The Streisand Effect: Synopsis of a Twitter Drama

The Streisand Effect (WikiPedia) is “the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.” Rather than seek forgiveness, Imani Gandy and her webmaster Heather Chase have tried to cover up their relatively minor offense by blowing smoke on Twitter and building alliances with the enemies of their victims.

This has drawn far more attention to what they did than they might have suffered by being honest at the beginning — the “Streisand Effect.” They have made this situation worse by attempting to substitute noise and volume for proof. They have no proof except their own assertions. When confronted by a substantial evidence trail, they insist the evidence is simply wrong.

The story begins with a con artist named Jason Wade Taylor who pretended to be a rich progressive philanthropist. Chase and Gandy wanted to pursue this potential donor for their organization. When @Shoq and StopRush identified “Randy Hahn” as a hoax, they pursued him anyway — and sold out fellow progressive activists in the process.

After Chase had provided “Randy Hahn” with proprietary StopRush communications (because @Shoq!), Gandy overruled her own board at TeamU/POWR PAC and insisted on developing the organization’s relationship with “Randy.” He was playing hard-to-get, but both Chase and Gandy were still blaming @Shoq for their apparent failure to gain his trust.

In order to appease the “rich progressive,” Chase admits giving StopRush internal emails and a recording to “Randy Hahn,” but blames @Shoq for her actions.

When they realized we were right after all, and that this side deal would never materialize, Gandy and Chase blamed @Shoq for what they had done. StopRush participants were being targeted for smearing and harassment, but there was no solidarity in the progressive Twitterverse.

While trying to “manage” the entire situation like a puppet master, Heather Chase remained in contact with Breitbart.com’s Lee Stranahan, who has been a chief antagonist to Taylor’s victims, especially @Shoq. She was his source for the initial “@Shoq illegally recorded a con artist” story, and is still his source today. When I asked Chase to explain this, her explanation was that it was @Shoq’s fault.

The “abuse” narrative emerged in August when two friends of Gandy denounced @Shoq. Gandy has obscured and minimized her relationships to both of them, @vdaze and Darshann @HoneyBadgerLA. In reaction to my blogging about this, @vdaze published a misleading portion of an IM chat to paint @Shoq as a criminal for recording himself scambaiting the con artist. Because it’s all his fault, see?

Gandy’s initial reaction to my debunking of this “abuse” smear was to threaten me and @Shoq with law enforcement action. This remains an empty threat.

So what we have is a pattern, established since April, of horrible, awful, terrible, no-good, very-bad decision-making by Chase and Gandy — for which @Shoq has always been the scapegoat. They have drawn ever closer to Lee Stranahan along the way, and all maintain the ridiculous proposition that @Shoq committed a crime while trying to expose “Randy.”

Non-profit fundraising requires that major donors be completely vetted to avoid breaking rules, so Taylor’s hoax was a threat to any progressive social movement that touched him. Some of us were looking out for everyone; Chase and Gandy were looking out for themselves. They still are.

As Andrew Breitbart’s favorite hack, Stranahan is hardly an advocate for women or minorities. He is largely responsible for the Pigford smear, maintains that Shirley Sherrod is a terrible person, and has a history of “erotic photography” that includes pimping out his wife — which has apparently drawn the interest of Child Protective Services on at least one occasion.

This misogynistic, racist pro-life reactionary is now the chief defender of Gandy and Chase, who accuse me and @Shoq and our associates of being misogynists, racists, etc. He is a very peculiar choice of advocate, and one guaranteed to highlight the Streisand effect. The harder they fight to preserve their narrative of “@Shoq the abuser,” the more attention they draw to themselves.

About Matt Osborne

Veteran blogging the culture wars from Alabama. Video journalist, mash-up artist, aspiring novelist, and metalhead. Expect bunnies, geekery, dark humor, and snarky empirical analysis to annoy idealists of all stripes. You can follow me on Twitter, but be ready 'cause it might get loud.
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