CNN reporter Drew Griffin confronted an elderly woman on her front lawn in Florida about publicizing a pro-Donald Trump event during the 2016 presidential election, resulting in the senior citizen receiving abuse and threats on social media.
Florine Gruen Goldfarb, 76, of Team Trump Broward County, unwittingly posted information on the group’s Facebook page about a small August 2016 pro-Trump rally that was allegedly promoted by Russian trolls. During the interview, Goldfarb’s full name was revealed and her house number was readily visible.
“[Goldfarb] had no idea that her Team Trump Broward County Facebook page was targeted by Russian operatives, but that didn’t stop Griffin from haranguing her anyway,” the Daily Caller insisted.
With a “Being Patriotic” Facebook page, a Kremlin-affiliated group touted and coordinated similar pro-Trump rallies throughout Florida, according to the February 16 federal indictment from the Mueller team.
In the brief exchange with the CNN correspondent embedded below, the Washington Free Beacon noted, Goldfarb denied having anything to do with Russia and called BS on Griffin’s premise that she was in electronic communication with the Russians. After CNN aired the interview, the online harassment began from Trump haters, Breitbart News reported.
“On her Facebook page, she was savaged by CNN viewers as a ‘stupid old hag,’ a ‘traitor,’ a ‘treasonous hillbilly,’ ‘ugly,’ and ‘racist trash.’ The woman was also physically threatened.”
She also expressed gratitude for the support she’s received from Trump supporters around the world. Fox News contacted the police department in her town in the context of the threats, but officials have apparently not yet responded.
Leaving aside the long-running feud between CNN and President Trump, the footage prompted many observers across the ideological spectrum to wonder why the network singled out this particular woman.
As the left-leaning Salon website observed, “Goldfarb is a private individual, not a public official or a celebrity with great power or social-media influence. What public service is provided by shaming or confront [sic] her?”
Several liberal/progressive journalists such as Yashar Ali, Glenn Greenwald, and Jeremy Scahill, none of whom are Trump fans, took to Twitter to express similar sentiments.
This is nuts. A woman living in her suburban home doesn’t deserve this badgering. She didn’t mastermind the conspiracy and she’s not a public official or a person known to the public. https://t.co/yMCLtajx0X— Yashar Ali ???? (@yashar) February 21, 2018
Despicable: CNN hunts down an ordinary citizen at home, accusing her of aiding Russia because she promoted an event on FB that Mueller says Russians organized.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 21, 2018
Go ask Michael Moore why he did that. Ask Joy Reid why Russian bots RT her so much. Challenge power. This is bullying https://t.co/pLbRGRuS4I
In CNN had ambushed a random #Resistance activist who unwittingly promoted on her FB page a Russian-organized anti-Trump event (as Michael Moore did), blasting her name everywhere, subjecting her to harassment, I wonder if opinions about CNN's behavior would be different? Hmmm. https://t.co/Qo6ZU3JqHZ— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 21, 2018
Also, that woman is now receiving a deluge of vicious, nasty attacks and threats on her Facebook page. CNN could have talked to her without broadcasting her image and name everywhere. It was stunt journalism that resulted in her being harassed mercilessly.— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) February 21, 2018
Moreover, the Robert Mueller indictment of 13 Russian nationals affiliated with an alleged so-called troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency, as alluded to above, indicated that the trolling also involved pro-Clinton and pro-Bernie Sanders activities to sow discord in the U.S. political system. It also turned out that MSNBC’s Joy Reid, who is stridently anti-Trump, was apparently the trolls’ favorite political pundit. And Trump foe Michael Moore marched in the “not my president” rally outside of Trump Tower in New York City on November 12, 2016, a protest orchestrated by Russian trolls allegedly pretending to be American grassroots activists. This event received hours of coverage on CNN.
Mrs. Goldfarb provided this reaction to Fox News about the controversy that she found herself in.
“I am being trashed by anti-Trump trolls on Facebook. This would have never happened if Fake News CNN had not caught me at home and ambushed me trying to coerce me into giving them the answers they were looking for. CNN is doing a great job exposing themselves as Fake News.”
Trump has famously described CNN as very fake news in part because of what he considers the disproportionate coverage of the Russia collusion narrative. Back in July 2017, CNN threatened to dox the person who created the viral wrestling meme depicting Trump closelining the CNN logo and which prompted the hashtag #CNNBlackmail to trend. Doxing means publishing someone’s personal information, such as residence address and phone number, on the web to their detriment and potentially putting them at risk physically and economically
Separately, CNN foes argue that the network turned the Wednesday evening televised town hall about gun violence following the horrific mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, (which is also in Broward County) into a pro-gun-control political rally.
Parenthetically, writing on Medium, tech entrepreneur Trent Lapinski weighed in on the trolling issue.
“Democrats had their own troll army called Correct the Record or CTR, managed by David Brock. They paid actual people to harass, and censor Trump supporters, and spread their own propaganda. They thought this approach would be effective, but in my opinion it backfired and actually alienated people and pushed them to become Trump supporters who originally had no intention of voting for him…”
A Florida woman who ran a Trump supporters page that unwittingly promoted a Russian-coordinated event on Facebook says she doesn’t believe that she was influenced by Kremlin-linked trolls https://t.co/fhcT0MyxUA pic.twitter.com/dOG3xXFpTw— CNN (@CNN) February 21, 2018
Added Salon about the Florine Gruen Goldfarb interview,
“Apparently, the purpose of this CNN report was to find American voters who fell victim to the manipulation of a nefarious instigator…We can be angry that some people (on both the right and left) fell prey to a campaign of exploitation, but the rush to identify individuals as stooges of outside manipulation — as if their opinions were not legitimate, or not their own — only highlights our collective obsession with finding blame at the expense of inward reflection. Russian trolls didn’t make the grievances held by voters or activists in any of the targeted groups less real, and journalists of all people should be wary of attempts to discredit political speech or discount unorthodox opinions.”
The doxing of the Florida Trump supporter is a developing story; please check back for updates.