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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

Members of online forum boards dedicated to President Donald Trump and far-right ideologies have called for the “next meme war,” this time against CNN. The call to arms is retaliation for allegations that the cable network blackmailed a Reddit user into publicly apologizing for creating a pro-Trump GIF that depicted Trump tackling a man who had a CNN logo superimposed on his face, and removing his hateful posts on these message boards.

This declaration of a meme war is the latest example of these online community members banding together in highly organized troupes to create and distribute memes attacking their given targets across multiple social media platforms, often times shaping public perception and influencing American political narratives and actions.

Users of Reddit and 4chan, two message board communities that have long expressed their hatred for one another, were united in their outrage over a CNN report, published on July 4, that detailed the origin of a GIF depicting Trump tackling a man who had a CNN logo superimposed on his face. The meme was edited into a video with music and eventually tweeted by Trump with a hashtag calling CNN a “fraud.” CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski, who wrote the story, discovered that the meme’s creator was a middle-aged man with a history of posting “racist and anti-Semitic imagery” through his Reddit account. The man called CNN to confirm his identity after he had issued a detailed apology on Reddit and deleted his previous posts.

Reddit and 4chan members didn’t find the man’s history of hateful posts problematic. Rather, they latched onto one section of the article in which CNN explained that it had decided not to publish the man’s name, “because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again.” The article also stated, “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.” Members of meme-heavy subreddits perceived that sentence as blackmail and accused CNN of attempting to dox and blackmail one of its critics.

On July 5, CNN responded to the blackmail allegations with a written statement that said, “Any assertion that the network blackmailed or coerced [the user] is false.”

But CNN’s statement came too late; multiple posts on 4chan and Reddit had already called for a full-scale “meme war” against the network. During the 2016 presidential election, factions of Trump voters used memes to attack and discredit others’ preferred candidate. Among these factions, highly organized pro-Trump meme war “units” found tremendous success and were able to create and spread numerous trends on social media.

A post on 4chan explained what the latest meme war, titled “Operation: Autism Storm,” would entail. The operation’s primary focus, according to the post, would be to produce “as many anti-CNN memes as possible and spreading it” to high traffic websites beyond the fringe. The call to arms also urged participants to “discredit every journalist at CNN,” and to target CNN’s advertisers to stop them from advertising on the network.

In the days after the article was published and 4chan and Reddit users called for meme warfare, “#CNNBlackmail” was a top trending topic on Twitter. The contingent of pro-Trump internet wizards also overran numerous boards on Reddit and 4chan with images attacking CNN’s credibility. Infowars editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson suggested that CNN may have reunited “the alt-right & the new right in a common cause” after a prior rift among the “alt-right” factions.

Source: Reddit.com/r/The_Donald

This potent group of like-minded internet campaigners repeatedly proved their ability to organize and operate extremely effective smear campaigns during the 2016 election. According to an entry on Encyclopedia Dramatica, one of the most notable moments in “The Great Meme War” was the group’s viral portrayal of former presidential candidate Jeb Bush as a weak and sad “stinking turtle-lover with a guacamole fetish.” This characterization of “low energy” Bush cast him as a man unable to withstand what meme creators referred to as “high-energy” Trump. The Encyclopedia Dramatica entry also credited the same organized effort to push “a stream of new and fearsome dank memes,” featuring “Pepe the Frog” after the Anti-Defamation League classified the character as a hate symbol.

Fringe far-right media figures have also noticed the potency of these groups, and have used their platforms to encourage their followers to participate in the effort to spread the anti-CNN memes to larger audiences. Infowars’ Alex Jones has even launched an anti-CNN meme contest, promising a $20,000 reward for the “best meme” he receives. Alternative right-wing media figures such as online personality KimDotcom, Infowars contributor and internet troll Mike Cernovich, and even the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. have used their platforms to spread anti-CNN rhetoric and images alongside those leading the online meme brigades.

