This Happened

Why is Rick Santorum Using a Picture of 4Chan Founder Moot on His ‘Patriots’ Website?

The new odd couple.
screen shot 2012 11 07 at 9 10 12 am Why is Rick Santorum Using a Picture of 4Chan Founder Moot on His Patriots Website?

(Screencap: Patriot Voices)

It’s not often that we feel the desire to head over to Patriot Voices, the website of former Presidential candidate and uber-conservative Rick Santorum that serves up partisan vitriol with every click. But a post on Reddit about Mr. Santorum caught our eye and the claim checks out.

When you navigate to Patriot Voices, a pop up box appears with a bunch of different people’s faces alongside Mr. Santorum’s, ostensibly representing patriots, which by his definition likely refers to fellow sweater vest wearers. One of those pictures, sandwiched in between two photos of Mr. Santorum, is the visage of Chris Poole–a.k.a. Moot, the founder of notorious message board 4chan. The photo is the same one used on Mr. Poole’s Wikipedia page.

Prominently featuring a photo of “the 20-year-old at the heart of the web’s most anarchic and influential site” on a Santorum site has to be the most inspired web design trolling (or fuck up!) we’ve seen in awhile. But how did it happen?

Patriot Voices used the startup Nation Builder, a web tool kit for community organizers, as a platform for the site. A representative for Nation Builder told Betabeat that the site was designed by an outside designer at the Pittsburgh-based political consulting and advertising firm Brabender Cox.

screen shot 2012 11 07 at 10 05 21 am Why is Rick Santorum Using a Picture of 4Chan Founder Moot on His Patriots Website?

Like, what? (Screencap: Patriot Voices)

Dubbed “the premier Republican spin doctors,” Brabender Cox has a longstanding history of working to promote Republican candidates. In addition to doing work for Mr. Santorum, they’ve also created viral videos and advertising content for politicians like Republican Senator Tom Coburn and Republican Mayor of Indianapolis Greg Ballard.

It’s hard to believe that anyone working at such a well-established Republican media arm would be outwardly anti-Santorum (unless they contracted out the job to a secret Dem). We’ve reached out to the designer to clarify. We’ve also reached out to Moot to ask for his reaction.

It’s still unclear whether the designers, say, mistook Moot for your average wholesome looking white guy. What is clear, however, is that it is fucking hilarious.

Update:

Adrian Chen reports that Moot told him: “…somebody knows how to use Wikipedia, I guess. I assumed someone created a profile on the site and used my photo as their profile pic. Or maybe it was a staffer/designer for the site. Who knows.”

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com

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