This time the infiltration of a legitimate grassroots movement in Occupy Wall Street didn’t come from Dick Armey and his astroturfing FreedomWorks, but from the right-wing media. An assistant editor with the conservative American Spectator admitted in a column to posing as part of the 99 Percent Movement in D.C. to “mock and undermine” it. Classy.
Patrick Howley is an assistant editor and set about disrupting the protest by instigating violence to discredit the movement and to presumably mine material for his column in the Spectator.
His column details how he took part in Saturday’s demonstrations at the Smithsonian Institute’s Air and Space Museum (the Spectator has now removed that column). Approximately 100 to 200 anti-war demonstrators arrived at an exhibit about the drone aircraft the American military uses for spying and even targeted killings.
Howley with others rushed the entrance of the museum despite warnings from the guards causing them to fire pepper spray to the groups. It wasn’t until bloggers at Fire Dog Lake identified Howley and labeled him an “agent provocateur” did he come clean in his column and admit the mission.
Howley’s stunt shows a few telling things about the current state of the conservative movement. One, they are terrified of legitimate political discourse, which we can assume is the natural consequence of successfully manipulating the political narrative for the past decade and more. Two, they have little, if any ethics.
And three, this movement has them worried.
Photo from _PaulS_ via flickr.