Users of Facebook are familiar with fake profiles. Most of the time, it’s some creep trying to trick users and steal thier identities. Other times, it’s a marketing gimmick for porn sites.
And in Atlantic County, Jim Whelan’s campaign is creating fake Tea Partier Facebook profiles to trash his opponent, Vince Polistina, on Polistina’s Facebook page, while building Whelan up. It’s the Facebook version of Peter DeStefano. Then Whelan crossed the line by using these false profiles to personally attack Polistina’s wife.
A little background.
Both candidates have Facebook pages. In the spirit of social media, the Polisitina campaign allows anyone to post on their Facebook wall to allow discourse on the race. Polistina even directly answers questions posed by Facebook users. In the spirit of Big Brother, Jim Whelan doesn’t allow anyone to post on his Facebook wall.
Over the past few weeks, however, some strange posts have been made on the Polistina wall. Users with no friends, no pictures and who only “like” tea party Facebook pages started posting Whelan talking points, word for word, on Polistina’s Facebook page. It was obvious that these were fake profiles, created for the sole purpose of making it look like Polistina’s base didn’t support him. Pathetic.
I first dismissed it as an overzealous (and lonely) Whelan supporter. After the Peter DeStefano debacle in 2010, where the DNC supported a fake Tea Party candidate to siphon votes from Jon Runyan, I didn’t think any Democratic candidate would be arrogant enough to try something like that again. So I watched with amusement as the fake profiles repeated Whelan’s lies.
Then on Sunday, it was revealed that these fake profiles were created and administered by the Whelan campaign.
On Sunday, one of the fake profiles (Michael Clark, I believe) commented on a photo on the Polistina Facebook page. The Polistina page started to comment back, and there was a nice back and forth going between the two (the fake user has since been blocked, and per Facebook policy, all of his posts were deleted as a result). Then, all of a sudden, the Whelan Cooper & Tyner page responded as though they were Michael Clark! Whelan’s Facebook page posted the following when a campaign staffer thought they were still logged on as Michael Clark.
Honestly, because I have lived here my entire life and like most people from Atlantic County know Jim to be a man of great integrity. I have not always agreed with everything that he has done but I will never question his character. Now will you answer a voters question about these no bid contracts and a judge raising money for one of your candidates?”
The staffer in charge of the Whelan Facebook effort forgot to switch profiles before commenting and just revealed to the world Whelan was behind all the fake Tea Party profiles! Realizing that, the staffer immediately deleted their comment and thought they had covered it up, but we have an email directly from Facebook, Inc. that proves it existed (Redacted email addresses for privacy reason).
If the Whelan campaign allowed comments, however, then they’d know that the admin of the Facebook gets an email whenever someone leaves a comment that tells them who wrote and what they wrote. Save Jersey has obtained a copy of that email, and can verify that it was the official Whelan Cooper & Tyner Facebook page which made the post, and was behind all the fake profiles and comments.
So Jim Whelan’s campaign is creating fake Tea Party profiles to undermine his opponent AND claim that he is a man of integrity? Using lies and deceit to show he is honorable and trustworthy? Did he learn nothing from Adler & DeStefano? This complete lack of moral character on Whelan’s part shows just how desperate his campaign has become. It’s sad & pathetic.
But Whelan’s campaign was not satisfied just crossing that line. Oh no. This is Jim Whelan we’re talking about here, people. His campaigns make mud look clean. Jim Whelan decided to lap himself and cross the line a 2nd time.
On Friday, one of the fake Tea Party profiles created and controlled by the Whelan campaign posted a vicious personal attack against Vince Polistina’s wife on the Polistina Facebook page (it was immediately taken down). She is not a candidate, she is not running for anything, yet the official policy of Whelan’s campaign is to launch personal attacks on her! While pretending to be grassroots activists from her husband’s side, no less!
Congrats Senator. You managed to hit a new low, even for you. And considering how low you’ve gone before, that’s saying something.