BREAKING: Not everyone who supports the same candidate as you is cool, smart and good

Last night, Heavy.com reported that a series of Bernie Sanders-supporting Facebook pages had been taken down after being the target of a coordinated attack in which pages were flooded with pornography and then reported for violating the site’s terms of use.

At least some of the mass reportings have been tied to members of the pro-Clinton Facebook group, Bros4Hillary. A spokesperson for the group told Heavy.com that the group as a whole did not condone negative attacks on pro-Sanders pages, and the member(s) responsible have since been banned. The pro-Sanders groups have since been reinstated.

Members of the pro-Sanders groups affected by the porn spam campaign were worried that the attacks originated from the pro-Clinton super PAC, Correct the Record, which recently launched a $1 million campaign, Barrier Breakers, to push back against anti-Clinton posts on social media. Correct the Record emphatically denied involvement in the anti-Sanders spam campaign, saying that their effort is limited to promoting pro-Clinton messages and, well, correcting the record.

So a few random Clinton supporters were childish jerks on social media. No big deal. There’s no reason to believe this episode has anything to do with Correct the Record (which is, for the record, coordinating with Clinton’s campaign), and there’s no reason to draw any connections between a few yahoos online and Clinton’s overall campaign or message.

Which is why it’s been particularly odd to see prominent Clinton supporters who have been particularly sensitive to online harassment with respect to their preferred candidate responding to the episode by denying that it happened the way it did.

Believe it or not, whether you support Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders or even Jill Stein, not everyone who supports the same candidate you do is cool, smart and good. Some people who support the same candidate as you are jerks. Some of the people who support the same candidate as you do stupid and mean things online — even if you support Hillary Clinton!

It’s the Internet, and the Internet is an ugly place sometimes (ok, often).

In any case, it may be a positive development if this story spurred Clinton supporters such as Conason, who edits The National Memo, to apply a bit more scrutiny — or, better yet, indifference — to random idiots online. Perhaps then we’ll stop seeing racist and sexist idiots on Twitter being pinned on Bernie Sanders himself when most (though not all!) of them actually support Donald Trump.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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