Meme wars can often have real-life consequences, a phenomena known within these communities as “meme magic.” During the 2016 election, these meme-makers effectively shaped Bush’s public image, and now they are provoking people to harass CNN journalists. Rebel Media’s Laura Loomer, who gained notoriety for interrupting Shakespeare play Julius Ceasar in New York City, ambushed CNN host Chris Cuomo about the controversial article while he was walking down the street. Other CNN staffers told The Daily Beast they feared for their safety after receiving a flood of threatening phone calls and messages and the reporter who discovered the Reddit user’s anti-Semitic posts wrote in Politico that he received a barrage of death threats. Cernovich even hyped a supposed protest “planned to be held” outside of Kaczynski’s home in New York.

Users’ motivations for participating in the new meme war against CNN may vary from pure entertainment to deep ideological bias, but their participation will ultimately reignite a pack of internet trolls capable of smearing and bullying any target in its crosshairs. This group had been mostly dormant after it declared Trump’s election a victory, but the latest meme war against CNN proves that its ability to spread vitriol online is alive and well.

 

Header image by Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

73 Responses to Far Right Unites In ‘Meme War’ Against CNN

  1. Should this be

    “CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski, who wrote the story, discovered that the meme’s creator was a middle-aged man with a history of posting “racist and anti-Semitic imagery” through his Reddit account.”

    “Reddit and 4chan members didn’t find the man’s history of hateful posts problematic.”

    allegations. So far as I’ve seen CNN has posted no evidence of this. Further the few pictures that have been show as “proof” are the same type of setups that CNN uses all the time to claim that a company is “to white”, “to asian” , “to insert latest propaganda”.

    Not going to talk about all the propaganda words such as “far-right”, smear, etc as they are pretty straight forward in being fake news.

  2. yeah, they aren’t “FAR” right. They’re just “right”. as opposed to the left which is over the cliff with their hubris, hate, bigotry and Trumpohphobia

    • If they are “right”, as you foolishly suggest, then we may as well say that anti-Christ sentiments are “Right”, that racism is “right”, that bragging about groping women is “right”—even if Trump in his deranged state of mind decides to grope your wife.
      Is this what you want us to think of you—a dunderhead who has no respect for yourself, no respect for your mother and other women in your life, and just an all-around satanic figure??

      Do you consider being allied with satanic virtues to be “right”? If so, then you’re no different than ISIS or the KKK, in spirit and mind.

      Talk to me, buddy.

      • Do you find it as funny as I, that after 8 years of opposing anything proposed by President Obama, the RW is accusing us of trumpophobia?

        • EXACTLY what policies has PDJT imposed that have actually affected,much less harmed,you people?? PLEASE do not start squealing about the ACA lie!!

          • Removing the requirements to limit lead in drinking water.

            Limiting clean air standards.

            Removing and/or limiting financial fraud regulations.

            BTW, it’s the CBO that shows how many people will be harmed if the Republicans can ever figure out what they want to do about national healthcare. Not me or mine.

            Troll.

          • Let’s look at the data. Was the CBO able to accurately predict the number of uninsured people after the implementation of Obamacare? No. The numbers they predicted were not accurate.

            It is rather par for the course that news organizations have been lax in reporting the accuracy of CBO predictions. Model’s don’t do much good without an understanding of the uncertainty in their predictions.

          • Don’t try to rely on facts—Trump would disapprove. Besides, facts lead you to erroneous conclusions because you make up your own “facts”, just as Donald, FOX, and other miscreants who’ve reverted to a child-like state of mind do.

          • Tinker—“you people”? Is this how you see humanity as “You versus Them”? Little wonder you have gone astray—just a machine that acts in an ill-mannered way, or some cartoon character, as one-dimensional as your icon.

          • SERIOUSLY?? Attacking my wording. my cartoon avatar and then insulting me DOES NOT ANSWER THE QUESTION!!
            Nice try though,Loser!! lol

      • Talk to me, buddy. Is injuring ~500 police the work of Christ? In Hamburg, those were the facts on the ground – not just meme’s on the net. However, it is not just a one time thing, as Berkeley, DC, Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia, and NYC have also been subject to leftist riots recently.

