"Ammon Bundy, the figure at the center of an extremist antigovernment occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, appeared to make an announcement on Twitter yesterday –– his struggle against the federal government was in the same tradition as Rosa Parks’ civil disobedience.
Coverage of the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge until then included many articles on the racial double standard between armed whites threatening violence while protesting the government and the peaceful, if confrontational tactics, of racial justice protests like Black Lives Matter.
The tweet about Rosa Parks hit a nerve for observers everywhere. Publications including The Washington Post, USA Today, Mediate, and The New Republic ran stories with headlines like “Oregon 'militia' leader says he's doing the 'same thing' as Rosa Parks." The problem? The Twitter account was a total fake.
Gizmodo was the first to discover another Twitter account, @TheSaintNegro29, that was crowing about the success of their fraud and posting correspondences they had via the account with journalists. That account, with its obviously racist name, was marked with racist images of the major players in the Oregon standoff. Diving deeper into other images the account tweeted, the racist images got worse and worse.
The publications that ran stories on the fake account soon ran corrections. But this was not the first time a extremist troll was successful in hijacking a media moment. And in all likelihood, it won’t be the last."