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The Right Wing Has Falsely Accused Activists of Being 'Paid Protesters' for 50 Years

February 22, 2018 in Blogs

By Liz Posner, AlterNet

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The despicable attacks against the Parkland shooting survivors are part of a long tradition of right-wing conspiracy theories.

Right-wing conspiracy theorists are raging against a bunch of teenagers. Even Donald Trump Jr. liked one such tweet on Twitter, and a since-fired aide of Florida State Rep. Shawn Harrison has claimed that the student activists decrying lax gun regulations that allowed a massacre to take place at their high school are actually “actors that travel to various crisis when they happen.” The impact of these outrageous accusations can’t be dismissed; one video claiming 17-year-old David Hogg is a paid actor was the number-one top trending link on YouTube Wednesday and was viewed hundreds of thousands of times before YouTube removed it. As right-winger conspiracy theorists continue to spread their lies, it’s worth noting that the right has used this tactic repeatedly at other divisive moments in history.

As historian Kevin Kruse pointed out on Twitter, in 1967 the NAACP actually had to respond to outrageous accusations that the Little Rock Nine were paid protesters funded by the civil rights advocacy group.

In a response, historian Heather Richardson said the trend goes back much further. “Actually, this trope goes all the way back to Reconstruction,” she wrote on Twitter. “African Americans demanding equal accommodations under the 1875 Civil Rights Act were… you guessed it… paid by agitators trying to cause trouble for law-abiding folks.”

In recent history, some on the right have resorted to this accusation time and time again. This line of attack popped up in …read more


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