There is a form of political violence greater than any stabby, horny Muslim with a suicide vest: memes. So says the left (see LOL: Spain Proposes Ban On… Memes Mocking Politicians?! and #CNNBlackmail Fallout: Our Top Ten Favorite Gifs From the Great Meme War Against CNN). But memes by themselves aren’t as dangerous as the funny memes. Specifically, memes created and shared by conservatives.
Salon.com says such humorous memes are more destructive than fake news. Inspiring people to violence. Yes, memes. This is, sadly, real life:
What is interesting is the way that rants and memes and other alt-right tirades have major success in shaping public opinion. And while there is a through line between these outbursts and fake news, it is important to point out that the rants are likely far more influential than fake news in shaping political perception.
Interesting. How does one explain Samantha Bee’s rants? If you need a quick refresher, click Samantha Bee Denies ‘Smug Liberal Problem’ in Smuggest Way Possible and Samantha Bee Says Partial Birth Abortion is Not a Thing. WRONG.
Okay, let’s get back to Salon.
This means that the real lesson for CNN and other mainstream news outlets is not that the president is immature enough to share a stupid meme attacking the news but rather that their focus on fake news has distracted them from the real story: the rise of emotional, aggressive, inflammatory, bigoted communication on social media and the power these posts have had in shaping the ideas of the Trump-supporting alt-right.
Pro-tip to writers and would-be writers: an instant way to clean up your writing is to delete extraneous uses of “that” in a paragraph. You’re welcome.
Second thing: “bigoted communication on social media” can be translated into “hate speech” which further translates into “ideas we cannot rebut, ergo we will say is ‘hate speech’ and advocate for its banning.”
Well beyond the problem of fake news, which at least tried to pose as news, these posts are pure opinion, outburst and excess. There is nothing about these posts that even remotely compares to news reporting — and that’s why they are popular. At a moment in U.S. history where trust in the news is at a record low, we are seeing the growing power of individuals outside of traditional media circuits who have built a following by suggesting that their voices are more authentic and more accurate than those of the so-called liberal, elitist, majority-silencing news.
Wait, did you see that? “At a moment in history where trust in the news is at a record low” got skipped over. WHY do people not trust the media?
Couldn’t resist. I regret nothing.
People distrust the media, like CNN and Salon.com, for a simple reason: they’re not reporting the news so much as their pushing an agenda. Right now that agenda can be boiled down thusly: liberals rule, conservatives drool. Look no further than Salon’s own post. They casually ignore the extreme rhetoric being spewed by their own side (Bernie Sanders just compared repealing Obamacare to 9/11) and ran a hit piece on memes and animated gifs. My gawd the horror of an animated gif. Or a meme. How soon before Photoshop is referred to as “assault Photoshop”?
Salon and CNN can wrap their message in newspaper or gold foil, but the package is still the same: we hate conservative ideas, we can’t combat conservative ideas, so we’ll try to shut them up and silence them by calling it “hate.” Even if those ideas take the forms of a meme.