Like the President, William A. Jacobson, Esq. (pictured) has been the Senior Editor of a Harvard legal publication, the International Law Journal. From 1984 to 2007 he maintained a successful private practice dealing with “investment, employment, and business disputes in the securities industry,” according to his bio at Cornell, where he is now Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Securities Law Clinic.
He is also a blogger. At his “Legal Insurrection” site, Mr. Jacobson has defended Sarah Palin over health care death panels. He spent days denouncing MSNBC because they covered up the president’s elitist choice of mustard. When the Wisconsin protests turned out a larger crowd than any tea party ever, he dismissed the crowd size. During the Herman Cain meltdown, he maintained all the accusers were lying — and all actors in a sinister conspiracy. In the Trayvon Martin case, the professor sees what he wants to see, hears what he wants to hear, and concludes the facts are not in but the Martin family’s lawyers are obstructing justice.
Linking to Professor Jacobson’s own words — as I’ve done in the above ‘graff — is essentially what Media Matters does every day with right wing media trolls. The reason Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck despise that organization is that they do not want a permanent record of the crap coming out of their own mouths. It makes them look bad, just as the above snapshot of Professor Jacobson’s blogging career shouts “right wing tool.”
Unsurprisingly, Jacobson is also Rush Limbaugh’s pet academic. In fact, Limbaugh’s very first tweet ever, launched in panicked reaction to the success of the social media backlash he’d inspired, linked to Legal Insurrection. In the first paragraph of the linked post, Jacobson asserts that #stoprush is manufactured outrage:
The secondary boycott of Rush Limbaugh advertisers is portrayed in the media as a reaction to a groundswell of public outrage. In fact, the secondary boycott was initiated by and driven by Media Matters, which had a “Stop Limbaugh” campaign on the shelf waiting to be used, and was executed by Angelo Carusone, Director of Online Strategy for Media Matters.
“Secondary boycott” is an invention of Mr. Jacobson. No one associated with #stoprush ever said anything about being in Phase II. This imaginary second phase of #stoprush underpins Jacobson’s assertion that thousands of people only contacted sponsors because Media Matters told them to, and not because they were outraged at Limbaugh’s disgusting three-day rant against Sandra Fluke.
In this tortured narrative, #stoprush can be ignored because Media Matters has “coordinated” it. As proof, Jacobson offers countless public tweets from a user named @Shoq — who has voluntarily helped put together the web architecture that volunteers are using, but has never been a Media Matters employee.
In fact, other than Carusone, Jacobson cannot link a single #stoprush Twitter account to Media Matters. That’s because Media Matters didn’t create any of them. They belong to real people who have volunteered to take part.
Jacobson has maintained his insane, evidence-free theory ever since. Which is odd, because the purpose of his narrative is to promote the idea that #stoprush has failed and has had no effect. Why would the professor write so much about our supposed failure? Indeed, why would he warn that “conservatives better wake up” to movements like #stoprush if it’s so ineffectual?
I’m sure Jacobson’s non-answer will be that #stoprush is a scary conspiracy to persecute Limbaugh and deny him his free speech rights. In fact, volunteers have been listening to his program, keeping a record of the ads that play during it, and making it possible for other volunteers to exercise their own free speech rights. Free speech is maintained all around.
We are allowed to contact them. They are allowed to keep their ads off his program, and if they don’t then we are allowed to stop using their products and services. We are even allowed to publish lists of alternative companies that don’t sponsor him. That’s the way the “free market of ideas” actually works, and it’s not a conspiracy. It’s called the First Amendment.
Rush Limbaugh may rant and rave into a microphone until doomsday; he has no “right” to corporate sponsorship, however. No one ever said that free speech was free of consequences. But if the professor wants to see what astroturf looks like, here’s a picture:
That Easter-egg hunt is a line of fake, supposedly-real fans retweeting Rush Limbaugh. The accounts came into existence within days of Limbaugh’s rant and our reaction. Psychological projection is a constant feature of right wing politics, and Professor Jacobson’s conspiracy theory actually describes the attempted social media rehabilitation of Limbaugh much better than #stoprush.
Which is not to say there are no volunteers for Limbaugh, because I have seen a handful in my Twitter reply stream. All of them — all! — have been like @Serr8d:
— Serr8d (@Serr8d) April 18, 2012
Again, it’s all self-description here. Jacobson presented the above tweet in a post Wednesday as his sole exhibit “proving” a groundswell of Limbaugh support is lashing back against #stoprush. Of course, the only thing it proves is that right-wing trolls inhabit Twitter, which is not news. Since Jacobson is apparently a new fan of @Serr8d, here are some of his recent choice tweets:
Here is the linked picture, which @Serr8d has tweeted several times:
An anal rape joke: Classy Cornell law stuff!
In this one, Jacobson’s pseudonymous user makes light of the ongoing Secret Service scandal by suggesting the president is a marijuana user, which of course is totally not racist except that it totally is:
twitpic.com/9bqeqd – The Secret Service was just doing it’s duty, checking out Obama’s stash.
— Serr8d (@Serr8d) April 19, 2012
@Serr8d really enjoys sexual imagery. Politics is just one big gang bang:
@Serr8d has been tweeting #stoprush participants for weeks now in search of anyone who would engage. Some have, though not me: I haven’t time to feed the trolls, much less pet them in my blog.
This absurdity has a Moebius strip-quality, turning everything inside-out to wind up at the place where it started: Jacobson establishes a false premise with non-evidence, Limbaugh tweets Jacobson to “prove” the campaign against him is a lie, whereupon dozens of brand-new, spammy Twitter accounts and a handful of trolls become a “spontaneous groundswell” of support. See how that works?
Colonel Mustard and all his trolls will not stop #stoprush. In fact, we haven’t even rolled out our second phase, which is in beta testing. The only part of his story that everyone should believe is that we should be taken seriously. We’re not going away, and we’re not intimidated by insulting tweets.