When you hear about a cryptic death threat directed against you, the first thing that hits is a feeling of morbid curiosity. “Is it serious?” you ask. An existential dread sits in, you look over your shoulder but it never feels fully resolved.
This happened to me and a number of other journalists after blogger Eoin Lenihan, the far-right troll also known as “Progdad” listed us in an article he published with the far-right Australian commentary site Quillette. Lenihan’s article is an attempt to discredit journalists by trying to link us to antifascist activists based on the accounts we follow on Twitter.
While we would not view being connected to antifascist organisations as discrediting, in general, for the right, those groups represent a threat to them, so they try to paint “antifa” as violent extremists.
Lenihan thought this would be some kind of a groundbreaking study, presumably based on deep research, an idea that was quickly dispelled of having any empirical value since he merely grouped journalists who followed at least 16 “verified antifa” accounts. Quillette’s founding editor, Claire Lehman, follows far more than 16 far-right accounts, including white nationalists like Richard Spencer and Steve Sailer; should we automatically assume affiliation?