Michael Maiello's picture

    Amongst Its Diverse Weaponry Are...

    “A powerful social media network that, with no physical presence, allows it to spew propaganda, claim responsibility for terrorist attacks, and not just inspire attacks but also help plot and execute them remotely.”

    Seriously, that's what they're say Al-Qaeda is down to.  Okay, it's not that simple but I am amused by the extent to which the regular media has now fetishized the power of social networks. It's gotten to the point of writing things like what I quoted without a hint of skepticism.

    A reminder that the consensus about the politic effects of social media has generally been wrong.  It's not as important as you think. 



    now fetishized the power of social networks.

    I so agree! This is part of what I was just trying to say over at PP's news thread on Tennessee Republican/ Russian retweets.

    You know, gets me thinking further. I read all this stuff here and everywhere else on the influence of Breitbart and Russbots and fake Twitter and Facebook accounts and Fox News and whatever on influencing the election. And then I read an in depth piece at like WaPo or NYT on some godforsaken Trump voting poor community in Appalachia or whatever. And there's this important disconnect: the latter people can't afford to pay the cable TV bill much less have data access on their clamshell phone!  I am quite certain that these Trump-voting people in the WaPo and NYT articles aren't reading Breitbart every day. Maybe, maybe, they know a little about how to navigate Facebook. Maybe they did it a couple a times, inbetween hunting for specialty herbs and scrap metal to sell. Maybe they turn on Fox News once a month, those months when the cable bill is paid and on a day when the kids aren't screaming.

    I do think it's important to keep a perspective that Trump did not win a majority vote but won by targeting a few specific states.

    Edit to add: and I highly suspect lots of Trump voters got their political information the old fashioned way: on political talk radio which they listen to while driving or on the job. But that's just me and I have no proof.

    P.S. enlightened Just occurred to me: The Apprentice was on broadcast TV, NBC. You didn't have to pay for cable to watch it. You didn't have to have a computer and internet to know who he was and how he acted. Bet it had more influence on certain people getting off the couch to vote for once in a decade than all of the Russbots put together.

    This seems right to me.  The Apprentice effectively built the character of Trump as a highly successful businessman with a lot of power, credibility and smarts. That probably had a lot more to do with how some of these people voted than even "but, her emails."

    Talk radio fuck yeah! When I was home last, it was a 24x7 mix of political views & religious programs, you can imagine how liberal the slant was.

    However, besides the level of internet penetration growing & growing, there's also this social media platform called the bar. So even if you don't own a Google, someone at the bar probably has one and they can talk shit and trade stories til the cows come home, literally. Hey, did ya see this cat video? or was it a pussy video - I forget which.

    re: Talk radio fuck yeah!

    My little brother back home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (underline to remind of who won the election there) has complained to me for like 5 yrs. or more how pervasive really obnoxious conservative talk radio is there. How the audience is really big and also gets lots of listeners who aren't conservative, because they just like the troll action, the emotional riling up of the "characters", the kayfabe as it were. (Pro wrestling has been very popular there forever--my grandmother liked it!)  He also has noted that the whole troll debate action appeal is available on sports talk radio, too. And that the most popular political talk radio is not for the most part the national guys like Limbaugh, but local hosts on local more than national issues (I.E.: Scott Walker, of course; Sheriff David Clarke: of course even more.) I very much recall how he was complaining about it affecting local political issues a great deal, way before this last election, because it really gets him upset (as in: I gotta get outta this town.)

    Then there's this, which made me think when I read it: I betcha it's similar in Arizona:

    Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and television and the Internet. To hell with them. They don’t want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood.

    Should be said that I do think it's mostly older folks partaking, not millenials, and it will eventually die off.

    Even here in the NYC area, you can see with your own eyes and ears at stop lights that it's popular with the guys whose jobs include driving around in pickup trucks with construction materials in the back or vans servicing businesses and homes

    And all that brought to mind that I saw someone use the Tokyo Rose comparison in an op-ed a day or two ago! Just googled for it and ta-dah, here it is in free access "reprint" at The Royal Gazette: Anne Applebaum @ WaPo:  If Russia can create fake BLM accounts, who will next?

    The Gazette added it's own illustration for Applebaum's piece,which is fun:

    Ah, Milwaukee. King of more than just beer.

    Here is a Pew study on the differences in news sources for Clinton, Trump, and Sanders supporters.


    Have at it. Fox dominated among Republicans. Democratic sources were much more diverse.

    Thanks for the info.

    I would add, as to AA above, no one needs (1) a computer or (2) a cable TV connection to have their brains reprogrammed daily with Fox News propaganda. They can watch it on their phones on YouTube. Hannity has his own YouTube channel.

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