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Thread: Weird #walkaway video going viral on the right seems to be phony -- and a bad case of astroturfing

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Weird #walkaway video going viral on the right seems to be phony -- and a bad case of astroturfing

    I get criticism from leftists on this forum that I don't call out wrongdoing or lies on my own political side. Well, I'm doing exactly that in this thread.

    The #walkaway campaign was at first of interest to me. It appeared in 2018, and seemed to be a grassroots campaign of frustrated Democrats walking away from their own party because of the growing extreme left-wing politics. Having known some actual former Democrats who walked away (or came close) during the last 4 years, I thought this was an interesting movement.

    Even better, it was headed by a gay former liberal named Brandon Straka, who was disgusted with what his own party had become.



    However, I quickly lost enthusiasm for it when valid questions about #walkaway were raised. Photos of people "walking away" were proven to be manipulated stock photos. Straka had difficulty proving that he had any kind of large or semi-large following, and he started holding paid events for it. Here's a good article about #walkaway from October 2018, claiming that it "has all the signs of a grifting operation": https://thinkprogress.org/is-the-rig...-95dbce937e2a/

    For the past two years, I had forgotten about #walkaway, until this viral video appeared on my YouTube suggestions tonight -- one I'm seeing increasingly shared on social media:



    This was posted 2 weeks ago, but is rapidly gaining traction.

    "Georgia H" is supposedly a former liberal teacher who "walked away" from Democrats in late 2018, after experiencing far-left indoctrination of both students and other teachers at her school. She claimed to have been disgusted by identity politics, and concerned that her students were being taught to be think like victims, rather than simply striving to be their best. At first, her story seemed credible, and in fact quite realistic. It is true that education -- both higher and lower -- is infested with radical left-wing brainwashing. It seemed very possible that a liberal-but-logical teacher might get disgusted with the extreme left racial politics, and want to stand up against it.

    However, as it went on, I became suspicious and looked a bit more closely. Now I'm convinced it's BS, and is all astroturfing.

    Here's why:

    1) "Georgia H" has no other videos on YouTube except this one. She does not identify herself. We have no idea if she is who she claims, or if what she says is true.

    2) Conveniently, she ticks all the boxes of being pleasant to watch. She's pretty, but wholesome and not high-maintenance looking. She's intelligent and speaks well on camera. She can speak for 47 straight minutes (longer prior to editing) on the topic! She's a teacher who cares about her students! Notice that she's not a fat older dude, an ugly/trashy woman, or someone with a grating/irritating speaking presence. She has no piercings, crazy hair, or tattoos. Also notice that she has the perfect profession for such a video -- a teacher! She isn't a greedy businesswoman or someone else who would materially gain from Republican policies. In short, "Georgia" is exactly the type of woman you'd want to bring home to mom.

    3) Her story starts off reasonably, but then contradictions come quickly. She claims to have "walked away" at the end of 2018, but in the middle she talks about having been moved by something in the 2000s said by George W. Bush. Then she mentions that she was supposedly enraged by the media's handling of Ferguson in 2014, as well as Hillary's "hot sauce in my purse" incident in 2016. What?! Sounds like she walked away over a decade ago.

    4) She has an earpiece conveniently dangling during the video. Why? Likely talking points are being fed to her. I'm guessing "Georgia" is an actress. How often are YouTube videos done by someone wearing an earpiece?

    5) The second half of her video descends into a lot of detailed right-wing talking points, and don't seem to be the words of a former Democrat who just became frustrated with some major flaws in her old party. She's way too detailed, and by the middle she sounds like a FOX News co-host.


    Unfortunately, much like how a good "victim" story fools the sharpest minds on the left (see Smollett, Jussie), a good story of "charismatic former liberal realizes the error of their own ways" fools a high percentage of Republicans.

    Almost all of the comments are positive, and it seems nobody suspects a thing.

    After all, we WANT a person like Georgia H on our side. She's eloquent, sounds intelligent, softspoken-yet-logical, caring, and changed her political mind because she concluded that it's really Republicans who care about helping people, while Democrats are just performative. On top of that, she's attractive and a good speaker. She's pretty much every Republican demagogue's wet dream -- a liberal schoolteacher finally realizing the error of her progressive ways, and all of the goodness of conservatism.

