https://www.cjr.org/analysis/quillette- ... mpaign.php
Right-wing publications launder an anti-journalist smear campaign
Last month, a number of media outlets ran stories touting claims from a study posted on Twitter that alleged nefarious connections between antifascist activists and national-level reporters who cover the far-right.
On May 15, Eoin Lenihan, a far-right social media user presented what he said were excerpts from a data set that proved prominent reporters who cover extremist movements were “closely associated” with antifascist activists. He identified himself as an online extremism researcher, despite having no association with any previously known organization that researches extremism. In reality, Lenihan was already an established right-wing troll, now blanket banned for “violating rules against managing multiple Twitter accounts for abusive purposes.”
Lenihan’s Twitter thread was met with enthusiasm on the right. His claims—among them that one writer is an “eco-extremist,” that a website that posts court documents is a “doxing site,” and that antifa is “often more violent” than right-wing fascist groups—were taken at face value by outlets including Breitbart, PJ Media, RedState, and Human Events, and RT.
It is the latest example of unreliable information circulating rapidly through an ecosystem of fringe outlets without even the appearance of due diligence, such as baseless reports that tech platforms discriminate against “conservatives” or that leftist agitators are trying to foment a new American civil war.
Quillette, a publication dedicated to “free thought,” gave Lenihan a bylined article on its site to share his claims, where Lenihan embedded posts from his Twitter thread, echoed his assertion that reporters were working to promote antifascist activists, and accused them of violating professional ethical standards. When CJR reached Quillette founding editor Claire Lehmann for comment via Twitter, she first inquired what issues CJR found with Linehan’s study. When CJR responded asking how Quillette determined Linehan’s allegations were legitimate, and whether Lenihan’s story underwent a fact-check or legal review prior to publication, she declined to comment....