On the internet, it can often be difficult to tell what is fake and what is real. Often, but not always. For instance, it’s pretty easy to tell when a Twitter account supposedly associated with the leftist Antifa movement is actually a troll merely pretending.
Anyway, over the weekend, IJR editor Benny Johnson — who has been suspended at two different jobs for plagiarizing from sites including Yahoo Answers — fell for one of these accounts, @AntifaBoston. Johnson did not make any sort of attempt to verify the account’s legitimacy before publishing his piece, preferring to take the account at its word as “the official page for the Antifa organization in the Boston area.” (It’s clearly not.) Simple context clues reveal it as an exaggerated parody of left-wing sentiment.
As a service, here are some tips to avoid looking like a total goober.
Look at what other handles the account is associated with.
@AntifaBoston is one of a small circle of Antifa accounts, though the others are associated with locations that one wouldn’t expect to have an Antifa presence. That includes one-percenter locations like Beverly Hills Antifa, Newport Antifa (whose header photo is of famed Vanderbilt mansion the Breakers), Wall Street Antifa, Martha’s Vineyard Antifa, Nantucket Antifa, Scarsdale Antifa, the now-suspended account for Harvard Yard Antifa, and last but not least, Mar-a-Lago Antifa. The accounts frequently mention, retweet, and tag each other in photos. Here’s one of the accounts arguing that the solar eclipse is problematic because the moon has an American flag on it.
Click on the account’s associated links.
@AntifaBoston links to its YouTube account, which, in addition to being painfully unfunny, is also a clear giveaway. Here’s a statement it put out yesterday regarding the death of famous comedian Jerry Lewis.
Regardless of whether you think Lewis’s comedy has aged well (and some of it hasn’t), the mere idea of an Antifa group needing to address the matter at all is ridiculous.
Here it is discussing Antifa fidget spinners.
Do a reverse-image search.
Several of the tweets IJR ties to Boston Antifa and the protests in Boston this weekend contain photos from events not in Boston. One features images from a 2015 protest in Denver, the other of a sign burning in Berkeley.
Add all of these and other factors up, and you should be left with a healthy dose of skepticism — unless you’re a child trapped in the body of an adult who slipped on a banana peel, and through a series of unfortunate coincidences, found yourself editing the Independent Journal-Review. Anyway, those are some simple tips to avoid looking like a real idiot. Johnson is beyond saving, but there’s still hope for the rest of you!