What is BuzzFeed’s connection?
As previously distributed, just before July 4, 2015, social posts by one of our team members and one of our branded accounts were taken out of context and used to push a narrative putting Patriotism in direct conflict with Gay Rights. Worse, they used a photo of one of our team members to attempt to squelch his free speech and ours. Each mention of our brand or people in each and every article was completely irrelevant to the story and out of context with regards to the topic. This, to us, is a blatant attempt to first create and then manipulate news.
Three things were important to us as we looked at the evidence. Where did it start, how did it move, and why. Not all of these questions have been answered; however, we are very clear on where it started. When we determined the source was Russian, we were all pretty shocked, if not completely surprised. Imagine how surprised we were when that led us back to BuzzFeed, and a June 27 article on how “A Russian Man Created A Tool To Counter All The Pride Profile Pics On Facebook – BuzzFeed News.”
We are taking several steps, including beginning the process of regulatory and ethics complaints against the ‘journalists’ and the news organizations involved. Some of these writers are listed as editors on the sites to which they contribute, have degrees in journalism from prestigious schools, and know very well that this type of manipulation of news is neither professionally ethical nor moral.
What is frightening about our limited investigation is that a Russian owned news outlet may have swayed major U.S. news outlets, in such a rapid way that the effort seemed coordinated – whether or not it was.
We are certain this was a targeting, at least in part, of Red Nation Rising, because the consistent theme of each article was to include or feature our hashtag – #RedNationRising – even though only 2 tweets out of hundreds included our tag – we looked. Some subsequent posts used our hashtag by name, and every single story or blog featured at least one mention of our brand.
Three blogs, Gizmodo, by Alissa Walker (Gizmodo Editor) as well as Yahoo News and Tumblr articles by Katie Solomon used a screen shot of our radio producer’s Facebook page, without his permission or knowledge. Under his photo was the caption: This radio producer has been promoting the tool online. This is a patently false statement that is easily debunked by a closer look at the image.
The much vilified American Flag Profile Tool at RightWingNews.com was shared by our producer with a friend who specifically asked for it. In addition, our producer did not even use this tool to flag his profile, nor did he or anyone commenting on the post make any mention of a Rainbow flag. He ‘flagged’ his profile on his own, to celebrate the 4th of July. His Skype avatar has been “American Flagged” for over a month. The leap to associate our brand and people with what these writers identify as ‘homophobia’ could have cleared the Grand Canyon. Did they did this to scrape up enough evidence for a narrative they’d already created no later than June 27, via BuzzFeed?
Like other effective conservative organizations of the past, the left is attempting to create, contort and manipulate news in an effort to condemn our team through the media, without cause, and to discredit our organization as well as every American that loves and reveres the Stars and Stripes. We will not stand silent and allow this to happen.
Regardless of the reasons for the targeting of our brand, our team, and proud Americans everywhere, and despite the methods used to manipulate the news we will continue to demand answers and action from these major U.S and U.K. media outlets.
Through the last few elections, we have watched conservative group after group be vilified and shamed into silence or marginalized out of existence. Red Nation Rising will not be silent, and RNR Producer Jared Day has vowed to not let this go.
In addition to the complaints regarding journalistic ethics, we are submitting questions to each media company:
- Please help us understand how your blog circles work, and how the false narrative was propagated by these closely knit bloggers, how a Russian owned news outlet was involved, and how blogs were posted narrative within minutes of the embedded Twitter post cited, endorsing an avatar profile flag overlay tool.
- Why and how did each blogger, systematically, tied through headlines and other connections, create the same narrative for both Russians and Americans on Facebook..
- We understand how you have no control over the hashtags chosen in the one valid – to be determined – tweet with the meme making tool you were reporting, however, how and why did our brand become a consistent theme in each story. Our branded hashtag was used in 2 of the hundreds of tweets and Instagram messages about this topic.
- Most of all – since around 65% percent of American’s agree with Same Sex Couples’ right to marry one another, including myself and our producer, why are they attempting to create an issue of this? Most of us wish we could get 65% of people to agree with us on anything. Does 100% of American have to agree in order to validate their lifestyle. That is what is silly – not an American Flag profile tool.
We urge the involved media outlets to come forward with this information willingly, without further action on our part. These outlets currently include: Time Warner/AOL, ABC News/Yahoo News, International Business Times, BuzzFeed and the UK Independent.
As of the time of this release, we continue to find blogs and articles tied to major U.S broadcast news outlets that keep propagating this false narrative, regardless of being notified of the false information and unacceptable presentation of a private citizen’s personal information without their knowledge or consent. The Russian article, however, has been removed from the Russian owned UK Independent.
ABOUT RED NATION RISING
Red Nation Rising is an organic community of social media activists, working to restore the American republic and the American dream. We are currently an unfunded organization powered by the passion of our volunteers. Our hashtag conversations generate hundreds of millions of impressions a week on Twitter, consistently increasing for nearly 2 years. You can find us at red-nation-rising.com or @RedNationRising. We inspire free speech on our hashtag, as part of our mission, at #RedNationRising.
The Independent @Independent – Russian Owner
Christopher Hooton @ChristophHooton
TIME @TIME – AOL/TIME Warner
Joanna Plucinska @joannaplucinska
International Business Times @IBTimes – Mirror (Newsweek)
Sarah Berger @sarahberger0408
Gizmodo @Gizmodo – Yahoo / ABC
Alissa Walker @awalkerinLA
Towleroad @tlrd – independent
Yahoo News @YahooNews – ABC
Kate Solomon @katiesol
HuffPostGay and Huffington Post – AOL/ Time Warner
Cavan Sieczkowski @cavanshays
Pink News @pinknews – TIME INC.
Nick M Duffy @NickMDuffy
Patheos – Independent or unknown
Camille Beredjick @cberedjick (also a Time reporter)
SDGLN – Independent
Timothy Noel Rawles @reporter66
Makers – AOL
By MAKERS Team