Twitter troll comes out of the closet at the Bulwark... big surprise!

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Bill Kristol by Gage Skidmore, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

Infamous twitter troll Brandt (@urbanachiever) finally decided to shed his anonymity today in the most glorious fashion, with the publication of an article at The Bulwark accompanied by the clapping seal applause of the usual suspects.

Brandt’s real name is Christian Vanderbrouk. According to his Bulwalarky bio, he was employed for the entirety of Bush 43’s administration. Vanderbrouk’s antics as Brandt are well known in conservative twitter circles. It was often noted that he would use the safety of his anonymity to viciously take on and attempt to de-platform conservatives he disagreed with.   He even got the much sought after (in NeverTrump circles) seal of approval as a “Salon Conservative” Perhaps his best known work was the Salena Zito hitjob, where the trolls attacked in a swarm in an attempt to cost Zito her job as a journalist:

The piece, by reporter Ashley Feinberg, was the culmination of months of speculation by reporters, but especially by a handful of anonymous Twitter accounts (including @rod_inanimate@UrbanAchievr@KT_So_It_Goes, and @cnn94cnn), that Zito was plagiarizing, mischaracterizing interviews, and, in the most serious allegations, fabricating quotes out of whole cloth.

Feinburg (owned BTW by Ted Cruz) and the trolls had cooked up some fairly thin gruel on Zito, designed to whip up the twitter mobs into a high dudgeon.  In the end, Zito’s editors stood by her and as even the unfriendly Vox article summed up, the evidence didn’t really point where the trolls wanted it to go.

Jim Swift, then of The Weekly Standard,seemed most happy to take note of and support the Zito project.  Which was odd, because Swift and Zito were then media colleagues, whose employers shared a parent company.  Ace of Spades took notice of this at the time:

Jim Swift also promoted anonymous twitter accounts, who seemed to be acting as if part of some paid political op, who were making career-ending (and almost completely spurious) charges against Selena Zito — who is technically Jim Swift’s colleague, albeit working for the Weekly Standard’s sister publication the Washington Examiner.

Why was Swift permitted to try to take down a colleague? Was he acting with the authority of some higher-up at the Weekly Standard? Seems he’d need some protection for going scalp-hunting a colleague.

Swift seems to be a real jewel of a guy, often taking delight in the travails of twitter banned conservatives:

Wherever these trolls seemed to be, there Swift appeared with an encouraging retweet and a knife ready to twist in someones back.  Is it a coincidence that having decided to finally reveal himself, Vanderbrouk chose of all places the Bulwark where Swift is employed?  On one hand,  it is fair to point out that seemingly every erstwhile and estranged conservative finds open arms at the Bulwark. On the other, Swift seems awfully interested in the comings and goings of supposedly anonymous (at least to the public) troll networks.  Swift is no stranger to Republican politics, having served for a time as a Capital Hill staffer, with previous Bush campaign experience.  Now we find out that the mysterious Brandt was employed somewhere in the Bush administration during its entirety.  Sure seems like a possible nexus that an enterprising journalist could sink their teeth into while investigating whatever is going with the Bulwark’s backroom political maneuverings.

The Bulwark of course, is comprised of the flotsam leftover from the wreckage of The Weekly Standard. Led by Bill Kristol and Charlie Sykes, the Bulwark curiously enough, is funded by leftist Pierre Odimayer.  This is strange because one would think that having any sort of conservative principal would preclude such a foolish thing.  I suspect that Odimayer was the “willing buyer” who the Standard’s apologists kept claiming was waiting in the wings to buy the publication if only Phil Anchultz hadn’t decided to murder it first.  If so, then kudos to Anchultz for taking the loss rather then allowing a once proud conservative enterprise to become another tool of the left.

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