Seth Rich Conspiracy Conspiracies

  • As Charlie Warzel wrote in Buzzfeed, one of the pro-Trump media’s phases of dealing with negative press is to change the news cycle with a distracting story. Seth Rich conspiracy theories have been a staple of the right’s pivot strategy for awhile now. Wheeler’s TV appearances happened as the White House was dealing with a particularly harmful batch of stories on possible Russian collusion.
  • We know that Trump and the GOP communicate regularly with the Frog Squad. There’s nothing wrong with communicating with your base of supporters, in fact it’s generally good politics to do so. But the level of influence is like nothing I’ve ever seen in politics before. The most egregious example of this is the anti-Clinton legislation that a GOP staffer crowdsourced from /r/The_Donald.
  • Seth Rich was trending on Twitter all morning. This has happened before but for once it wasn’t driven by the Frog Squad. In fact as Twitter was working itself into a collective tizzy this morning The_Donald, the biggest gathering place of the Seth Rich Truthers, was oddly silent for over an hour. A few people posted new threads about the story but no defense or counter message ever took off. #MAGA Twitter has been similarly inactive today. The Frog Squad’s interest in Seth Rich comes and goes in waves, and those waves generally coincide with the rest of the media focusing on a story that makes President Trump look bad.
  • Despite the right wing media’s obsession with Seth Rich, the number of genuine Seth Rich Truthers is actually quite small. I attended the DC “vigil” organized by Seth Rich Truthers on the anniversary of his murder and there were less than 30 people at the event’s peak. Bot activity on both The_Donald and Twitter artificially inflate Seth Rich content to make it look like a bigger phenomenon than it actually is.

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Melissa Ryan

Melissa Ryan

Politics + technology. Author of Ctrl Alt Right Delete newsletter. Subscribe here: https://goo.gl/c74Vva. Coffee drinker. Kentucky basketball fan.