What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you hear the following words or phrases?: good, acceptance, approval, blessing, correct, affirmation, allow, right, not bad, green light, suitable, proper, countenance, go along with, accede, nod, agreed, alright, yes, all right.
If your first thought was white nationalist, you might be Davis Richardson, from the Observer. You could also be Chris Spargo, a reporter at the Daily Mail, or possibly you’re the young Emily Birnbaum, reporter at The Hill.
All three of these writers/reporters saw the photo posted by David Seaman, American journalist, researcher, and founder of Fulcrum News and their first thought was, "Woah, check out the white nationalism on that guy!"
Funny, this chance encounter with Fox News co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., (on our nation’s Independence Day) has been spun into a ridiculous and preposterous "conspiracy theory", in and of itself.
The photo was snapped by a friend of Seaman’s during a 30-second encounter with Guilfoyle at the gathering, and Seaman later uploaded the photo to his Twitter page along with the caption, "Cool meeting @kimguilfoyle ("ok" emoji, "party popper" emoji)." Guilfoyle took hundreds of photos that day with fans, why is this particular picture interesting enough to make headlines? The "OK" hand gesture that Seaman struck, while posing for the photo--now that was something that deserved a story!! This was the thought of not just one reporter, but several who considered the photo worthy of being front and center.
A little background on the hand sign itself:
The "OK" hand gesture is created by connecting the thumb and index finger into a circle, while the remaining fingers are relaxed in the air. This is a commonly used form of nonverbal communication and in many parts of the world is synonymous with the word OK or okay, denoting agreement, approval, or that all is well, according to Wikipedia.
The "OK" hand gesture is also used synonymously with the ever popular "thumbs up" gesture, which is commonly understood as a sign of approval.
In military survival situations where silence must be maintained, all types of hand signals have been adopted and are commonly used in situations that require visual communication instead of verbal.
Although outdated, the Army’s FM 21-60 manual provides several useful hand signals. The FM 21-60 manual shows a "thumbs up" signal to mean "I understand", making it and the "OK" hand sign interchangeable when used in a military maneuver.
Why would anyone in their "right mind" possibly connect the "OK" hand gesture with white nationalism?
The connection, made by the easily influenced and always offended, has been peddled by anti-Trumpers since around 2015 when a meme of "smug Pepe" began circulation on pro-Trump message boards.
President Trump uses the hand signal quite a bit while talking and if he’s giving a speech, you might just see him flash the "OK" sign every other sentence, depending on the subject at hand. Sometimes, he’ll do it a few times within a short amount of time when he’s delivering a speech and trying to stress a certain point being made. This doesn’t mean he’s sending a secret signal for alt-right, white nationalists or white supremacists to rise to action. If you’ve ever watched President Trump speak, he gesticulates every time he opens his mouth while addressing others-whether it’s a large crowd, small gathering, someone interviewing him, or even one-on-one.
The "OK" hand gesture is one that triggers Davis Richardson, writer for the Observer, as this is not the first time he’s written about the hand signal. In the hit piece written by Richardson on July 5th, he cites his own article, "How Internet Speak Furthered the Language of Fascism 2.0", published May 29th, 2018. Although this article seems to be another whiny, "feelings over facts" piece about the new version of fascism, I find it absolutely fascinating that those quick to pin anyone right-of-center as a fascist, are indeed, the fascists themselves. In the May article by Richardson, he does include a quote from Milo Yiannopoulos, that should be highlighted: "[When] CNN went crazy about the ‘OK sign’ supposedly being a white power movement, it was me and my friends having a laugh. It was literally seeing what crazy shit we could make CNN publish."--sometimes it’s simply trolling. Sometimes, it’s triggering people because they can’t separate their feelings from logic. Other times, it’s just a guy showing his happiness and joy over meeting someone who's work he admires and respects. Sometimes it’s just someone letting another person know that they’re alright.
On the Anti-Defamation League website, they address whether or not the "OK" hand gesture is a white supremacist hand sign and do an excellent job explaining where the hoax originated. That’s right, HOAX-and one of several that began on 4chan that the simple minded, easily influenced and easily offended ran with.
In February 2017 when an anonymous 4channer announced "Operation O-KKK", he expressed to others that "we must flood Twitter and other social media websites...claiming that the "OK" hand sign is a symbol for white supremacy." He included a graphic showing how the sign could be read as the letters WP, (standing for "white power") by outlining the letters W and P over the "OK" sign. Useful hashtags were then promoted to help spread the hoax by posters on 4chan which included #NotOkay and #PowerHandPrivilege. "Leftist have dug so deep down into their lunacy," wrote the poster, "We must force [them] to dig more, until the rest of society ain't going anywhere near that s***."
Shortly after, 4channers created fake email accounts and sock accounts on Twitter to bombard journalists and civil rights organizations with messages furthering the "OK" hoax. This hoax was just one of many where those on 4chan have tried to take innocuous symbols and gestures and falsely attach them to white supremacy, trying to trigger liberals and get them to spread the false message, which they inevitably have done.
Other hoaxes such as this originating on 4chan include the polar bear emoji from the Kik app being adopted by white supremacists as their symbol, and the "purity of white milk" hoax.
These recent hoaxes all stem from the mainstream media’s constant attention on how to divide the nation, all the while pinning white supremacy on anyone who supports Trump. The red MAGA hats are now being said to promote white nationalism and supremacy. This is a product of the mainstream media’s agenda to divide and conquer. This insane need to attach white nationalism to Trump is just another tool in the toolbox of liberalism and one that saturates mainstream media constantly.
So the real question is why is this something that was deemed remarkable and worthy of not just one story, but several by different political news outlets? Slow news day? These outlets took a nothing burger and spun it into a conspiracy theory all their own. David Seaman is actually Jewish, and one short web search would have produced that tidbit if any time at all had been invested into researching the subject being written about. This is defamation, and will be handled as such. There’s a plethora of notable, and worthy stories to be covered every single day, and these outlets normally stick to relevant stories to inform the public of what’s happening in the world around them. It’s not often that you see total character assassination by these outlets, and certainly not over a hand gesture, showing one’s joy during a 30-second encounter.
The circulation of these ludicrous claims have caused Seaman and other members of the Fulcrum News team to receive violent threats, including death threats. What may have started as a simple hit piece for certain outlets to use as filler between actual news stories, has quickly escalated to a dangerous situation, and one which has resulted in serious psychological harm to both Seaman and the Fulcrum team.
Legal counsel for Fulcrum has been contacted and are aware of the issue at hand. No further discussion will be made on the issue aside from today’s article, as the Fulcrum team intend to file a Complaint in federal court.
When asked for a comment on the defamatory articles Seaman stated, "I find it objectionable that Emily Birnbaum at The Hill seems to think two pro-Trump journalists who incidentally meet each other at the Trump Hotel cannot be photographed together, without institutionalized defamation hours later. We disagree, and will litigate this issue in court, especially when Birnbaum’s social media postings made in 2016 are troubling."
Written By FULCRUM Research Team