August 7, 2017 Last Updated 8:28 am

Twitter suspends account of Trump supporter after it is found to be a case of identity theft

Morning Brief: On Saturday, the president retweeted a message of support from user who set up account to sell pro-Trump merchandise, on Monday he again targeted the ‘failing’ New York Times, calling the paper ‘totally inept’

The president this morning again used Twitter to attack The New York Times, then went on to target Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut after he went on CNN to discuss the growing investigation of the president.

Despite being officially on vacation at his golf club in New Jersey, the president could not stay out of the media’s sights. On Saturday, the president retweeted a post from someone supposedly named Nicole Mincey, but who was soon found to be a fake account, discovered when Twitter users found that the profile picture used for the account was, in fact, stock photography.

Reporters, I believe, are finally waking up to the size of the propaganda effort being used to prop up the president. A Twitter audit of the president’s own account finds 13 million of his ‘followers’ to be fake accounts, for instance.

On Sunday, reacting to the controversy, Twitter suspended the account.

Most news organizations shy away from investigating these fake or bot accounts. The reason is that Twitter does not require a user to link to a personal website or Facebook account, so often a search for a user turns up nothing — and a lack of evidence of someone’s existence is not, of course, evidence of the account being fake, just a lack of evidence that it is real.

But this ‘Nicole’ account was actually created to sell Trump merchandise, which will mean that the real Nicole Mincey, whose identity was stolen to create this account, now can find and sue the creator of the fake Twitter account.

That has not stopped some right-wing websites from protesting that the pro-Trump Nicole is real, though subsequent events have proved somewhat embarrassing for them.

Heavy.com:

‘Nicole Mincey’ Audio: Accused Bot Gave Radio Interview

President Donald Trump opened a can of worms when he retweeted a now-suspended Twitter account using the name of “Nicole Mincey” and wrote, “thank you, Nicole!” A person using that persona – accused of being a “bot” on Twitter – has appeared on the radio, and you can listen to the audio later in this story.

However, the real college student linked online to the “Nicole Mincey” persona (but whose name is different) now alleges her Facebook account was hacked and her identity used to sell Trump merchandise.

Inquisitor.com, Paula Mooney:

Black Conservative Gets A Trump Twitter ‘Thank You’: ‘Pro-Trump 45’ Website Owner Nicole Mincey Is Not A Bot

Nicole is a student at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, and once taught disabled children. The 21-year-old has gained plenty of attention after Trump’s thank you – with the Heavy article getting more than 23,000 views within hours. Nicole said she grew up in a state of poverty in New Jersey, with Nicole hailing from a conservative family. With plenty of praise for President Trump, Mincey used a different photo of a woman who wasn’t Nicole, reported Heavy, which added to some of the confusion about Mincey being a real person or a bot.

Nicole has a presence on Instagram as well, as can be seen in a below photo from Nicole’s Instagram account. (Update: The Instagram account has been removed.)



One of the president’s tweets this weekend actually involved policy, and could genuinely be considered a success: the unanimous passing of more UN sanctions against North Korea. On Saturday the president tweeted “United Nations Resolution is the single largest economic sanctions package ever on North Korea. Over one billion dollars in cost to N.K.”

Today, likely understanding that the new sanctions will seriously effect its economy, North Korea reacted by threatening “thousands-fold” revenge against the US.

Interestingly, while neither the NYT nor Washington Post are making much of the threat, the story is leading many international news organization websites including the BBC and the Guardian.

BBC:

North Korea vows to retaliate against US over sanctions

North Korea has vowed to retaliate and make “the US pay a price” for drafting fresh UN sanctions over its banned nuclear weapons programme. The sanctions, which were unanimously passed by the UN on Saturday, were a “violent violation of our sovereignty,” the official KCNA news agency said…

…The state-run KCNA news agency said Pyongyang would “not put our self-defensive nuclear deterrent on the negotiating table” while it faces threats from the US.
It threatened to make the US “pay the price for its crime…thousands of times,” referring to America’s role in drafting the UN sanctions resolution.



The home page photo being used for this Morning Brief is the cover of this week’s Newsweek, showing the president in a chair slouching, with the headline “Lazy Boy”. The cover is certainly not the first magazine cover to feature the president in such an unflattering light.

I can’t remember any president being treated this way by the media, but then again, I can’t remember any president that so used the media as their foil.

While Trump’s targeting of the media likely helped his run to the White House, now it appears to be one of the major reasons his support is melting away. As of this morning, FiveThirtyEight shows his approval at 37 percent.

In other words, while the strategy may have had short term benefits, in the long run it is proving a mistake.

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