On Valentine’s Day, a 19-year-old former student of a Miami-area high school walked onto his former campus with an AR-15 style rifle and murdered 17 people, making it the third-largest school shooting in American history.
Why did he do it? Well, it depends on whom you ask and exactly what they may stand to gain from exploiting the massacre.
The day after the shooting, rumors briefly bubbled up online that the assailant, Nikolas de Jesus Cruz, was a member of Antifa. But this was quickly revealed to be a prank by a Twitter page calling itself Laguna Beach Antifa, a parody account that was subsequently suspended for the stunt.
Even if Cruz had been a member of Antifa, it’s doubtful this would have been widely hyped, seeing as how that uber-violent mélange of masked anarchist and communist misfits has largely received glowing and uncritical coverage in a mainstream press that seems largely obsessed with hunting “Nazis” while giving violent leftists a free pass.
Instead, the narrative that ruled the news cycle the day after the shooting was that Cruz was a member of a white-nationalist militia called the Republic of Florida, an obscure group run by a man with a fondness for military garb and adipose women.
The ADL spat forth the following tweet:
BREAKING: Spokesperson for white supremacist group Republic of Florida admitted to ADL that Nikolas Cruz, alleged perpetrator of deadly Parkland school shooting, was a member & trained with his group, which seeks to create a “white ethnostate.”
The Associated Press followed suit—or, depending on how strong you feel the ADL’s grip is over the media, they followed orders:
BREAKING: Leader of white nationalist group has confirmed suspect in Florida school shooting was member of his organization.
Based on my journalism training, if I’d called Republic of Florida leader Jordan Jereb and he told me that Cruz was a member of his group, here’s how I would have crafted my tweet:
BREAKING: Leader of white nationalist group says suspect in Florida school shooting was member of his organization.
See the difference? The ADL said that Jereb “admitted” Cruz was a member of the group as if he was merely confessing to a verified fact. The AP went even further, alleging that Jereb “confirmed” Cruz’s membership, which one would think might require some sort of hard documentation. The only undisputable fact was that Jereb said Cruz was a member.
Regardless, major media outlets such as CBS, Daily Beast, The New York Post, Fox News, Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times picked up the story and blasted to the world that Nikolas Cruz was a confirmed—rather than an alleged—member of a gun-toting white nationalist organization.
But later that day, Jordan Jereb posted on Gab that the “lying jew media” caught him off-guard while he was sleep-deprived and that he confused Nikolas Cruz with other group members named Nicholas:
This was a legit misunderstanding because we have MULTIPLE people named Nicholas in ROF. And I got a bunch of conflicting information and I have not slept for like 2 days. And so when ((( They ))) call me up and ask me yes or no questions, it’s easy for them to misrepresent what they say. Are you really going to blame ME for the lying jew media? We know they are liars. Fuck em.
Then it emerged that a commenter on the Alt-Right website The Right Stuff claimed it was all a prank that got out of hand. Apparently Jereb and his Florida militia are a running joke among certain Alt-Righters:
Jordan Jereb is a meme in the chat. We fuck with him on his live call in shows and he even hangs around in our group chat
shooting happens and autist from group goes on the shooter’s Instagram
ABC news reporter contacts the autist and he tells her that he knew the shooter. He gives her some other people’s numbers and they prank call her telling her that Cruz was a chubby chaser, always saying “read siege faggot”, and other spicy memes.
ABC blows up Jordan’s hotline and he knew it was our group so he played along. He said he wasn’t a member but only an affiliate and that he has some pictures.
we laugh our asses off and go to bed. We wake up and its international news
Daily updates with TM’s latest