        These are real, documented events that really happened. This is a big contrast from many supposed “hate crimes” which turn out to have never happened. Is fraud, propaganda and dishonesty anti-Christian?

        http://www.fakehatecrimes.org/

        The alt-right has boldly defended the constitution and free speech, while leftist like Eric Clanton tried to use violence to eliminate it. A fair amount of the alt-right have been in the military defending our lives, liberties, and pursuit of happiness. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b24cc4ed0dbe05b0425b012738b21215fb4c1db5c0f88fd4513eca626f99614d.jpg

        • The alt-right are impotent little boys in adult bodies, like yourself. they have a myopic view of life that excludes every view but their own. They never matured sexually, therefore can’t attract women and never have been able to, are infantile(which has a lot to do with why women avoid you and the other effete little boys who wage your private little war from the bathroom in your moms’ homes.
          When you and your friends have gone so long with being knotted up inside, little wonder that you have to act out in the only way that validates your existence, by abusing women primarily on the Internet to feel manly, and act like truants against anyone that is an adult in your under-developed minds.

        • Awww… it’s appears you are unable to post any useful rebuttal and simply continue repeating a meaningless phrase.
          Thank you for informing us of your limited intellect.

  3. Because, you see… it’s fine for them to dox women during gamergate… or if you’re Jewish… or if you’re LGBTQ… or if they just happen to hate you this week… or if they want you to commit suicide… or if they want you to close your business down… or if they want you to change your political views… or if they have any demands you must meet.

    But you’re not allowed to dox or threaten them…. because that would be wrong! :O :O :O :O :O :O

    The reason they are so angry and starting a Lame… sorry… “Meme”… “War”, is the exact same reason that drove the apology from the Redditor who created that GIF:

    They are absolutely sh!t-scared of being exposed and their real names attached to the endless historical stream of racist, anti-semitic, women-hating troll posts, and targeted net-stalking these human garbage regularly traffic in, and think is hilarious.

    They are freaking out because suddenly, on some lizard brain level, they recognise how their parents, teachers, employers, friends, partners, pastors, and family might react if they find out how little Jimmy, or best-friend John, actually spends his time online through someone doxxing THEM then posting all the things they said… (And yes… surprise… it’s nearly all d!ckless men in this little club)

    I bet HanAssh*leSolo has abused and doxxed multiple individuals in his hate-strewn meander through the sewerage that is r/The_Donald… yet when he’s actually identified he’s so ashamed of himself he apologizes and promises publicly not to be human slime any more…

    F**king hypocrites.

    Ironically it’s also the GOP in a nutshell: The rules/morals/principles/laws/ethics only apply to others… never to their own behavior.

  4. Since the Alt-Right insists on being depraved little boys with nothing better to do in their pitiful lives than post vile and infantile prattle and drivel, then now is the time for Congress and the FCC to mount a war against these nihilist from the Twilight Zone. These juvenile feral cretins probably never had a meaningful relationship with anyone of the opposite sex, and therefore this is their only way to get fulfillment in their lives.

    The alt-right may be transitioning into some warped subspecies of humanity, still retaining a bipedal morphology, are sentient, but whose chromosomes and hormones have been irrevocably altered by too much exposure to their own hate of themselves and of other humans.

    • Do it. Do it. Take away our right to free speech, I dare you, it’s what we’ve been waiting for.

      • It’s amusing how you jump straight to restricting free speech as the modus operendi here. Aaron said nothing of the sort.

        How about we simply attach your real life identity to all your posts, current and historical…
        Your free speech is perfectly fine… say whatever you want. No-one will stop you.

        I wonder how much you’ll actually say when you’re publicly responsible for that same speech?

        And don’t give me any right to privacy sh*t. Of course you have a right to your privacy… IN PRIVATE.
        You’re posting in a public forum. The expectation is that someone could easily work out who the real person behind a Reddit ID actually is… It took CNN a day.

