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Sowing Mayhem, One Click at a Time

Mr. Johnson, a 26-year-old blogger based in California, has worked his way to the white-hot center of the controversy over a Rolling Stone article about rape accusations made by a student at the University of Virginia. His instinct that the report was deeply flawed was correct, but he proceeded to threaten on Twitter to expose the student and then later named her. And he serially printed her photo while going after her in personal and public ways.

In the frenzy to discredit her, he published a Facebook photo of someone he said was the same woman at a rally protesting an earlier rape. Oops. Different person. He did correct himself, but the damage, now to two different women, was done.

Before that, his targets were two reporters for The New York Times who, he said, revealed the address of the police officer in the Ferguson, Mo., shooting. (They didn’t. They published the name of a street he once lived on, which had already been published in The Washington Post and other media outlets.) Before that, he attacked the victim of the shooting, Michael Brown.

Before that, he attacked Senator Cory Booker, saying the lawmaker did not live in Newark when he was the city’s mayor; BuzzFeed wrote that Mr. Johnson not only was wrong, but had worked for a political action committee that opposed Mr. Booker. He also wrote a series of Twitter messages that suggested President Obama was gay. He offered money for photos of Senator Thad Cochran’s wife in her nursing home bed. Before that, well, it doesn’t really matter; you get the pattern.

NYT
12/15/14

Posted December 15, 2014 - 12:25 pm

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