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(ReadWith) DoNotFeedTheTroll, RightWingCultureWar, RageFarming

Good article here

Quoted below : CategoryCopyrightRisk

By now it should be obvious that for large swaths of the right-wing media ecosystem, the Triggering of the Libs has become an end in itself. In the brutal competition of the so-called attention economy, provoking large-scale outrage and loathing is not an incidental feature of making controversial arguments. It has become a key marker of success.

Over the weekend, ElonMusk called for the prosecution of Anthony S. Fauci, the leading infectious-disease expert in the Biden administration. “My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci,” Musk tweeted, mocking transgender people for good measure. Musk then endorsed a complicated right-wing conspiracy theory about Fauci’s role in the covid-19 pandemic.

Democrats and other Musk critics reacted with an explosion of outrage. One Democratic senator pleaded with Musk to “leave a good man alone.” Another member of Congress seethed: “Shame on you.” Former CIA director John Brennan scolded Musk: “You have no class.”

All these responses — which also noted that Fauci admirably tried to serve the country during a major crisis and under great pressure — are reasonable. But outrage and shaming also seem fundamentally out of touch with basic realities of how right-wing information warfare really works. Image without a caption

This sort of info-warring, at bottom, is what characterizes Musk’s transformation into the world’s richest right-wing troll. Tons of pixels have been wasted on efforts to pin down Musk’s true beliefs, but whatever they are, we can say right now that he’s consciously exploiting fundamental features of the right-wing information ecosystem. His critics should adapt accordingly.

In his attack, Musk flatly validated a big right-wing obsession: The idea that Fauci was involved in U.S. government funding of controversial early research into covid, and lied to Congress about it. As The Post’s Glenn Kessler demonstrated, this is a highly complex dispute, but there are zero grounds for concluding anything remotely like that happened. Musk’s claim is at best profoundly irresponsible and at worst straight-up disinformation.

It’s understandable that Musk’s critics are trying shaming and outrage, in that this could further drive advertisers away from Twitter. But, paradoxically, it might also help Musk. The DealBook newsletter suggests that he’s trying to boost “conservative engagement” and “help Twitter’s business” by “winning over right-leaning users and conservative politicians.”

If so, the coin of the realm is the Triggering. A massive backlash from liberals and Democrats creates the impression of controversy, which draws news media attention. It also persuades the right-leaning constituencies Musk hopes to engage that he is “drawing blood.”

In much of the right-wing info-ecosystem, liberal outrage is a sign of an attack’s effectiveness. It can be only confirmation that the Libs Were Owned. Shaming is useless in such an environment, and in some ways can backfire.

Is there a way out of this trap? Crooked Media’s Brian Beutler suggests liberals should internalize the assumption that they are in a full-blown information war with the right, and that Musk is overhauling Twitter to serve the right’s goals in that war. In this telling, Musk hopes to maximize Twitter’s ability to flood the media zone with right-wing propaganda, but without inducing elites to give up on Twitter and thus weaken its “agenda-setting power.”

Countering that would entail treating Musk’s designs on Twitter in a manner akin to how liberals and Democrats treat Fox News. Very few of them bother pretending Fox News is anything more than a propaganda outlet. Similar treatment of Musk’s Twitter could begin to diminish the site’s agenda-setting power, a price Musk might be unwilling to pay.

Mike Masnick, the founder of the technology news site Techdirt, proposes a careful balancing act. It’s counterproductive to talk vaguely about “stopping” Musk, as some Democrats have done, Masnick says. This is wrong on the merits and validates one of Musk’s core claims, that the left is hellbent on suppressing conservative voices, and that he represents the free speech cavalry.

Instead, Masnick suggests, liberals should acknowledge that Twitter has at times erred in exercising overly heavy-handed moderation against such voices. One can do this while disputing Musk’s big argument that this was all a deliberate plot and instead arguing that those were genuine missteps during fast-moving and difficult-to-navigate controversies.

In cases such as Musk’s ugly attack on Fauci, Masnick notes, critics should avoid any hint of suggesting the topic in question should not be discussed at all. Instead, Masnick says, the focus should be on the actual facts of the situation and the potential harm that incendiary and unsupported allegations can inflict, such as inciting violence.

“It’s tough, because you’re walking a fine line,” Masnick told me. “There’s no perfect solution.”

There is probably no good or easy answer here. But one thing is clear: Outrage and shaming aren’t nearly enough.


In 2006, TheRightWing see the emergent opinions of WebTwoPointZero as too "moonbat". So they're trying to organize blog mobs to promote rightist news stories.

This is one of the reasons I'm thinking we need to use PredictionMarkets for political debate.

See also :