        Here’s a better question:
        Why hide your racism, misogyny, antisemitism, internet bullying, and incitements to violence behind a pseudonym?
        Aren’t you proud of them, oh slimy one??

        You see people who really believe in free speech don’t hide in the dark like little b*tches. They stand up for their beliefs and their speech.

        • Aaron called for congress and the FCC to mount a war against nihilists. That’s totally within 1st Amendment territory. Anonymous speech is protected speech under the 1st. Yes, people are ugly on the internet, but to regulate speech and thought would only make this world uglier.

          • Not so. No one has the right to say whatever they want to. Otherwise, we can extend this latitude, which opens the door for micreants to use psychological torture by harassing people with vile speech, and groups like the KKK have and will stretch the 1st Amendment to mean that liberty means “To do whatever you want to, to whomever you deem as an enemy, without remorse”.

          • I enjoy getting the pulse of the respondents, and invite comments, even from the most vituperative individuals. After all, they are lonely, and need anyone to give them the time of day. How about yourself—are you capable of saying anything meaningful and thoughtful that may prove of benefit to others?
            And why should you be concerned about who I choose to block? Better to clean your own backside than worry about others.

          • False equivalence, there is a huge difference between trolling and harassment. Harassment can be labeled as trolling but trolling is not always harassment.

      • You’re confused, homey. You think you have the right to do and say whatever you want because your head got too big from being infatuated with yourself. From that point, maybe when you were still a teenager, and you parents neglected their duty to train you and potty train your butt, you’ve stopped developing mentally and spiritually.
        You therefore have this adolescent urge to want to say whatever comes to your depraved mind, having no respect for your Creator. Instead, you’ve chose to worship that arch-idol, called Satan, aka—Your Ego.

        Shlomo, or whatever your real name is, I dare you to be an adult. Perhaps you’re too degenerate at this stage to achieve that goal, and so, things can only go downhill for you. You have no idea what you’re waiting for, but a severe retribution of some kind awaits you, in both this world and in the worlds to come. In the meantime, you can ignore this, and just go right ahead and raise all the hell you want.

        In physics, there is a law—For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. This applies in the spiritual world as well, but I suppose your parents were as ignorant as you regarding this Law—otherwise, you would be a noble human rather than a depraved one.

        And seeing that you have no belief in God, your eventual demise in this world—something we all will experience—will be fraught with a danger that you may never be able to recover from, if you don’t consider the laws of Physics and of Religion.

        “O Son of Being! Bring thyself to account each day, ere thou art summoned to a reckoning. For death unheralded shall come upon thee, and thou shalt be called to give account for thy deeds.”

        I strongly advise you, little Shlomo, to heed this warning by Baha’u’llah to all humanity,

    • Who’s the president again? That’s right. Say the name. Don’t fight it Aaron. The sooner you accept it, the sooner you can heal. I’ll wait till the tears stop.

      • What a ridiculous post from an effete little boy. The de facto President is being eaten alive by sheer stupidity, narcissism, a dunderhead of a son, and with hearty support from ninnyhammers such as yourself.

    • It’s good that we’re getting this sort of disease which the Alt-Right and other satanic individuals are afflicted with out in the open. Maybe some sunlight of exposure and serious conversation about this cancer will help clear the blight that afflicts their minds.

      Of all the places on the planet, only those in America(and in Europe—no coincidence) feel the urge to abuse speech, and to act like beasts of the fields, feeling they have the right to do whatever they wish.

      Despite being members of the same human family, something unique about many of our brothers and sisters in the West to launch themselves on this infernal trajectory, destined to crash and burn as they giddily hurtle onward propelled by this mistaken notion that nihilism is the ticket for a successful(?) life. And that unique something is the parallel rise in Materialism and the decline of Religion’s influence in our lives. This isn’t a sermon, but an observation based on history, logic, and common sense.

      The Alt-Right is a result of a distortion of human nature, so prominent in the West. Other societies across the globe suffer a similar distortion, but it hasn’t expressed itself to the same degree as here in the West. Perhaps the reason for that is that other societies still value respect for good manners such as courtesy, have respect for their parents and for elders, act generally with restraint, and maintain some level of a connection with the Creator.

