Co-Executive Director of the Center for Integral Wisdom, Lisa Engles, wrote two excellent pieces elaborating on the case study of Marc Gafni, distinguishing the True Marc Gafni Story from the mass of false claims, manufactured victim voices, and other atrocities.
The first one is called:
Using the Internet to Attempt Social Murder: The Marc Gafni Case
In it she describes how we have seen “over the past year in our election cycle, the internet has become a tool for the circulation and perpetuation of gross falsehoods and distortions.”
She then refers to the “5 challenges facing today’s social media” from Wael Ghonim’s TED-Talk:
First, we spread rumors that confirm our personal biases. Second, we create ‘echo chambers’ in which to communicate only with people who share the same beliefs as us. Third, online discussions can (and often do) quickly turn into angry mobs. Fourth, it’s nearly impossible to change our opinions once we’ve posted them since everything ‘lives’ on the internet indefinitely. And Fifth, our online experience is designed for shallow comments over deep conversations. In other words, the internet has become a forum which allows for the bypassing all of the mechanisms of justice and integrity upon which this great country is founded.
Engles then goes on:
In this light, I think you will find the following case study an unnerving example that speaks directly into Ghonim’s points. You will discover how the internet is used to crowd-source a witch hunt in an effort to publicly shame and ultimately commit social murder of innocent people. And finally, you will realize the sobering truth: That this could happen to anyone, including you.
One Bloggers Attempt To Socially Murder Cultural Leader Marc Gafni: How To Manufacture A Sex Scandal
There is a second piece on Medium, entitled “One Bloggers Attempt To Socially Murder Cultural Leader Marc Gafni: How To Manufacture A Sex Scandal“. In it, Engles calls out the tactics of one specific blogger but also putting that into a larger perspective:
While the story itself has not drawn much attention outside of the relatively small new-age/ new-thought community, it serves as a classic example of how digital journalism (blogging) can be and is used in the post-truth/ post-fact era to publicly shame, bully, and disseminate lies across the web.
In answering the question “Why should we care?”, she quotes Ralph Keyes
Lisa elaborates on the tactics the smear campaigners deploy:
The blogger uses these precisely layered ‘facts’, manipulative images and careful use of sexual predator terms to publicly bully Gafni’s associate, into denouncing him. The consequence of not meeting the demands? A public shaming and call to boycott his organization.
This is the “smear or be smeared” tactic of McCarthyism and particularly it’s modern incarnation, Sexual McCarthyism.