The Evil Clowns
The roller-coaster reactions following a video purportedly showing Covington Catholic high school boys mocking a native American who claimed he was a Vietnam veteran elder began with a wave of outrage and ended with a whimper of embarrassment when unedited source video showed the shoe was on the other foot. The humiliating reversal culminated in a correction by the Washington Post that the elder was not a Vietnam veteran at all. "Correction: Earlier versions of this story incorrectly said that Native American activist Nathan Phillips fought in the Vietnam War. Phillips served in the U.S. Marines from 1972 to 1976 but was never deployed to Vietnam."
But by then it had involved the amour propre of literally hundreds of pundits and social media celebrities who simply couldn't admit to being so cringingly wrong. The quantity of barbecued crow was so great it was difficult to ingest. Some flatly refused. One journalist wrote after the exculpating evidence came out: "I refuse to read it, but from what I have read, Reason has found in a MAGA teen video their own Zapruder film but for 'disproving' white supremacy."
The urge to believe in something can be so great that people can sincerely see things that aren't there. The social media obsession with racism and toxic masculinity eventually turned the Covington boy's "smirking faces" into the new Evil Clown sighting of 2019.
The 2016 clown sightings were reports of people disguised as armed evil clowns in incongruous settings, such as near forests and schools. The incidents were reported in the United States, Canada, and subsequently in other countries and territories from August 2016. The sightings were first reported in South Carolina when a 9-year-old boy told his mother that two suspicious males dressed as clowns tried to lure him into the nearby woods. By mid-October 2016, clown sightings and attacks had been reported in nearly all U.S. states, 9 out of 13 provinces and territories of Canada, and 18 other countries.
Like the Clowns the "smirking faces" are everywhere, if you know where to look for them. Over there! There! As Noah Berlatsky wrote in an NBC opinion piece "white children are everywhere, but their whiteness is too often invisible and unspoken." Now hardly anyone can believe there weren't any supremacists taunting the drumming native American in the first place. If the Evil Clowns are absent surely there is some explanation. The Huffington Post, in their story House Intelligence Committee Looking Into Tweet About Viral MAGA Hat Teen Video says a high level committee is looking into dark forces.
But now there is additional scrutiny over how the video became so widely viewed after Twitter suspended the @2020fight account on Monday, following a CNN investigation into several suspicious aspects of the account. The @2020fight account followed over 37,000 users and averaged 210 posts and likes a day, which experts say are classic signs that an account may be automated or inauthentic. The account claimed to be a California school teacher named Talia, but the photo used matched a Brazilian blogger and model.
The House Intelligence Committee is now requesting more information about the @2020fight account. A spokesperson for Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) ― who is vice chairman of the U.S Senate Select Committee On Intelligence ― also told HuffPost that the senator’s office had contacted Twitter regarding the video.