      The particular distortion, the Alt-Right, has many allies who support extremist views, unchecked and unbound like wild animals. They all share common features: A lack of a connection with their own souls, as well as having no concern about the feelings of others; they are extremely focused on material aspects of life and pay no attention to their higher nature which transcends the material; they have some dysfunctional perspective regarding superiority of some groups of humans over others; and they are infantile in their approach to mature individuals, as though they’re afraid to grow up.

      Maybe a deformed “Peter Pan” syndrome is at work with these little boys who refused to grow up long ago

    • OK, “Ghost”. (An appropriate name for a person who may as well be dead). In case you didn’t have a chance to read my previous post on this cancer called the Alt-Right, let me share it with you. Perchance it may help you get off the crooked path.

      ——————————————————————————————————
      It’s good that we’re getting this sort of disease which the Alt-Right and other satanic individuals are afflicted with out in the open. Maybe some sunlight of exposure and serious conversation about this cancer will help clear the blight that afflicts their minds.

      Of all the places on the planet, only those in America(and in Europe—no coincidence) feel the urge to abuse speech, and to act like beasts of the fields, feeling they have the right to do whatever they wish.

      Despite being members of the same human family, something unique about many of our brothers and sisters in the West to launch themselves on this infernal trajectory, destined to crash and burn as they giddily hurtle onward propelled by this mistaken notion that nihilism is the ticket for a successful(?) life. And that unique something is the parallel rise in Materialism and the decline of Religion’s influence in our lives. This isn’t a sermon, but an observation based on history, logic, and common sense.

      The Alt-Right is a result of a distortion of human nature, so prominent in the West. Other societies across the globe suffer a similar distortion, but it hasn’t expressed itself to the same degree as here in the West. Perhaps the reason for that is that other societies still value respect for good manners such as courtesy, have respect for their parents and for elders, act generally with restraint, and maintain some level of a connection with the Creator.

      The particular distortion, the Alt-Right, has many allies who support extremist views, unchecked and unbound like wild animals. They all share common features: A lack of a connection with their own souls, as well as having no concern about the feelings of others; they are extremely focused on material aspects of life and pay no attention to their higher nature which transcends the material; they have some dysfunctional perspective regarding superiority of some groups of humans over others; and they are infantile in their approach to mature individuals, as though they’re afraid to grow up.

      Maybe a deformed “Peter Pan” syndrome is at work with these little boys who refused to grow up long ago

  5. It’s good that we’re getting this sort of disease which the Alt-Right and other satanic individuals are afflicted with.

    Of all the places on the planet, only those in America(and in Europe—no coincidence) feel the urge to abuse speech, and to act like beasts of the fields, feeling they have the right to do whatever they wish.

    Despite being members of the same human family, something unique about many of our brothers and sisters in the West to launch themselves on this infernal trajectory, destined to crash and burn as they giddily hurtle onward propelled by this mistaken notion that nihilism is the ticket for a successful(?) life. And that unique something is the parallel rise in Materialism and the decline of Religion’s influence in our lives. This isn’t a sermon, but an observation based on history, logic, and common sense.

    The Alt-Right is a result of a distortion of human nature, so prominent in the West. Other societies across the globe suffer a similar distortion, but it hasn’t expressed itself to the same degree as here in the West. Perhaps the reason for that is that other societies still value respect for good manners such as courtesy, have respect for their parents and for elders, act generally with restraint, and maintain some level of a connection with the Creator.

    The particular distortion, the Alt-Right, has many allies who support extremist views, unchecked and unbound like wild animals. They all share common features: A lack of a connection with their own souls, as well as having no concern about the feelings of others; they are extremely focused on material aspects of life and pay no attention to their higher nature which transcends the material; they have some dysfunctional perspective regarding superiority of some groups of humans over others; and they are infantile in their approach to mature individuals, as though they’re afraid to grow up.

    Maybe a deformed “Peter Pan” syndrome is at work with these little boys who refused to grow up long ago.

