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Trump invites conservatives, including marginal personalities, to the White House for a social media summit



In addition to inviting leaders of traditional conservative think tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation and the Claremont Institute, the White House has also called for the presence of right-wing personalities and trolls, some of whom have defended theories of conspiracy, lies and misinformation.

This is perhaps the clearest example to date of President Trump legitimizing his marginal political allies.

The White House repeatedly refused to publish a list of people it would expect to attend, but some of the recipients turned to social media to boast of being invited.

Among them is Bill Mitchell, a radio host who defended the theory of extremist QAnon conspiracy on Twitter; Carpe Donktum, an anonymous troll who won a contest organized by the media organization Marginal InfoWars for an anti-media meme; and Ali Alexander, an activist who tried to sully Senator Kamala Harris by claiming that she was not a "black American" following the first democratic presidential debates.

The White House creates a tool for people to report prejudices on social media

James O 'Keefe, the guerrilla journalist whose group Project Veritas attempted to deceive the Washington Post's reporters by implanting a source who told the newspaper that she had been impregnated as a teenager by Republican Republican candidate Roy Moore ; Charlie Kirk, founder of the right-wing student group Turning Point USA, which sometimes publishes misleading information on social networks; and Benny Johnson, a journalist turned activist who was fired for plagiarism by BuzzFeed and demoted to the Independent Journal Review for violating company standards.

Asked about the unconventional resumes of people invited to the summit, the White House declined to comment beyond a statement released Tuesday. This statement by spokeswoman Judd Deere referred to an online tool released by the White House in May to allow people to report instances of perceived bias on social media.

"After receiving thousands of responses, the president wants to engage in a direct dialogue with these digital leaders about the power of social media," Deere said in a statement.

At least one of the guests has turned out to be too far away even for the White House. An administration official told CNN on Wednesday that the White House had canceled his invitation to cartoonist Ben Garrison, who had drawn a cartoon widely condemned as anti-Semitic.

Deere did not return a request for comment requesting more information on Garrison's invitation to be rescinded.

Garrison said in a statement that he had spoken to the White House on Tuesday and that it had concluded that "its presence at the top of social media would be a distraction for the media." Garrison said that he had been "invited to remain silent on the whole affair," but the White House then informed the media that his invitation had been canceled, which had "disappointed him" "and had pushed him to rule on the allegations of anti-Semitism.

"It's obvious to anyone with any sense that I'm not anti-Semitic," Garrison said in his release. "I have received many emails from my Jewish friends, I'm not anti-Semitic just because [Anti-Defamation League] said I am. "

We do not know exactly what will happen at the summit of Thursday. The White House has refused to disclose any information about the event, including a general format of how it will be conducted or what is expected of participants.

One person who intends to attend the meeting and who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity said: "We do not know what to expect. if it will be a policy issue. "

"All I know is that there's going to be a group of people in a room talking about social media," added the person. "It could be more general, it could be vague, you know that the president will be there so that it can go in different directions."

The summit will bring together right-wing media figures and conservative think tanks, but will not include representatives of major social media companies. As was announced for the first time by CNN, neither Twitter nor Facebook have received invitation to the event.

Allegations of anti-conservative prejudices in social media are not new. Republican lawmakers and conservative media figures have for years claimed the anti-conservative bias of Silicon Valley companies, whose employees tend to be largely leftist.

But Trump has thrown oil on the fire, regularly attacking big tech companies and suggesting that they must be regulated by the government.

At a meeting earlier this year with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Trump asked what was the number of subscribers he had on Twitter. The president has hinted, without proof, that Twitter is preventing his supporters from following him.

Republican congressional legislators also held hearings over the past year, during which they surveyed social media leaders about their company's practices.

Such hearings have often moved away from factual conversations. At a hearing last year, Republicans invited the social media duo "Trump & Silk", pro-Trump, to testify. Both women have spent the audience spreading misinformation about social media companies. At other hearings, Republican lawmakers cited articles from sites such as the Gateway Pundit right to argue their case.

CNN's Jake Tapper contributed to this report.


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