    Too bad she's highly likely to be fake.

    In 2018, some outlets claimed that Russia was somewhat sponsoring #walkaway, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a Russian operation. Those reports could also be wrong, as there have been a lot of false "Russian propaganda" accusations over the last 4 years.

    I'm really curious who or what is really behind this.

    In the meantime, I've tried to politely advise conservative friends to quit sharing this, as I think they'll end up looking like fools when it's all done.

    I will say that this was pretty effectively done, and I can see how people are falling for it if they aren't approaching it with skepticism, like I do with pretty much everything nowadays.

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    Plutonium sonatine's Avatar
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    absolutely fascinating, this is all very new to me.

    the deepfake angle is going to be a motherfucker with this stuff.

    ill ping some gov threathunter types and see what they can add re perspective on the state sponsored stuff.
    "Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness." - Alejandro Jodorowsky

    "America is not so much a nightmare as a non-dream. The American non-dream is precisely a move to wipe the dream out of existence. The dream is a spontaneous happening and therefore dangerous to a control system set up by the non-dreamers." -- William S. Burroughs

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    The state of the country is so depressing. I made a joke with a buddy when the fly landed on Pence’s head that the fly will become a deep state plot and by the next day it wasn’t a joke. Some people believed it. When that debate was getting ready to start, you just knew what the pundits would say on every channel and that the candidates would say basically nothing.

    Shit all reminds me of a Dylan song from the 80s. The brain being mismanaged with great skill line just pops into my head daily.

    “Now, he’s hell-bent for destruction, he’s afraid and confused
    And his brain has been mismanaged with great skill
    All he believes are his eyes
    And his eyes, they just tell him lies”

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    Like you wake up this morning and see the headlines about Trumps health. So I search out Hannity clip and he coughs maybe once and clears his throat unless I’m missing something and there was a worse part.

    I thought he was wheezing and dying from comments I’ve seen.

    He may be sick af or almost completely fine, I have no idea. I just click off the days until the election and look forward to it going away. Yesterday I see a post on a friends account about Kamala being in charge and being a radical leftist and in control followed by a post of all the black people she’s imprisoned and this person has no idea of how contradictory those two things are. How they want those people for the most part imprisoned? Bizarro world. Everyone just throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks.

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Anyone want the video of "Georgia" I posted above? Do you get the same feeling as me that the whole thing is astroturfed, possibly by a foreign government?

    It's possible this was organized by Straka himself, noticing his movement is sputtering, and hoping to inject some life into it before the election.

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    Diamond BCR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Anyone want the video of "Georgia" I posted above? Do you get the same feeling as me that the whole thing is astroturfed, possibly by a foreign government?

    It's possible this was organized by Straka himself, noticing his movement is sputtering, and hoping to inject some life into it before the election.
    I watched most of it. I mean, it felt fake. It’s not that she walked away from the left. There are a number of intelligent people who have, and will continue to. I may have if they didn’t go the Trump direction and if not for how strongly I hate their health care positions. I hate the trend of much on the left. It’s simply what you prioritize.

    I mean I truly hate Michigan football. Wrap all your sports hatreds like the Giants and Clippers and magnify then by 100, and that’s how much I hate Michigan football. Like LeBron and Kershaw played together and San Was around.

    How did I troll them? When I was sick and had all day, I didn’t create shit. I mixed among them. Acted like one of them. I went to work on them like psychological warfare. I’d sew seeds of doubt among the fanbase by acting like one of them having some reservations about the direction of the program. You are 100x more effective that way. I hated them enough and was so bored that I’d kill hours.

    I see most foreign intervention as similar. It must be great to go to work every day if you hate America and you get paid to create discord. We are such fertile ground. I think most of the time they just latch onto something that might be organic and small and then blow it up.

    This chick is like Keri Russel Americans level believable if she’s a foreign plant. I think she’s inauthentic, but she doesn’t strike me as likely put up to it by foreigners, but wtf do I know?

