A common claim of the alt-right is that anti-Trump protests are fake movements, financed by the Democrat-supporting Jewish billionaire George Soros. This claim solidified in November 2016 with the claim that protestors were being hired via CraigsList. Politifact define the trustworthiness of the story as ‘pants-on-fire’; Snopes as ‘false’ and Media Bias Fact Check define it as a ‘blatant lie’.
One of the most prominent articles supporting this claim is a focus on social media posts showing that a woman who is part of a campaign group also attended a protest in her free time.
The woman in question is an employee of the ‘New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice’. The group’s Facebook page (which has just over 1500 fans) describes them as being “dedicated to organizing workers across race and industry to build the power and participation of workers and communities”. Three of the eleven reviews are 1-star, one of them because “this is the group who attempted to disrupt democracy”.
If you’ve paid any attention to coverage of recent protests you’ll have seen politicians attending these events, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren among the most prominent. It’s hardly surprising that someone who cares enough about a cause to make it their career also attended a large protest in their spare time.
It’s not clear if the claims are fake news (deliberate attempts by TruthFeed, InfoWars and others to mislead), or bad journalism (genuine but inept attempts to uncover a hidden story). Bad arguments like Truthfeed’s don’t necessarily mean that the central claim is wrong.
But the fact that an advert was placed by someone (not necessarily anyone linked to Soros) doesn’t mean that Soros was involved in the process. As far as we can tell, the strongest most convincing evidence cited is a claim from “former Trump advisor Roger Stone” that he ‘infiltrated’ the crowd at a protest, and several were there in response to the advert. Stone doesn’t even appear to have claimed to have confirmation that money changed hands.