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The fight to see Youngkin's 'snitch' line responses is just getting started

Gen-Z for Change, which made a website to troll the Virginia governor's so-called tip line, is demanding to see the submissions.


Last week, I covered Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s ongoing effort to hide submissions sent to the “tip line” his office created for parents seeking to snitch on educators who teach “divisive concepts” in school. 

As a refresher: The Republican governor's team is blocking Freedom of Information Act requests from several media outlets — including NBCUniversal, which owns MSNBC — that want to report on the so-called tips his office received.

I have a hunch the submission box is full of trolling emails coordinated through Gen-Z for Change, a progressive advocacy group for young people. 

Gen-Z for Change created a site that directs people to spam the tip line with fake reports. Now the group is ramping up its efforts to get Youngkin to fork over the responses.

"Virginian constituents and the people of this country have a right to know the outcome of the tip line," the group said in a statement.

Youngkin's office has claimed the tip line submissions constitute “working papers and correspondence” and are therefore not subject to FOIA disclosure requirements. Several media outlets, including NBCUniversal, filed a lawsuit last week to obtain the information being withheld. In response to the lawsuit, Youngkin's office stood by its claim that the emails are not public information.

Glenn Youngkin Campaign Holds Election Night Event
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks on the phone at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles in Nov. 2021 in Chantilly, Virginia. Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images, file

Gen-Z for Change told me its trolling campaign has been “wildly successful.” Data the group shared with The ReidOut Blog showed more than 60,000 users have visited the site since its creation in January. The site’s button that auto-generates emails to Youngkin’s tip line has been clicked nearly 100,000 times, according to the group.

Wouldn’t you like to know whether Youngkin’s inbox is full of fake reports disguised as Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion lyrics? I know I would.

Gen-Z for Change's email campaign was meant to serve as a counterweight to conservatives claiming their efforts to whitewash history are meant to protect young people. 

Sofia Ongele, Gen-Z for Change’s digital strategy coordinator, said Virginia’s teachers have “been overworked, underpaid and underappreciated throughout the pandemic, and the campaign Youngkin has launched only adds insult to injury.”

And many lawmakers, including Youngkin, are so far removed from what's actually happening inside schools, said Olivia Julianna, the group’s political strategy coordinator.

“We have a much greater grasp on the impact of education than those who have not stepped foot in a classroom as a student for as long — or longer — as many of us have been alive,” Julianna said.

American history, she said, “may be rewritten, but the stories of our country’s past, the truth of it, will not be changed or forgotten — and we will continue to fight to ensure that it won’t be.”