Among the revelations are alleged use of fake Twitter accounts, employment of an investigator allegedly linked to Brett Kimberlin, and a variety of other tools which, if exposed at the time the Rush secondary boycott was at its height, would have revealed the movement to be even more astroturfed than originally believed.
The recent revelations are important in another respect.
MSNBC commentator Krystal Ball was involved from the start in the StopRush movement, interacting with Angelo Carusone of Media Matters and a Twitter user going by the pseudonym “@Shoq” to form the working group to coordinate Twitter and online contacts with Limbaugh advertisers. I detailed all this in my post on March 21, 2012, Independent Rush boycott group coordinated with Media Matters.
Ball was one of the organizing participants, as detailed on the FAQ page of the original StopRush online website:
Ball continued to play a role on Twitter in pushing the Rush secondary boycott, but less was known about her participation with the group behind the scenes, such that she likely would have known about all the alleged tactics.
As Stacy McCain points out today, recent e-mails revealed at The Trenches indicate that Ball remained a key member of the group to the present day:
MSNBC host Krystal Ball was in close communication with leaders of an online boycott aimed at advertisers on Rush Limbaugh’s popular radio show, e-mails between the boycott leaders indicate.
Attempting to discover the identity of an infiltrator in their group, the #StopRush leader @Shoq (aka “Shoq Value,” who is believed to be an activist named Matt Edelstein) indicated that Ball had warned another member about the suspected “right wing disrupter.” The other member had “already inquired with Krystal last week, and Krystal said ‘we don’t like or trust this guy,’” Shoq wrote in an e-mail published Thursday by Brooks Bayne at The Trenches.
It is hard to believe that Ball would not know what was taking place behind the scenes at StopRush if she was involved in weeding out infiltrators.
As McCain points out, Ball just landed a spot on MSNBC’s new afternoon show, The Cycle:
MSNBC’s plan for a new 3 p.m. program is illustrative of a cable news trend. It’s an ensemble show with a cast of four fresh-faced political pundits.
The hour long show, given the name “The Cycle,” will start on Monday. It will be hosted by Touré, Krystal Ball, S.E. Cupp and Steve Kornacki, all of whom are contributors to MSNBC, a progressive-leaning cable news outlet. The network confirmed the lineup of hosts on Thursday, after reports by Politico and other news outlets.
I am not calling for MSNBC to fire Ball, not at all. But I do think that in order for viewers to put Ball’s commentary into perspective, Ball needs to come clean with what she knew about the tactics of StopRush and when she knew it.
I think it would be a great start to the program if on the first show S.E. Cupp asked that question.