    • ~500 police were injured by leftist rioters in Hamburg. Eric Clanton hit someone in the head with a U-lock. ISIS used civilians as human shields in the battle for Mosul, among other atrocities. Sanders supporter Jeremy Christian stabbed three people, while another Sanders supporter shot a congressman. Planned parenthood has helped murder millions

      Look at the evidence instead of being a drama queen. Alt-Right memes will not kill anyone – leftists will.

      • Oh look—someone is keeping score as to how many are injured according to political views.

        Having trouble getting a life? Can’t find a decent woman who would accept you, warts and all? Too awkward and antisocial to figure out how to have a friend?

        Yes, truth is marching, and you and your troll friends are being left behind, to play with your navels and your keyboards. Don’t forget to wash.

        • Looks like you are totally owned. We post facts, you emotionally whine like a drama queen.

          Can’t dispute the facts such as the violent self-described leftists in Hamburg who also extorted “protection money” from local businesses as well as attacking police.

          Also, conservatives are more charitable than leftists, more likely to marry and have children, and more likely to put their life on the line by serving in the military or first responder services. Makes your attempt at dodging even more pathetic as it applies to leftists but not conservatives.

  6. Just to be perfectly clear–meme war is a threat to the safety of journalists, but it’s okay for mainstream journalists and Democrat politicians to say repeatedly that Trump, all the Republicans, and by extension anyone who supports them are fascist Nazis who are literally Hitler and want to kill millions of Americans by denying them healthcare? Do you need a list of quotes? I could start with Bernie and Pelosi and go from there.

    Go on, tell me some more about the existential threat of memes.

    • The existential threat is yourself and your infatuation with a dead ideology which has caused you and Bannon, and those other “Africans” who settled in Europe and developed a cultural outlook that revolved around worship of the individual rather than a Higher Source. From there would arise the dead, uninspiring and degenerate philosophies of so-called existentialists, who became the source of a decadent materialism that is slowly eating away at the vitals of Western Society. You are an appropriate example, as is Steve Bannon.

      Rather than regale us with quotes by other flawed creatures like yourself, I challenge you to look within yourself and articulate a thought inspired by the Messengers each of whom appeared before humanity over the eons in succession, or any vision that sees humanity as being all members of the same Human Family. For now, you take solace in viewing humanity by political view, race, skin color, or if they’re of the same mind-set as yours. A very jaundiced way to look at the world.

      After you’ve made that attempt upon reflection to transform your cynical view of humanity, share it with me, and I’ll give you a proper and respectful response. This is my challenge to you!!! Are you up for it, homey??

      • I haven’t excommunicated you or any other group of people from the human race, or, as you have, called anyone unevolved, flawed, or, and I quote, “satanic.” I haven’t made any assumptions about your religion or your creed, why do you presume to do the same about mine? AND you do it while patting yourself on the back for your tolerance and broad-mindedness. The level of projection and lack of self-awareness is truly spectacular.

        I don’t need to say anything else to you or about you. You just go right on talking. Homey.

        • Yes, it is “satanic” when anyone transgresses the bounds of moderation, as you’ve done in your posts. Rather than present a reasoned and cogent response, you post bile and irrational reactions. You’ve trapped yourself in your own trick-bag.

  7. It’s encouraging in a way to see so many trolls agitated to the point of coming into view, like so many ticks aroused after a severe winter once springtime arrives. It provides a challenge to engage them in conversations—to hear what motivates them, if anything does.

    Their world is a constrained and severely limited one—they all generally look alike according to that superficial quality called skin color and are predominantly males, are deathly afraid of diversity, have trouble generally relating to women, as noted by their love affair with misusing the internet, and never really achieved maturity as evident by their on-line mannerisms.

    Having face-to-face contact with adults scares the bejeesus out of them—thus the Peter Pan Syndrome they suffer from—they’re unable to articulate fully and objectively any cogent thoughts, and are ill-mannered as a result from improper upbringing by parents who failed to show them proper love and nurturing.

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