Written By: - Date published: 11:29 am, November 4th, 2018 - 13 comments
Categories: Donald Trump, International, internet, journalism, making shit up, Media, social media lolz, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, twitter, us politics, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

It might be my hyper sensitivity but it seems to me that online attempts to smear people who challenge the right is increasing, both here and in the United States.

The latest example involves the sterling efforts of Jacob Wohl.  Dumbing it right down, which seems appropriate, he did the following:

  1. Set up a bogus website under the name of Surefire Intelligence.
  2. Used his email address as a contact point for the URL.
  3. Used his mum’s cellphone as a contact point for the URL (how sweet).
  4. Headshots of Surefire’s purported employees actually belonged to celebrities including Israeli model Bar Refaeli and Austrian actor Christoph Waltz.  The managing partner, Matthew Cohen, looked awfully like Wohl himself.
  5. Surefire then attempted to bribe a woman to falsely accuse Robert Mueller of sexual misconduct.
  6. Wohl tried to shop around the media a story that Mueller had engaged in sexual misconduct that was posted by the bogus website.
  7. The date of the alleged incident Mueller was in a different city.  With an FBI detail in tow.
  8. Surefire ran the story.
  9. Wohl posted the story on another website he writes for.
  10. He eventually admitted that he was behind the website and had lied earlier because his investigation was “still in flux”.  Flux me.

Thankfully his attempt was that inept the Internet rumbled him early on.  Twitter had a field day and created the hashtag #morongate.  To get a full sense of the absurdity of what happened I recommend that you have a read of associated tweets.

And we all had a good laugh.

The problem is though that this sort of stuff happens all the time.

But the operatives tend to be not so stupid.

Tina Nguyen at Vanity Fair has this perceptive description of what happened and what normally happens.

The Wohl affair, apart from being a diverting spectacle, illuminates several truisms about the far-right media landscape, the opportunists that populate it, and the ways in which MAGA fever dreams take on a life of their own. “The more I read about this Mueller Rape Case business, the more convinced I am that this is a Democrat dirty trick to pull a ‘reverse Kavanaugh,’ trying to impugn Republicans for ‘paying women to make up false rape claims against Mueller,’” theorized pro-Trump radio host Bill Mitchell on Tuesday night. “Just more BS from team DNC.” Forums trafficking in QAnon conspiracy theories were similarly convinced that Wohl was a Deep State mole. Wohl himself doubled down, denied having anything to do with Surefire, and defiantly tweeted a photo of himself smoking a tiny cigar. By Wednesday, he was claiming to be the victim of some sort of mainstream-media cabal, and suggested that Mueller’s office was planting false flags to discredit his work. (He also re-tweeted a Burkman statement calling the “Lorraine” story “a hoax designed to distract the nation from my press conference on Thursday, which is where all eyes need to be.”)

And so we get all these stories spreading below the MSM surface but they tend to not be as spectacularly bad as this particular incident.  And there are local versions.  Like the allegation that Clarke Gayford was being investigated for  offences which circulated earlier this year.

The allegations caused the police to release this statement:

While in general we do not respond to enquiries which seek to confirm if individuals are under police investigation, on this occasion we can say that Mr Gayford is not and has not been the subject of any police inquiry, nor has he been charged in relation to any matter.”

And the nature of the attacks was described in this passage:

Media commentator and Public Address blogger Russell Brown said the comments appeared to be driven by a “troll pack” of users who were pushing the false rumour on the social media platform.

Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager said when contacted that there were people who used social media to leverage gossip and rumour to gain political advantage.

“They are trying to gain partisan advantage through damaging the Prime Minister by a campaign of innuendo.”

Hager said the aim was to steer the public’s political focus away from policy to personal issues which didn’t even need to be true.

“They are trying to find personal or moral things — true or untrue — to smear and marginalise the political figures. It’s never playing with a straight bat, never considering issues.

The only think that is predictable is that the attacks will occur again.

It is a shame really.

Politics should be a debate about the future, about policies, about how we want things to be.

It should not be a battle of who can tell the most outrageous lie.  And get away with it.

13 comments on “Morongate”

  1. Sabine 1

    with a little help from Fox and Daddy

    you forgot to mention the open fly

    soon america will be great again. anytime soon now

  2. One caught, ten not caught.

    They do it cos it works.

    Smearing seems a go to technique here there and everywhere.

    Hard to combat especially when tacitly supported by authority.

  3. Aaron 3

    And calling it Morongate will just reinforce the sense of injustice that Trump supporters have burning inside them and guarantee that they can’t see reason where this issue is concerned.

    That’s the one aspect of this thing that we can guarantee is true – that the sneering intellectuals of the left (which is most of us frankly) have once again triggered the chip on the shoulder effect of Trumps supporters by calling this Morongate.

    If we’re so smart why do we keep doing this? Answer: Because, just like Trumps’s supporters we’re voting and acting from an emotional base. We’re so keen to think we’re smarter than the other side we can’t see how much our own flaws are a part of this picture

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      As many of them seem to repeat this BS without any thought or research into it them calling them morons seems appropriate.

      As the saying goes: Truth hurts.

    • mickysavage 3.2

      If this particular incident does not persuade people that there is a major problem nothing ever will.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    It should not be a battle of who can tell the most outrageous lie. And get away with it.

    As I’ve said before – lying in public/publications and the spreading of lies needs to be illegal.

    The only way to stop these scum is to put them in prison and fine them into bankruptcy.

    • Siobhan 4.1

      And who do you really think will be the main target of those sorts of laws?

      Fraud, robbery, tax avoidance, all illegal; political manipulation and bull rot, illegal when done by Russians..but its the small time regular folk who get busted, while the Corporations, banks, World leaders, politicians, think tanks etc walk away laughing.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        And what happens if we don’t do anything about it?
        Do we just complaining about the lies and misinformation while those doing the lying continue to manipulate the populace anyway they like?

        Yes, it’s hard but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.

  5. Visubversa 5

    The Dirty Politics crowd also had some really vicious and nasty lies going around about Helen Clark and her husband. Bits of them still surface among the moron crowd – even today.

  6. NickS 6

    Bonus fact: Jacob Wohl has been completely and utterly banned from financial futures trading due to all the fraud charges he’s amassed. And all the major financial banks have issued warnings to the relevant staff on him as well.

  7. gsays 7

    A comment on slurs.
    A day on the couch, sick off work.
    After reading comments below a review of Bohemian Rhapsody, Bryan Singer’s name came up in the comments and a film called An Open Secret.

    After a few attempts I have managed to watch it, a sad, grim doco on paedophiles in Hollywood.

    Anyhow many of the Google responses were a link to Alex Jones Info Wars. I watched a few minutes of this bombastic man, very passionate about this issue.

    Info Wars is almost universally despised round these parts.
    Usually for good reason.
    Does that mean they/he can never be right.

    It occurs to me to slur someone is often an easy way to not have to engage and as Marty says above its here there and everywhere.

    • McFlock 7.1

      If “engagement” is futile or impossible, slurs can be a handy shorthand.

      Alex Jones is a self-described performance artist. Any relationship with the truth is propbably an accident.

      edit: also, this essay came up in my twitter feed today. Why “engaging” with fascists is a bad idea. It separates them from the inevitable brutality of their policies.

  8. the other pat 8

    well i’ll be fluxed….unbelievable

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