Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is known for feeding his nearly 1 million Facebook followers a healthy dose of red meat, fake news and conspiracy theories. Over the past week the controversial conservative accused, without evidence, billionaire Holocaust survivor and philanthropist George Soros of funding riots and protests across the United States. Soros has donated more than $32 billion of his personal wealth to progressive causes across the globe making him the right’s defacto scapegoat for any act of civil unrest.
The New York Times reported that over the past week Soros’ name was mentioned 34,000 times in connection with the death of George Floyd on Twitter. There was also a huge spike in mentions on Facebook with the Times noting that among the 10 highest engaged posts two were by Miller.
“I have no doubt in my mind that George Soros is funding these so-called “spontaneous” protests. Soros is pure evil and is hell-bent on destroying our country!,” Miller wrote. That quote, posted with a link to a protest-related article that did not mention Soros, was shared 18,000 times and gained 20,000 reactions.
Other recent and highly engaged posts claim, “This man [Soros] is evil incarnate! Why are allowing him to destroy our beloved country. In almost any other country on earth he would have been arrested and charged with treason.”
And, “The so-called ‘protestors’ are, in fact, domestic terrorists who were organized and paid for by George Soros to further divide our country. These terrorists were bused into these large cities. We must repel this attack and hold those responsible for their actions.”
Miller has made no less than a dozen or so such posts since 2016 and none include citations or evidence. The Texas Tribune wrote a lengthy story four years ago about his tendency to share misinformation on social media and he responded by saying that his team has at times been “duped” but “We take it down, most of the time.” Most of the time?
Miller’s followers eat it up without question and the comments on his post are a cesspool of vitriol, nativism and calls to arms. They take their cues from Miller who warned his followers to “Stay locked and loaded” because Antifa are “terrorists” who are trying to destroy our country and “need to be brought down!” Miller, a former legislator, also reminded his audience that the “Texas Penal Code allows deadly force to protect your life, your family, & your property.”
Miller regularly shares provocative posts that target a smorgasbord of liberal villains including, “Chinese Communists,” Muslims, “Leftists” and prominent Democrats. This is however nothing new for Soros whose spokesperson told the Times, “We deplore the false notion that the people taking to the streets to express their anguish are paid, by George Soros or anyone else.”
On a recent post celebrating a new Facebook milestone Miller said, “I ask you to visit our page often for a dose of commonsense and real Texas conservative values.” I hope the Commissioner will consider adding a double dose of fact-checking otherwise he can’t claim the truth to be one of those values.
Photo: SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images
Joe Deshotel is originally from Beaumont, Texas, but a combination of live music, politics, and natural beauty brought him to Austin in 2010. He has over a decade of experience in public policy that covers federal, state, and local government and has worked on a number of successful election campaigns. He continues to consult on Democratic campaigns and serves as the Chair of Austin’s Community Development Commission which advocates for affordable housing and solutions for homelessness.