Another straw in the wind of self-devouring democracy: Islamophobic tweets lead to "doxxing" and threats

This is a powerful and complex story of "collateral" damage caused in large part by the inveterate Twitter Islamophobe - and all-round piece of work - Amy Meckelberg. Her poisonous racist tweets had a considerable following (Trump had tweeted directly to her) and proved too much for a reporter from the Huffington Post. Meckelberg had tweeted that "500K Muslims will invade Europe this summer" under @amymek when reporter, Luke O'Brien, outed her background and referred to her (oblivious to everything) brother's restaurant business in Brooklyn. Within an hour of the story breaking, the restaurant had emptied - and stayed that way. The term for outing someone's personal details and background is "doxxing" - a new word for me -- and a series of threatening messages were quickly aimed by Meckelberg's supporters (you can guess which part of the political spectrum they are from) against the reporter - including death threats.

To complicate things, the reporter learned that Meckelberg's husband (improbably) named Sal Siino was (even more improbably) the senior vice president of WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and he has since lost his job because of his wife's tweets. The violent threats against the journalist - and then against the editorial team at Huffington Post - are still coming.

“This actually does lead to real violence — that’s my real fear,” Mr. O’Brien said Monday. “Someone just shows up with an AR-15 and thinks they’re doing God’s work.” Indeed. 

Guilt by association is always unfair. Clearly the journalist should not have dragged Meckelberg's brother or husband into the affair. But the Meckelberg tweets have exposed not just the polarisation but the increasing radicalisation inherent in American society. It's a nasty business... and Trump is never very far away.

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Threats, doxxing and real violence. Symptomatic of a fractured polity