David Hogg | Media Matters for America

David Hogg

Tags ››› David Hogg
  • A day before Parkland survivor David Hogg got "swatted," trolls shared his address on 4chan and 8chan

    As a “graduation present” for Hogg, trolls on 4chan and 8chan shared his contact information and called for targeted harassment

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    As a "graduation present" for Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg, trolls on 4chan and 8chan shared his contact information -- including his home address and multiple phone numbers connected to his family -- and called for his harassment. A day later, a prank call claiming there was a hostage situation in his house led to an armed police team being deployed there. The practice, known as “swatting,” is a harassment tool online trolls use to attack their victims, and it has proved fatal on at least one occasion.

    The now-archived 4chan thread is a response to Hogg teasing the announcement of the activism “Road to Change” bus tour, a gun violence prevention tour he and some of his fellow Parkland shooting survivors just kicked off. In a June 3 post, a troll references Hogg having a “surprise for us” adding a link to the announcement of the bus tour, and posts contact information that includes home address and phone numbers linked to the Hogg family, saying it’s a “graduation present.”

    After the post and subsequent replies were apparently deleted from 4chan, trolls took to 8chan (a message board launched in response to perceived censorship on 4chan that has since became more anarchic) to continue the “doxxing,” or the publication of a victim’s contact information with malicious intent. In the 8chan thread, trolls complained that 4chan (which they refer to as “cuckchan”) had deleted the original post, plotted to send “large usps boxes” to the Hoggs’ home address, and schemed about “looking into” a patent under Hogg’s father’s name. After the news broke that Hogg had been swatted, at least one troll on the thread also complained that “unfortunately he survived.”

    The doxxing and subsequent targeted harassment of Hogg follow months of right-wing media attacking and floating absurd conspiracy theories about him in reaction to his gun violence prevention activism. Online, trolls are mirroring the attacks that right-wing media figures and the gun lobby are waging on Parkland shooting survivors, or vice versa.

    And in taking to message boards like 4chan and 8chan to plot hits on their victims, they’re continuing what is becoming a terrifying pattern: During the 2016 presidential campaign, 8chan launched a harassment campaign against journalist David Cay Johnston after he published an excerpt from President Donald Trump’s 2005 tax documents. After a judge upheld existing regulations to assault weapons, trolls shared his contact information on 8chan in clear efforts to target him for harassment. After he profiled an anti-Muslim Twitter crusader, a HuffPost reporter got doxxed on 4chan, followed by numerous colleagues. In 2014, 4chan trolls organized “Operation Lollipop,” an effort to infiltrate feminist Twitter and sow dissent. These message boards have proven to be ideal hubs for far-right trolls to organize harassment campaigns aimed at silencing, threatening, and hurting those they oppose politically, with little to no consequences.

    Media Matters confirmed the veracity of the address and has edited the images from the message boards to blur all sensitive information.

  • Are tech companies finally taking online hoaxes seriously? Here’s what’s changed since Parkland

    Blog ››› ››› MELISSA RYAN

    Last week’s school shooting in Santa Fe, TX -- the 22nd this year -- reinforced that school shootings in America have become routine and, as a few people pointed out on Twitter, so has the reaction to each incident. You already know what politicians on both sides of the aisle will say, how media will report it, and what narratives will unfold on social media in the days after. It’s a depressing, demoralizing, and all too familiar fact of life in this country.

    Hoaxes and misinformation that spread after a shooting have also become part of the routine.Media Matters collected numerous hoaxes about the Santa Fe shooting just on the day it happened, as did other outlets. It seems reporting on hoaxes is part of the mass shooting beat now. These hoaxes tend to follow the same patterns, the most common being that the shooting is a false flag and that the student survivors are paid crisis actors. They are amplified on social media starting in online forums like 4chan and Gab, spread on mainstream social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and in some cases reported by some radio stations as fact.

    Tech companies have come under increasing criticism for their role in this cycle. They’ve continually failed to protect victims, survivors, and their families from hoaxes and misinformation despite the predictability of it all. The constant attacks on the Parkland student survivors, most of whom are still minors, shed new light on this problem. As the students faced attacks from online trolls and far-right media figures, they fought fire with fire, using the same social media platforms to amplify their own message and calling out the disinformation attacks against them along the way. Thanks to the Parkland survivors, Americans saw just how ugly attacks like this are and how they dehumanize minors. Social media companies were heavily criticized for their role in spreading the hoaxes and they belatedly took concrete steps to protect the Parkland survivors.

    As Media Matters researchers compiled the Santa Fe hoaxes, we noticed a different trend: The hoaxes weren’t spreading as quickly on the big social platforms. 4chan and Gab were still churning them out at the usual frequency, but they were largely limited there. Facebook’s trending topics listed the shooting, but pointed to only mainstream news sources, and Facebook swiftly took down fake profiles of the alleged shooter after trolls created them. Twitter searches of the terms “false flag” and “crisis actor” did not yield results of conspiracy theories, and mostly showed users complaining that people on the far-right were already calling a student survivor a crisis actor. It seems likely that tech companies continued their strategy from the Parkland shooting of suspending accounts that spread hoaxes. Google News and YouTube also kept conspiracy content largely off their front pages. Even on Reddit forum r/The_Donald, usually a hub of conspiracy theories, moderators warned users against spreading false information and posting personal information about others online.

