Last week, The New York Times released a bombshell barnburner about Facebook that was only surprising in that it revealed the company was even more evil than assumed. The article investigated how the social media giant handled, or rather mishandled, the 2016 elections, as well as the one-two punch of a Russian troll outbreak followed by the loss of untold user data to Cambridge Analytica. What it revealed, though, was far worse. For one thing, they hired a right-wing firm to enact one of the right’s favorite pasttimes: They smeared their many critics by linking them to conservative boogeyman George Soros. (Oh, and they also let then-candidate Donald J. Trump get away with openly bigoted posts. That worked out well, too.)
Did this mean the end of Facebook? Of course not. Did it mean the ouster of Mark Zuckerberg, or at least of Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg? As if. Both have expressed ignorance since the exposé went live, with Zuckerberg claiming he didn’t know about the firm — aka, the Definers Public Affairs — until he pored over the piece, jaw on the ground, alongside the rest of us. In another interview, Zuckerberg blamed it on a vague someone else. But it was clear a head needed to roll.
And now it has. Late into Thanksgiving Eve — when much of the media had packed their bags and hopped a train to share a meal that was already going to be awkward because the president just openly admitted he was cool doing business with a regime that ordered a journalist dismembered — a post on Facebook arrived, penned by one Elliot Schrage. Who? Why, he’s Facebook’s Head of Communication and Policy, of course — or he was, because he’s the one taking the bullet for his superiors, including the guy depicted as a petty creep in a movie by the director of Seven and Gone Girl.
In the post, which went live Wednesday but was apparently written the day before, the “outgoing” Schrage admitted to hiring the Definers back in 2017, but for a good cause: He simply wanted to “diversify” their “DC advisers,” as one does. He also admits that his team asked the firm to target Soros, but only after he had called the site a “menace to society,” for reasons only God remembers. Wouldn’t you have done the same thing, namely spread news that Soros was funding opposition groups (even though you admit he only funded “several” activists)? Let ye who is without sin cast the first stone, amiright?
For a fall guy post, there’s still a lot of denying and dissembling, even as he lays hid body over the landmine to save those who might have planted it in the first place. Schrage even claims he did not ask the Definers to spread all the fake news that they definitely didn’t spread, despite the fact that they’ve since been let go of the company for not spreading fake news about a guy whose name is regularly used disparagingly by anti-Semites and anti-Semitic dog-whistling politicians.
And that’s why you’ll still be able to spend your Thanksgiving hearing your Red State family members blabber about all the factually false fake news written by failed satirists that they think is real, as depicted in this blood-curdling Washington Post article. Happy Turkey Day!