The Alabama Senate race between Democrat (and victor) Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore was heated and went down to the wire, but the public is still learning about some of the tactics employed by Democratic activists looking to push Jones over the top.
A new report by The New York Times reveals that an online campaign meant to look like a push by Moore’s Republican supporters to ban drinking alcohol in the state was really the creation of progressive Democrats looking to frighten moderates into opposing Moore.
The “Dry Alabama” campaign resulted in Facebook posts getting 4.6 million views and videos promoting the false flag message receiving 430,000 views, according to activist Matt Osborne, who told the Times he helped come up with the campaign.
Such tactics are perfectly legal under current campaign laws, but even those involved with the Dry Alabama campaign appear to acknowledge that this could—and perhaps should—change.
“The law has clearly not caught up with social media,” said Beth Becker, a consultant who handled Facebook ad spending for Dry Alabama, which raised $100,000. Based on current laws, however, Becker said, “I don’t think anything this group did crossed any lines.”
Facebook standards are meant to prohibit misrepresentations like those employed in the Dry Alabama campaign, but this remains difficult to enforce, as it is tough to determine the sincerity or motivation behind social media posts.
Osborne himself told the Times that he hopes the methods he used will eventually be put to an end, but until that day comes he sees no option but to continue, because he believes both sides are doing it.
“If you don’t do it, you’re fighting with one hand tied behind your back,” Osbourne said. “You have a moral imperative to do this — to do whatever it takes.”
This is the second false flag operation connected to the Alabama Senate race that was recently uncovered. The Times previously reported on another scheme, where opponents of Moore set up fake social media accounts to make it look like he was being supported by Russians.
[Image via Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images]