Dr. Sebastian Gorka to Astroturf Protesters: You Are ‘Victims of Fake News’
Alex Wong/Getty Imagesby Adelle Nazarian & Edwin Mora
GEORGETOWN, DC – An astroturf protest campaign targeted Donald Trump’s national security adviser Dr. Sebastian Gorka Monday, who appeared on a panel on cyber security at Georgetown University. Gorka branded the protesters “victims of fake news.”
Approximately 20 protesters gathered inside the hall where the event was held with signs falsely accusing Gorka of being a Nazi, a war criminal, and a fascist.
At the prestigious foreign policy event, Gorka discussed a variety of topics relevant to foreign policy and national security scholars. His remarks focused primarily on personal experiences in dealing with fake news and the manipulation of facts by the mainstream media:
“Eight out of ten times, I can read something written in the daily paper about an event that occurred the night before, and it is literally 180 degrees incorrect,” said Gorka in his remarks to the crowded room. “It is totally contrary to what happened inside the building 80 percent of the time. That’s something that has opened my eyes to the lack of true investigative journalism.”
He labeled “the idea that a 22-year-old with access to Google is a journalist” as “problematic” and noted his view that the days of classic investigative journalism, which required in-depth research, “are behind us.”
Gorka discussed his parents’ experiences fleeing both Nazis and Communists in his native Hungary and how biased journalists have manipulated the facts of his early life to create the impression that Gorka himself is a member of the Nazi and Communist organizations he fled.
Gorka is not a member of a Nazi organization and has never pledged loyalty to any such organization.
The media accusations claim a pin Gorka wears to remind him of his parents’ struggle against communists and fascists ties him to these illicit groups. When he was eight years old, Gorka’s father was awarded a medal that is associated with a military order, the ‘Hungarian Order of Heroes, Vitezi Rend,’ created after the First World War. An anti-Communist organization gave it to him, recognizing him for his resistance to fascists and Communist dictatorship.
On Monday, he explained once again the story behind the pin he wears:
My parents died 14 years ago, and in their memory, for what they suffered under the Nazis and the Communists — my father tortured in the basement of Andrássy út 60 (the secret police headquarters of the fascists first and then the Communists)–I wear that medal to remember their suffering and their resistance. And today, because I work for somebody named Donald J. Trump, that fact is used as part of a fake news propaganda campaign that brought those people in the back of the room, sadly, to a point where they are the victims of fake news.
Gorka also confronted the leftist protesters about their signs calling him an antisemite and fascist. Two of the female students wore hijabs, and one man wore garments traditionally worn by observant Jews. He tied the Jewish prayer shawl (known as Talis) over his shoulders like it was a fashionable scarf:
Every single person holding a placard to protest my parents and myself, I challenge you now: Go away and look at everything I have said an written the last 46 years of my life and find one sentence that is antisemitic or that is anti-Israeli. Because you won’t find it. You’ll find the opposite. My book Defeating Jihad, everything I’ve said on the conference circuit–in Tel Aviv, in Jerusalem–tells you why I’m in this administration. Because this is one of the most pro-Israeli administrations in U.S. history. I’m sorry for you. You are the victims of fake news. But I’ll leave with this: I do what I do because I’ve learned that there is a connective tissue between Nazis, Communists, and Jihadists; they are all the same because they are all totalitarians. And if you perpetuate fake news, you are helping the bad guys.
Gorka cited a case study from the end of the Cold War by National Defense University’s Active Members Working Group as a model on how to identify and combat fake news during the Soviet era:
He explained how this group had “as its mandate, from the highest levels in the Reagan administration, the mission to identify Soviet propaganda, illuminate its sources, and destroy it from the inside to show just how much the message was a lie.” He suggested this group’s case study could be used to similarly combat fake news propagated over social media through mediums like Telegram and Twitter.
In conclusion, Gorka said:
What we are witnessing today–whether it’s RT, whether its ISIS tweets, Telegram–none of it is new. The platforms may be new, but the concepts of propaganda, dezinformatsiya, Maskirovka, none of these are true. They are just being packaged in new and far more effective ways. And this administration, with our allies and partners, including Israel, intends to take it very, very seriously. Thank you.
None of the few demonstrators congregated would talk to Breitbart News when Edwin Mora asked them to share their position on camera. Mora worked with Gorka during the latter’s tenure as Breitbart News’s National Security editor. Instead, the protesters shared a document accusing Breitbart News of perpetrating fake news.
No protesters responded to Gorka’s request to verbally defend their protest before the panel.