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Re: <nettime> Phillips/Beyer/Coleman: "false assumption that
David Garcia on Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:45:07 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Phillips/Beyer/Coleman: "false assumption that

Hi, there is a very informative essay published a month ago on Motherboard by Whitney Phillips, Jessica Beyer and 
Gabriella Coleman with the rather long title Trolling Scholars debunk the Idea that Alt.right’s Shitposters have Magic Powers.

These three ethnographic researchers have been squatting on the message boards and gathering data for years
which (along with their substative arguments) means their views on these subjects should be taken seriously.

Despite the suggestion in the title of “debunking” Alt.right’s power they are persuasive job suggesting that although not decisive 
the contribution to the Trump victory neither was their influence entirely negligible as -alt.right’s shitposting, flooding social media with 
memes and commentary designed to bolster their God Emperor Trump, raised public visibility of alt.right and this uptick in public visibility 
forced people to focus on Trump more than they would have done otherwise reaching critical mass when Clinton held a press 
conference (precipiated by Pepe the Frog) denouncing Trump’s ties to White nationalists much to the delight of the white nationalists. 

So -they go on -without a doubt, this speech and all the alt-right activity that preceded it contributed to the overal momentum of Trump’s 
campaign-  So as Felix suggested it was not THE decisive factor neither should its influence be underestimated. The prominent role played 
by alt.right Trolls has to be connected to the wider media ecology of the mainstream journalistic coverage that amplified their coverage. 

The most significant media related story to extract all of this is best outlined in Yochai Benkler, Robert Faris, Hal Roberts and Ethan Zukerman’s   
in Columbia Journalism Review arguing that a variety of far right media were extremely successful in setting the narrative agenda for mainstream 
media outlets. In all of this the alt.right meme warriors are -just one nasty cloud in a gathering storm racing towards mainstream media- and fataly 
undermining their Limpanesque capacity to manufacture consent.  

The question B) More interesting is the second question: Is there something inherently alt-right in Anonymous?  Is also tackled in some depth by
Coleman et al but conclude that the relationshp between alt-right “trolling” to 4Chan and Anonymous as no more or less than a subset of a faction 
of an ever-evolving, ever unstable, ever reactive anonyous online collective…

Only one thing is clear to me in the fog of meme wars and ever more dubious narratives around post-truth and alt.fact, is that the frequently despised 
discipline of -media literacy- needs to be urgently recuperated and updated.


d a v i d  g a r c i a
d.garcia {AT} new-tactical-research.co.uk

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