“A Billionaire Website with Ties to the Far Right Is Trying to ‘Cancel’ University Professors”
Alice Speri discusses the dark money funding behind Campus Reform. Speri not only follows the money but also demonstrates how Campus Reform has also become a platform for the far right. She writes:
The Leadership Institute has long been a major player in mainstream conservative politics, and its early alumni include Republican elected officials like Sen. Mitch McConnell and former Vice President Mike Pence as well as James O’Keefe, the right-wing provocateur behind Project Veritas, famous for his doctored videos targeting the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, and Planned Parenthood. There is a revolving door between the Leadership Institute, YAF, and other conservative youth groups like Young Americans for Liberty and Turning Point USA.
The group, however, also has a less-known history of ties to far-right movements and racist extremists. “There is actually a long history of close connections between the Leadership Institute and white nationalist organizations,” said Kamola, the Trinity professor. “The Leadership Institute has helped manufacture the right’s construction of anti-antifa hysteria, all while having a long history of platforming actual fascists.”
And demonstrates how material generated by Campus Reform often circulates within the far right online ecosystem:
Since rebranding as a news enterprise, Campus Reform has effectively been able to straddle between the mainstream conservative politics of its funders and a more radical audience active in fringe spaces and eager for content to feed its online wars.
According to an analysis by Media Matters for America, which monitors media and the web for conservative misinformation, Campus Reform stories have spread on Reddit as well as on social media platforms favored by the far right. Such platforms include Parler, the QAnon forum GreatAwakening.win, and Patriots.win, formerly thedonald.win, a forum for Trump supporters that moved to its own site after being banned by Reddit. “Our research has found that Campus Reform’s content tends to be shared in fringe social media spaces where we have seen consistent thematic overlaps with other content we know plays well with right-wing audiences,” said Stefanie Le, Media Matters’ deputy research director. “Similar to when an article from a conservative outlet goes viral on fringe platforms, users in these spaces attempt to focus on or invent conspiratorial implications of the stories and then use it to support other far-right narratives and stoke conversation.”