Organization’s Trump Rally ‘Linestanders’ Craigslist Ad Gets ‘Paid Protesters’ Hate From Both Sides

Mike Oles III is the field director for Good Jobs Nation in Pennsylvania. Good Jobs Nation advocates for laid-off and retired workers all over the U.S., so many of their members are elderly and unable to stand in line for hours to gain entrance to a rally. That’s why, ahead of President Trump’s rally in Erie, PA, Oles paid $3 to place an ad on Craigslist, sharing his personal phone number and looking for people willing to stand in line for $100. 

He soon began receiving calls. But they weren’t from interested line standers. 

Online, Oles’s search for line standers had quickly been transformed into a search for “paid protestors,” a frequent conspiracy theory spread against the left. During the 2016 election, notable Trump officials like Kellyanne Conway and and Corey Lewandowski both tweeted false stories about paid Democratic protestors.  

Oles’s ad began to catch fire online after it was shared six times by “America’s Last Line of Defense,” a Facebook page that claims to be satirical, but also “frequently spreads believable hoaxes that catch fire online.” The Facebook link had over 17,000 shares and had gone viral on Twitter before fact-checking website Lead Stories noticed the true purpose of its source.

Both the right and left went after Oles for providing “paid protestors.” He admitted to BuzzFeed he should have been clearer in the ad:

I was probably too transparent in the Craigslist ad. This wasn’t about paid protesters. This was about standing in line on a hot day surrounded by Trump people and, you know, trying to find people who would do that. 

A dozen or so people took the jobs, but most were thrown out of the rally after passing the metal detectors because Trump campaign staff recognized them. 

Oles’ organization will attend future rallies, which will mean more Craigslist ads, but he doesn’t intend to change his phone number or approach:

I don’t want to change my phone number just because a bunch of online idiots have half-baked conspiracy theorists supporting the president and misleading people. The online conspiracy world is a joke and it’s a dangerous part of our democracy.

Before you lash out, always remember to do you background research!

H/T – Buzzfeed, Lead Stories