    Did tech companies finally get it right? Maybe. The usual suspects did what they always do after a mass shooting, but as of yet hoaxes haven’t moved beyond unmoderated far-right spaces. It seems that the tech companies might have finally responded to consumer pressure and done the right thing: protect victims, survivors, and their families from online misinformation campaign that can cause real harm. So far, none of the hoaxes have become part of the narrative around the Santa Fe mass shooting. Instead of asking students to confirm that they aren't crisis actors, mainstream outlets are mentioning “crisis actors” mostly in the context of hoaxes.

    We also must give credit to the Parkland student survivors who spoke out against gun violence and stood up for themselves when they were attacked. Their continued activism forced tech companies to do more to protect minors from this kind of abuse.

    We’re not out of the woods yet. The same folks who actively work to spread disinformation will figure out that this tactic no longer works. They’ll seek new ways to spread hoaxes and new ways to weaponize social media for their own purposes. But my takeaway from the Santa Fe shooting is that tech might finally be taking this problem seriously.

    Additional research by Cristina Lopez and Alex Kaplan.

  • Sinclair personality faces boycott after saying he wants to “ram a hot poker up David Hogg’s ass” 

    Jamie Allman’s abusive tactics may finally be catching up with him

    Blog ››› ››› PAM VOGEL


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    UPDATE: Asked about Allman’s comments about David Hogg by The Washington Post, a spokesperson for Sinclair said, “We have accepted Mr. Allman’s resignation, and his show has been cancelled.”

    ORIGINAL POST:

    Conservative TV and radio host Jamie Allman, Sinclair’s primary local news personality in St. Louis, MO, is now facing a boycott after tweeting on March 26 that he wants to “ram a hot poker up David Hogg’s ass.” The horrific attack on the Parkland, FL, high school shooting survivor is just the latest from Allman, who has a history of engaging in unhinged online abuse and hateful commentary. 

    On April 6, local alt-weekly the Riverfront Times reported on a threatening tweet that had been circulating around social media in which Allman stated that he’d “been hanging out getting ready to ram a hot poker up David Hogg’s ass tomorrow . Busy working . Preparing .”

    Allman hosts both a morning radio show and a nightly news show called The Allman Report on KDNL (ABC 30), the St. Louis TV news station owned and operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that, in response to Allman’s tweet, state Rep. Stacey Newman (D) called for an advertiser boycott of Allman’s show -- and some advertisers have now discontinued their spots on his radio show.

    Allman’s disgusting attack on the high school student echoes obsessive targeting of Hogg by far-right conspiracy theorists and should be no surprise to local viewers and others familiar with Allman’s history of online harassment and abusive rhetoric. Media Matters first documented Allman’s extremism in October, noting his promotion of fringe conspiracy theories, use of anti-immigrant slurs and race-baiting language on air, and frequent misogynist tweets. Many of these examples predated his hiring by Sinclair -- but none of this seems to matter to the local TV news giant.

    In fact, in 2015, the Sinclair station began running what it calls Allman’s “non-traditional newscast” in place of any straightforward local news broadcast, airing each edition three times per weekday during time slots typically reserved for news updates.  

    And Allman has discussed Hogg twice on his Sinclair news show since his March 26 tweet. On the March 30 edition of The Allman Report, he tried to make a case for attacking the teenagers, arguing that Hogg “can’t have it both ways” and had to choose between being a “kid” or being “a revolutionary.” Allman went on to accuse the Parkland students of “grabbing [their] blanket” whenever they were criticized.

    On April 3, Allman again mocked Parkland students for their opposition to some heightened security measures at the school, such as being required to use clear backpacks. At one point he imitated a student whining, “This place feels like a prison!” Allman also zeroed in on Hogg specifically and suggested it was “very confusing” that Hogg would advocate for the right to carry different types of backpacks but not different types of guns.

    Sinclair was largely silent in response to the publication of Media Matters’ research on Allman last October. Allman, however, locked down his Twitter account briefly before unlocking it to tweet bonkers, sometimes threatening messages at this author for an hour straight, between 2 and 3 a.m. one morning. The tweets included photoshopped images of me, images of Carrie (from the eponymous film) covered in blood, and claims I hate my father and have a drinking problem.

    Allman has now locked down his Twitter account again and, according to the Riverfront Times, the account was silent yesterday after spending two days retweeting supporters in defiance. Because I had reported the account previously, I received a vague update from Twitter yesterday that Allman’s account has now been found in violation of the platform’s rules against abusive behavior.

