The Rebel Media’s Jack Posobiec is the latest member of a community of far-right and “alt-right” internet trolls to gain access to the White House press briefings under the guise of journalism. Posobiec has promoted emails and forged documents allegedly related to French President-elect Emmanuel Macron, the baseless “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, false pro-Trump smear campaigns, and has worked with other “alt-right” media figures and outlets.
A U.S. far-right online activist credited with initially sharing on Twitter hacked emails from the French presidential campaign of centrist Emmanuel Macron is the latest conservative media figure to receive White House access from the Trump administration.
Jack Posobiec, a Washington-based writer at the Rebel Media, a Canadian online political and social news commentary platform, attended the daily press briefing on Tuesday and later broadcast video from the White House grounds with positive commentary on President Donald Trump's abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Posobiec told Reuters he first obtained temporary White House credentials in early April, but he has submitted a request for a permanent pass. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. [Reuters, 5/11/17]
Posobiec spread #MacronLeaks hashtag promoting hacked e-mails that were likely from Russia
Posobiec claimed French Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron was suing him for promoting forged documents. In a Periscope livestream, Posobiec claimed he was being “sued” by then-French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron for retweeting a link about documents regarding Macron and “tax evasion,” which were sourced on “the deep web.” The documents were widely reported to be forged. [Periscope, 5/4/17; Media Matters, 5/5/17]
New Yorker: Posobiec promoted “massive doc dump, then tweeted link to 4chan with hashtag “#MacronLeaks.” The New Yorker’s Andrew Marantz reported on May 7 that Posobiec had “spent much of Friday monitoring /pol/, the 4chan message board.” According to Marantz, Posobiec tweeted a link to on a 4chan post featuring “purportedly hacked e-mails, photographs, and internal documents from the campaign of Emmanuel Macron,” including the hashtag “#MacronLeaks.” [The New Yorker, 5/7/17]
Atlantic council tracked onset of “#MacronLeaks” campaign to Posobiec.” The Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab reported that it had “tracked the onset” of the #MacronLeaks campaign “to the Twitter account of Jack Posobiec,” adding, “The amplification of this ‘leak’ came a day after Jack Posobiec claimed he was being sued by Emmanuel Macron.” [Medium, 5/5/17]
Lawfare: Available evidence about source of leaks prove some documents “are not genuine” and “lean conspicuously toward Moscow.” In an analysis of the alleged Macron leaks, Lawfare Institute in cooperation with the Brookings Institution found that “some documents in the Macron cache are not genuine” and contain metadata “showing that they were edited by a user with a Russian name using a Russian version of Microsoft Excel.” Lawfare noted that although those facts do not prove Russian government involvement, “available evidence does lean conspicuously towards Moscow.” From the May 8 article:
Fortunately, technology can be used defensively as well as offensively. We can use digital forensics to look for forgeries in the documents. For example, we can prove some of the emails in the cache are certainly genuine. Cryptographic signatures on Uber receipts (used to block some categories of fraudulent emails) can be repurposed to verify that some of the emails haven’t been altered, and help us to show conclusively who the hack victims are, and establish that the cache is not a total forgery.
But we can also see that some documents in the Macron cache are not genuine. Most have had their metadata scrubbed, but nine of the spreadsheets have been scrubbed incorrectly, leaving metadata showing that they were edited by a user with a Russian name using a Russian version of Microsoft Excel on March 27, 2017. It’s not immediately clear what was changed within the documents, or why, or even whether such changes were intentional.
[. . .]
