Man at His Best

These 'Rogue' White House Accounts Are Just Liberal Bait

What's there to believe anymore.

BY Luke O'Neil | Feb 1, 2017 | Culture

An intrepid mole embeds deep within the corridors of power, firing off missives of resistance as authorities work to ferret them out. Will they be apprehended before they save the country from the brink of ruin? If it sounds like the fiction of a heavy-handed spy thriller, that's because it is. Except the medium, in this case, isn't some paperback airport novel, it's a popular Twitter account: Rogue POTUS Staff.

 

 

The account, which has amassed 320,000 followers in the past few days—100 of which are otherwise smart people I know, including numerous journalists—and spawned credulous media reports like this one, presents itself as the work of "the unofficial resistance team inside the White House."

"We will not reveal our identity to anyone!" the account explains in its bio. "The only way to keep a secret is to keep it secret!"

Indeed.

The account, an update on a well worn Twitter trope — @NYTFridge or @CondeElevator—purports to be a direct look into an exclusive milieu that readers are naturally interested in hearing about.

 

 

It is also, like many others before it, almost certainly fake. It comes amidst a veritable gold rush of so-called "alt-" or "rogue" government resistance accounts that have flooded Twitter since Trump took office. The trend began last week, when the National Park Service found themselves at odds with the president after retweeting two posts that were critical of him and, more importantly, the size of his inauguration crowd. Soon thereafter, the administration reportedly ordered the Parks Service, and other government agencies, to temporarily curtail their social media use.

Into this suddenly vacant social media market opening came @AltUSNatParkService, which has since become @NotAltWorld—an account with over 1.3 million followers—who assumed the persona of disgruntled Parks employees, defying Trump's orders by tweeting out scientific facts about climate change.

 

 

It makes for a scintillating narrative, but the problem is, there's no evidence that any of the people behind any of these accounts are actually who they say they are, despite numerous attempts by reporters to do just that. Of course, as the @RoguePOTUSStaff account points out, that secrecy is baked into the very design: They can't risk being discovered! (They did not immediately respond to a request for any confirmation about their identity).

While some of the alt accounts, including many of the science ones, at least perform an arguably worthwhile function in continuing to share science-related information and helping to organise, there's zero real-world value to the ramblings of a supposed White House staffer beyond conspiracy theorising. In fact, they're making things worse, further muddying the information waters and leading to idiotic theories like this:

 

 

During and after the election, we heard a lot about how conservatives were more likely to fall for fake news, and there's probably some truth to that. But when it comes to the Trump administration, those of us on the left are showing we're willing to swallow nearly anything we hear as well. We're all willing to suspend disbelief when it comes to information that reinforces our existing views, and there are plenty out there looking to capitalise.

From: Esquire US