  • Lauren Hogg and David Hogg fight back against Laura Ingraham’s bullying

    David Hogg is calling for people to contact Ingraham’s Fox News advertisers. Here are some recent ones.

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Since the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Fox News host Laura Ingraham has been one of the main right-wing figures touting assault weapons as “safe” and attacking the student survivors:

    • Ingraham said the Parkland, FL, students should not be given “special consideration” on gun policy, arguing that their “pain and loss” was being exploited.
    • Ingraham told her viewers that the March 14 student walkout wasn’t some sort of “organic outpouring of youthful rage,” saying it was “nothing but a left-wing, anti-Trump diatribe.”
    • Ingraham blamed “mental illness”and “broken or damaged families” for the shooting.
    • Hours after the Parkland shooting, Ingraham defended the murder weapon as “so safe.”
    • Ingraham used Parkland survivors to call for more attention to anti-abortion protests.

    Then, on March 28, Ingraham tweeted a link to a Daily Wire article saying Parkland survivor David Hogg was rejected by some colleges. Ingraham accused Hogg of whining about it:

    David Hogg’s sister Lauren Hogg responded:

    David Hogg then called for followers to contact Ingraham’s advertisers:

    Media Matters President Angelo Carusone noted two of Ingraham’s major advertisers, Liberty Mutual and Bayer:

    Hogg tweeted #ShutUpAndBeObjective, a reference to Ingraham previously telling athletes like LeBron James and Kevin Durant to "shut up and dribble." There was a significant backlash to those remarks.

    Ingraham tried to walk back her comments on Hogg:

    Hogg refused to back down:

    Advertisers NutrishTripAdvisorWayfairExpediaNestleJos A BankJohnson & JohnsonHuluStitch FixJenny CraigOffice DepotHonda, Liberty Mutual, Principal, Miracle-Ear, Ruby Tuesday, and AtlantisEntertainment Studios, and Bayer have made statements about future ads not appearing on Ingraham's program. In addition to those, here's a list of other advertisers of Ingraham’s, should anyone want to contact them.

  • Tech’s moral obligation to Parkland survivors

    Blog ››› ››› MELISSA RYAN

    The Parkland student survivors behind the #MarchForOurLives are now public figures. Their social media presence is massive, they’re a fixture on TV news, and according to a poll from Public Policy Polling, they have a “56/34 favorability rating.” Their advocacy has inspired many Americans to engage (or re-engage) in the fight for gun safety. It’s also inspired a steady stream of harassment and hoaxes from the right.

    The latest attacks on the students, right after their wildly successful march, are particularly vile. They include doctored images, memes suggesting that the students support communist dictators or Nazis (apparently communism and fascism are one and the same now), and accusations that student David Hogg wasn’t actually present for the shooting (just for the record, we know Hogg was there because he recorded interviews with his fellow students during the shooting). Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones took things to another level entirely when he released videos depicting a Parkland survivor as a Hitler Youth member and transposing a Hitler speech over another’s words. The students were even mocked by Rep. Steve King, R-IA, a congressman, on his Facebook page.

    To be clear, these are high school students, most of whom are still minors, being attacked for over a month by adults who should know better. And tech companies allow their platforms to be weaponized over and over again for this purpose.

    None of this should feel normal but somehow it is. It’s the circle of life on the internet: If half of social media is building you up, the other half will inevitably be tearing you down. We’ve accepted bullying and harassment as the price we pay for a more connected society, and that includes the harassment of minors advocating for their right to be safe at school. Looking over the social media landscape, it’s hard to argue that this isn’t normal. Does it have to be?

    All of the tech platforms have policies against harassment in their terms of service, but none include special protections for minors who are harassed. All terms of service prohibit hate speech or harassment based on protected classes, including age, but only when the attack is made on the basis of that characteristic. So while disseminating doctored images of Emma Gonzalez supposedly tearing up a copy of the Constitution (she wasn’t) or memes suggesting that David Hogg is a Nazi or that he gave the Nazi salute at the #MarchForOurLives (he isn’t and he did not) are out of the bounds of human decency, they appear not to violate any one company’s terms.

    It’s understandable that tech companies would avoid taking political positions and do everything in their power to prevent the appearance that they’re censoring a political viewpoint. But doctoring images of the Parkland students and spreading false information about them and their families online isn’t expressing a political opinion; it’s harassment. People should be able to express political viewpoints without harassing minors. They should be able to disagree with the students’ views without superimposing their heads on Nazi uniforms. More important, tech companies should be able to understand the difference.

    The Parkland students survived one of the worst mass shootings in modern American history. They lost friends and classmates, and their lives were completely disrupted. Whether or not you agree with their views on gun safety, we should all be able to agree that teenagers have a right to advocate for their own safety at school without fear of weaponized social media attacks against them. It should never be acceptable to spread false information and doctored images that threaten the safety of anyone, especially if that person is still a student in high school. Tech companies shouldn’t allow their platforms to become dissemination engines for this type of attack. That’s not politics; that’s just human decency.