    The weird thing is, if she’s real, in today’s world, how do we not know who she is? She’s simply too attractive to forget? If she was real, there would be ex teachers saying yeah I worked with her, that’s heather and she really was a liberal. Or there would be some guy who grew up with her and is liberal saying that’s Beth, and she’s always been a right winger. If she was an actress I’d assume she lives among liberals, so you assume they’d blow her up.

    I guess we will see, but I don’t believe her version, no. Not some recent convert. Probably always right or she’s acting, but it’s not impossible she’s real? If she’s real, I’d guess she got married to a right winger recently. I can generally change the politics of women I date if they really like me. It’s possible she got married to someone who converted her.


    Being a hot viral anonymous figure seems impossible though. That’s hard to pull off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Anyone want the video of "Georgia" I posted above? Do you get the same feeling as me that the whole thing is astroturfed, possibly by a foreign government?

    It's possible this was organized by Straka himself, noticing his movement is sputtering, and hoping to inject some life into it before the election.
    I watched all but about 4 minutes as the end. And as one of this forum’s more liberal members, I’m going to go on record and say that I believe she is not acting. In fact, as a former educator, albeit at the college level, as well as a resident of New Jersey, which has a ridiculously administrator-heavy public school system, I can empathize with what she said about how fuck up the public school system is. So, that part of her story seems totally genuine. And even this liberal believes that the lowering of standards for less advantage students has resulted in a disaster for them. A classic case of the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

    But let me get away from discussing the details of *what* she said in this video and instead focus on a likely subtle clue that to me suggests that her story is genuine, and that is her body language throughout it. Because if she was acting, it seemed to me a pretty good job if so. For example, her eye movements and hand gestures when recounting things looked genuine to me, and not unnaturally trying to convince. So, from that I learn towards believing she was being genuine.

    And I will even go so far as to say that I believe her political conversion from liberal to conservative was genuine. And that she even actually watches and appreciates new media personalities like Dave Rubin and Ben Shapiro. Especially coming from the experience she mentioned in her story. But there’s a double-edge sword here with that last part, which for me explains her wholesale condemnation of the “mainstream media”. And it is this: Dave Rubin is a fraud as a journalist, who to me has zero credibility, as he never in a meaningful way challenges the guests in his show who peddle bullshit as truth, or even disrespect him to his face about his homosexuality, even his good buddy, Ben Shapiro!

    So, how does this explain to me her wholesale condemnation of the mainstream media? Because she doesn’t strike me as particularly bright. And liking watching Dave Rubin is a huge red flag in that department.

    So, overall, my sense is that she genuinely was a loyal Democrat for years and did have a political awakening to some serious deficiencies, actually serious problems with some social left ideologies, but that she is too dim of a mental bulb to recognize the bullshit and lies that talking heads on the right, like those who appear on Dave Rubin’s show, as well as Ben Shapiro hinself, that she now follows are feeding their audiences. Because while those folks do sprinkle in some truth into their arguments that can resonate with reality, they also inject a lot of bullshit in their arguments that someone less discerning in filtering out from the truth, like “Georgia H” here, won’t readily be able to detect.

    So, yeah. My vote is “probably authentic”. That being said, I’d be tickled pink if solid evidence were to come out that proves me utterly wrong here, as I wouldn’t put it past some conservative huckster being behind manufacturing this video “out of whole clothe”.
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    Somewhat related:





    Appears to be mostly white people (lol) but a decent number of them.

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    BUMP

    Well, I have an update to this mystery.

    Georgia H's real name is supposedly Georgia Howe. Here's a statement she posted on her YouTube video posted above, sometime in 2021 (several months after the video was released):

    NOTE I work for daily wire now! I do a weekly show called Office Hours, and a daily show called Morning Wire! I’m still somewhat social media phobic but you can find me on IG @georgiamaehowe **

    Teach for America made me abandon the racism of the left. AOC made me abandon the left altogether. #walkaway #walkawaycampaign

    I am a bit overwhelmed with the way this video has blown up (despite persistent shadow banning from YT!), and i really appreciate the thoughtful comments i've received. i noticed a few themes in the comments and i continue to get the same questions, so i want to address them here!