Needless to say, none of these individual facts “proves” Russian government involvement to a certainty. Attribution is often a matter of iteratively establishing a model that best explains the available evidence. Thus far, the available evidence does lean conspicuously towards Moscow. [Lawfare.com, 5/8/17]
Posobiec heavily pushed “pizzagate” conspiracy theory
Wash. Post: Posobiec went to Comet Ping Pong to investigate “pizzagate.” The Washington Post reported Posobiec went to Washington, D.C., pizzeria Comet Ping Pong in November to investigate “Pizzagate”, a baseless conspiracy theory that the pizzeria was being used by top Democratic operatives to house a child sex ring, using Periscope to livestream his experiences inside the restaurant. The Post reported Comet Ping Pong’s managers asked him to leave after they “saw him take his camera into a back room where a child’s birthday party was underway.” [The Washington Post, 12/6/16]
Mediaite: Posobiec “tweeted out a false quote from D.C.’s police chief claiming that #Pizzagate had nothing to do with The attempted shooting.” Mediaite reported after a gunman opened fire on Comet Ping Pong to check out the conspiracy theory in December, Posobiec “tweeted out a false quote from D.C.’s police chief claiming that #Pizzagate had nothing to do with the attempted shooting.” [Mediaite, 12/5/16]
Talking points memo: In a now-deleted tweet, Posobiec said gunman investigated “Pizzagate” was a “false flag,” “planted,” and “will be used to push for censorship.” In a now-deleted tweet, reported by Talking Points Memo, Posobiec claimed the gunman's attack on Comet Ping Pong was a “false flag.” Posobiec wrote the “planted Comet Pizza Gunman” would be used “to push for censorship of independent news sources that are not corporate owned.” [Talking Points Memo, 12/5/16]
Posobiec has orchestrated pro-Trump smear campaigns
BuzzFeed: Posobiec claimed he had started “assassinate Trump” chant and planted “Rape Melania” sign to smear anti-Trump protesters. BuzzFeed’s Joseph Bernstein reported in January that a “Rape Melania” sign seen at an anti-Trump rally was “the culmination of a disinformation campaign by Posobiec and others intended to paint the anti-Trump rallies as violent and out of control,” and “according to a source, it is Posobiec himself holding the ‘Rape Melania’ sign in the photographs.” Bernstein added that Posobiec “claimed that he’d started an ‘assassinate Trump’ chant to goad protesters into copying him, with the intention of filming them.” [BuzzFeed, 1/11/17]
Esquire: Posobiec falsely claimed Star Wars writers “rewrote and reshot Rogue One to add in anti-Trump scenes calling him A racist.” Esquire reported in December that Posobiec tweeted, “Star Wars writers rewrote and reshot Rogue One to add in Anti-Trump scenes calling him a racist,” with the hashtag “#DumpStarWars.” Esquire additionally reported that “a Disney representative told TheWrap that this claim is entirely untrue, but that didn’t stop Posobiec from starting a Star Wars boycott with a tweetstorm.” [Esquire, 12/8/16]
Posobiec allegedly worked directly with Trump’s campaign in Pennsylvania
Posobiec: “I have received approval from [General Mike Flynn] to post internal” campaign “polling analysis.”
Posobiec Used Reddit To Recruit Volunteers In PA “On Behalf Of The Campaign.”
Posobiec instructed voter to “come in to the Trump Headquarters” so the Trump campaign “can give you the instructions” for filling out voter registration forms.
Posobiec: “if anyone needs community service hours for school as PA and other states require . . . we will make sure you get credit for it.”
Posobiec described himself as a “longtime political operative in PA.”
Posobiec has a mutually beneficial relationship with conspiracy website Infowars
Posobeic used Infowars to promote his “pizzagate” investigation. [YouTube, 11/25/16]
Infowars host Owen Shroyer featured Posobiec to discuss “Trump’s internal polls.” [YouTube, 10/15/16]
Roger Stone saluted “Mike Cernovich And Posobiec" as “freedom fighters” On Infowars. [YouTube, 4/5/17]
On Infowars, Posobiec joined Cernovich to claim mainstream media “looks down on” people that Infowars admires. [YouTube, 5/10/17]
Posobiec promoted Alex Jones and Stone’s “America first rally” at Republican National Convention.
Posobiec declared Infowars was “on fleek.”
Posobiec collaborated with fellow internet troll Mike Cernovich on misleading anti-immigration documentary
Wash. Post: Posobiec “first met Cernovich in person last year in Cleveland, at the Republican National Convention.” The Washington Post reported in April that Posobiec “said he first met Cernovich in person last year in Cleveland, at the Republican National Convention,” after Cernovich attended a “Citizens for Trump” event Posobiec hosted. [The Washington Post, 4/7/17]
HeatStreet: Posobiec partnered with Cernovich On Anti-Immigration Documentary Featuring Misleading Footage From Lithuania. HeatStreet reported that Posobiec partnered with Cernovich to create “the documentary titled ‘INVASION: How Sweden Became the Rape Capital of the West.’” The outlet noted that the film had attempted to pass off footage of Lithuania that was “deceptively edited to imply it’s Sweden.” [Heatstreet, 3/14/17]
Multiple “Alt-Right” internet trolls have been allowed into White House press briefings
Multiple far right and “alt-right” trolls have been given White House press credentials. Trump’s administration has let multiple far right and “alt-right” figures into the White House Briefing Room. Jim Hoft, “the internet’s most hapless political blogger,” and his website The Gateway Pundit have been granted access to the White House press briefing and have their own correspondent, Lucian Wintrich, there to “ask fawning questions that support President Donald Trump and troll the other reporters.” Cernovich used a White House press pass to berate reporters at a daily briefing for not sufficiently covering “the violence against Trump supporters.” And in March, Canadian “alt-right” figure Lauren Southern tweeted from inside the White House press room, reporting that she had access to the press briefing. [Media Matters, 2/13/17, 3/13/17, 3/14/17, 5/1/17]