New York House candidate Jonathan Herzog, the leading Democrat challenger to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), suspects he may have fallen victim to a digital manipulation campaign, following his campaign’s first digital ad against Nadler.
Herzog’s campaign ad against Nadler was released Wednesday evening. The next day, Google News search results for his name brought up hundreds of unrelated articles, including many that were seemingly tied to articles about death, his campaign alleged in a statement Friday.
“Immediately following our campaign’s release of its first digital ad for our race to unseat Representative Nadler, we noticed widespread Google News manipulation with thinly-veiled death threats on local news sites owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group,” the statement said. It added:
Hundreds of articles with headlines such as “Man goes to clear out dead mom’s home, find’s body in freezer,” “Trucker charged in serial killings faces scrutiny across US,” “Linda Tripp, whistleblower in Clinton-Lewinsky sex scandal, dies at 70,” and “Top NYC doctor, shaken after treating coronavirus patients, commits suicide,” were improperly configured to be indexed by Google’s search engine with: “Attorney Jeff Kurzon, representing Yang and Congressional Candidate Jonathan Herzog…”
The digital ad celebrated Herzog’s recent win in the fight to hold a June 23 presidential primary in New York, and featured a picture of Nadler.
“We won — the June 23rd primary is still on!” it said. “They tried to suppress your vote. Not on Jonathan’s watch.”
He also hit Congress for being “still on recess.”
According to Herzog’s campaign, a Harvard computer science expert determined that such indexing manipulation was fairly easy to do. The campaign reached out to Sinclair Broadcast Group and Google, but neither responded, according to the campaign.
Herzog’s campaign has reported the digital manipulation and a potential threat to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for federal criminal investigation as well as to the Office of Inspector General for federal election fraud investigation, the statement said.
Herzog, a Harvard graduate and former founding campaign aide to former 2020 Democrat candidate Andrew Yang, is running as a primary challenger against Nadler in the 10th District of New York.
He has criticized career politicians for not addressing problems that workers face from automation.
Herzog told the Hill, “The question was, how can we…as quickly as possible pass meaningful solutions to the fact that we’re facing the fourth industrial revolution and none of our leading elected officials are addressing that.”