DNC Wikileak lights up social media, tops Tim Kaine as trending topic
Twitter faces accusations of trying to censor search results of email leaked by whistle blower
The release of more than 20,000 pages of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee competed on Saturday with the big reveal of Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as the running mate of presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton.
On Friday, Wikileaks dropped a bombshell cache of DNC emails. Among other things, the emails purport to show the party apparatus favoring Clinton's campaign over the insurgency of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The DNC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The news took center stage on social media, threatening to step on the Democrats messaging, and may reopen the old wounds of a bitter primary season just as the party kicks off its national campaign.
Indeed, only half a day after Clinton announced Kaine as her vice presidential pick, news of the DNC leak was the top trending item on Twitter despite the document dump fanning new allegations of bias.
On Saturday, some users accused Twitter of censoring search results of the leak—an accusation Facebook faced several months ago when it came under fire for deliberately suppressing conservative-leaning commentary on its site.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) July 23, 2016
Political observers and media focused largely on a series of incriminating emails that revealed DNC officials disparaging both Sanders and his supporters in various instances. Several other emails suggest the national organisation, run by embattled Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was trying to tilt the scales in favor of the former Secretary of State.
The DNC has repeatedly denied it favored any candidate. However, a frequent refrain by Sanders throughout his insurgent campaign was that it was "rigged" by Democrats intent on handing the nomination to Clinton, the clear favorite of the Democratic establishment.
In one message dated May 5, an exchange involving the DNC's finance chief asked a staffer to gather information on Sanders' religious beliefs, suggesting that it could influence the decision of southern voters.
Yet for his part, the Vermont senator remained largely silent about the affair. He made no remarks about the controversy on Twitter, where early Saturday he made a remark about the minimum wage.
We need to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next few years, and implement pay equity for women workers.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 23, 2016
Opportunistically, GOP nominee Donald Trump leaped into the fray to blast Democrats for their perceived treatment of Sanders, calling it "really vicious."
Leaked e-mails of DNC show plans to destroy Bernie Sanders. Mock his heritage and much more. On-line from Wikileakes, really vicious. RIGGED
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2016
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has a widely known antipathy toward Clinton. He's been quoted as calling the former Secretary of State a "war hawk"—a disparaging term for someone eager to go to war—and warned in June that a new leak could damage her candidacy.
Assange has also been sharply critical of President Barack Obama's foreign policy, most notably his administration's use of drones in the Middle East.