Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has long postured as an absolute defender of “free speech” online, especially after private social media firms declined to provide a platform to his deadly misinformation during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic. But he hired Kyle Rittenhouse’s former attorney to deliver a kill shot to an anonymous DailyKos blogger who penned an article he disliked.
That DailyKos writer, who for two decades has contributed to the site’s community section under the name “DowneastDem,” has revealed his identity to The Daily Beast—as well as the extent of Kennedy and lawyer Robert Barnes’ efforts to punish him for a brief post detailing the now-presidential aspirant’s attendance at an extremist-led demonstration in Berlin during summer 2020. The piece, headlined “Anti-Vaxxer RFK JR. joins neo-Nazis in massive Berlin ‘Anti-Corona’ Protest,” translated and summarized a German publication’s description of a sprawling and raucous mass gathering in the capital spearheaded by various far-right organizations in opposition to lockdown policies.
Numerous outlets covered Kennedy’s speech and participation in the day’s events by neo-Nazis, the Hitler-curious Alternative for Deutschland Party, and members of the paranoid neo-monarchist Reichsburger movement, which last year plotted a putsch against the democratically elected German government. But the Martha’s Vineyard habitue singled out the anonymous DailyKos article, launching a lawsuit in November 2020 to force the online publication to divulge DowneastDem’s real name. [Continue reading…]