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Devin Nunes' attempt to silence his critics backfires spectacularly

Devin Nunes is finding out the hard way that trying to suppress information often just publicizes it more widely.

By Caroline Orr - March 20, 2019
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Devin Nunes

Things are not going as planned for Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who on Monday filed a lawsuit against Twitter and several of its users for being mean to him.

In the lawsuit, Nunes named two parody accounts — “Devin Nunes’ cow” and “Devin Nunes’ Mom” — that he claims have made “libelous” statements about him.

Now, thanks to the publicity stemming from the ridiculous lawsuit, one of those accounts (@DevinCow) has amassed more than 150,000 new Twitter followers in less than 24 hours, and a slew of new parody accounts have popped up to join in on the fun.

When Nunes filed the lawsuit, the Twitter account only had about 1,000 followers, according to McClatchy. An archived copy of the Twitter account shows it had just under 5,000 followers by late Monday.

By early evening on Tuesday, “Devin Nunes’ Cow” had more than 158,000 followers.

While Twitter had already suspended “Devin Nunes’ Mom” by the time Nunes filed the lawsuit, a new account, “Devin Nunes’ Alt-Mom” (@NunesAlt), purporting to be operated by the same person who ran the suspended account, was created and now has thousands of followers.

Meanwhile, Twitter has exploded with new accounts mocking Devin Nunes, including “Devin Nunes’ Dad” (@NunesDad), “Devin Nunes’ Grandma” (@DevinGrandma), “DevinNunesGoat” (@GoatNunes), “Devin Nunes’ Farm” (@DevinNunesFarm), “Devin Nunes’ Lawyer” (@LawyerNunes), and “Devin Nunes’ Spine” (@DevinNunesSpine).

The hilarious backlash to Nunes’ attempt to silence his critics is a classic example of the Streisand effect, which describes a phenomenon whereby an attempt to suppress information ends up publicizing it more widely.

But as ridiculous as the lawsuit is, this is par for the course for Nunes, who spent much of 2018 attacking his local paper and running from his constituents.

Last October, Nunes created an entire fake magazine just to attack his hometown newspaper, the Fresno Bee, for not being nice to him.

A few months before that, Nunes published an ad falsely accusing the paper of working with “radical left-wing groups” to produce “fake news stories.”

He also lashed out at the California newspaper when a reporter asked if he planned to hold any open forums in his home district, which he has not done since 2010.

Nunes apparently still holds a grudge against the Bee. In the new lawsuit, he cited political strategist Liz Mair as another example of Twitter letting people make “libelous” statements against him — but all she did was share an article from the Bee.

And now, thanks to his efforts to hide that information, the entire country is looking at the very thing that Nunes didn’t want anyone to see.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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