    1) I did not jump from blind loyalty to democrats to blind loyalty to republicans. i simply came to the realization that i am not represented by leftism (which has overtaken the dem party), and I align better with conservatism. Typically that means i prefer the republican candidate, but i have no strong party loyalty. as many of you mentioned there is plenty wrong with the GOP as well. I purposefully did not include a ringing endorsement of the GOP for that reason.

    2) i have specific and compelling reasons why i am conservative vs libertarian or moderate etc. and i arrived at those reasons through a lot of introspection and research. i am less concerned about the superficial issues of today and more concerned about the enduring principles we stand on, as well as procedural adherence to our founding documents. I've read a lot of Burke, Scruton, Sowell, etc. and i was impressed with their arguments. i did not expound on those arguments in the video because i didnt want to babble on for hours. If you want to understand conservatism, those writers are a wonderful place to start (try sowell, hes all over YT!), or check out ben shapiro. the point of this video is not to make people conservative, but rather to explain why some people choose not to be leftist.

    3) i do value biblical morality, and I find the truthfulness and wisdom of it very compelling. i prefer to avoid appealing to religion in discussions of politics because i think it can alienate nonreligious people.

    4) i am very certain that nowhere in the video did i say "racism doesnt exist", but if that was your impression i will clarify. racism exists, it's an endemic human evil, and we ought to do our best to fight it any place we see it. my intention in this video was to shine light on an overlooked element of racism that is running rampant under the guise of "morality". i think the stealthy way this type of racism works is particularly dangerous and insidious. I believe telling a child they are hated by their society and doomed to fail is the most oppressive form of all. anyone who hates racism should be up in arms about this with me. we ought to fight it as ferociously as we fight other forms of racism.

    5) i am very aware of the marxist influence on society and I have been monitoring this trend for the past 2 years since waking up. it is clear to me that there is a persistent effort afoot to divide us along color lines. the true intention of this video was not to sway voters in the upcoming election, but rather to undercut the divisive marxist messaging that now pervades the west. i want people to see that ‘compassion’ run amok can be weaponized, and it can take us further from healing, not closer. the internal cancer that is marxism is much bigger and broader than this election or even this country.

    6) i am not a russian bot! nor am i an actress (as flattering as that is!). the reality is i posted this video on my facebook and it blew up. trust me no one is more shocked than me.

    7) this has been hard on me, socially. a lot of people i care about would prefer i take this video down and i often think about it. However, I feel like the situation were in as a country requires us to be brave and take the flack.

    8) i WILL make more videos, eventually. For now find me at daily wire!

    9) i love and respect a LOT of dems, and i dont want to bash them. i just wanted to make this video so people would understand our side a little better. also, i have a lot of love for REAL liberals who think for themselves, even if they come to different conclusions. i dont think the dems represent them very well at the moment either.

    10) I ESCAPED LA! I now live in Nashville. Email me with your recommendations! Looking for a church and maybe a fella to go with me haha

    Here is her Instagram: https://instagram.com/georgiamaehowe

    She now has a show called "Office Hours with Georgia Howe", and airs as a short companion show to Dennis Prager's "PragerU" on Daily Wire, which is Ben Shapiro's network.





    There is no real evidence that she was ever a teacher. Furthermore, I find no evidence that her real name is Georgia Howe. It seems to be a stage name. I do not see any Georgia Howe in Nashville (her current location, which is Daily Wire's headquarters), and the only Georgia Howe I see in Los Angeles is a 41-year-old interior designer, who is a different person.

    Right now I'm wavering between two possibilities: 1) She was a plant by Daily Wire in order to make her a relevant contributor to PragerU's show.... or 2) She was an ambitious social media chick who saw an opening on how to make a viral video and get noticed, and this resulted in a Daily Wire job.

    Either way, this still looks like a load of bullshit to me. Curiously, I haven't seen any mention of her by Ben Shapiro himself. I've watched almost every episode of his for the past 2 years, and I haven't seen her promoted at all. Perhaps she's just an actress signed by PragerU, and Daily Wire's involvement simply is due to being the parent company of PragerU since 2020.

    Weird.

     
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