researched article currently carries the following editor’s note:
After people questioned the legitimacy of the Twitter account, Independent Journal Review reached out for verification of the authenticity of the group. In an automated response, the group said: “Thank you for contacting the official page for the Antifa organization in the Boston area.” We will update this article as needed.
Of course, posing as Antifa activists to discredit them is nothing new for the alt-right. Inflammatory fliers denouncing the “white man” and “their Heeb masters” were attributed to an Antifa organization — National Antifa Front — which doesn’t exist.
In July, an alt-right activist posing as an Antifa member trolled Fox News host Jesse Watters by, among other things, justifying violence against police horses. And right now there’s a fake, coffee-stained Antifa manual circulating on alt-right Twitter with the caption: “Do not distribute to any cis white males non-POC non-LGBTQ peoples a.k.a. fascists.” Very convincing.
As for Benny Johnson, perhaps another demotion will teach him to put a little more effort into his work.