Monday, May 16, 2022

Propaganda That Kills While It Simultaneously Moves Public Opinion.


As Nicholas Confessore and Karen Yourish of the NY Times note, three recent mass murders in America were driven, at least in part, by a pile of conspiratorial propagandist bullshite euphemistically called 'replacement theory'.

Here is their lede:
Inside a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, a white man with a history of antisemitic internet posts gunned down 11 worshipers, blaming Jews for allowing immigrant “invaders” into the United States.

The next year, another white man, angry over what he called “the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” opened fire on shoppers at an El Paso Walmart, leaving 23 people dead, and later telling the police he had sought to kill Mexicans.

And in yet another deadly mass shooting, unfolding in Buffalo on Saturday, a heavily armed white man is accused of killing 10 people after targeting a supermarket on the city’s predominantly Black east side, writing in a lengthy screed posted online that the shoppers there came from a culture that sought to “ethnically replace my own people.”

Three shootings, three different targets — but all linked by one sprawling, ever-mutating belief now commonly known as replacement theory. At the extremes of American life, replacement theory — the notion that Western elites, sometimes manipulated by Jews, want to “replace” and disempower white Americans — has become an engine of racist terror, helping inspire a wave of mass shootings in recent years and fueling the 2017 right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Va., that erupted in violence...

And this garbage is not just pushed in the fever swamps:
...No public figure has promoted replacement theory more loudly or relentlessly than the Fox host Tucker Carlson, who has made elite-led demographic change a central theme of his show since joining Fox’s prime-time lineup in 2016. A Times investigation published this month showed that in more than 400 episodes of his show, Mr. Carlson has amplified the notion that Democratic politicians and other assorted elites want to force demographic change through immigration, and his producers sometimes scoured his show’s raw material from the same dark corners of the internet that the Buffalo suspect did...

Well, it turns out that, according to an AP/University of Chicago poll from last week (i.e. before the most recent shooting in Buffalo), fully one third of Americans now believe this stuff:
...Thirty-two percent (of Americans) are concerned that immigrants are being brought to the country by a group of people for political gains - one of the central arguments of so-called 'Replacement Theory'...

Which begs the question...

Is there an 'acceptable' level of violent unrest and mass killing that people like Mr. Carlson and friends are willing to put up with as long as it makes them  money on the road to winning gerrymandered elections?



Graham said...

Similar article in the Guardian as well. It mentions a few other republicans that spread this manure, Vance and Stefanik.
To me they are as guilty as the one who pulls the trigger.
It’s another indication that some are just not ready for this Free Speech they keep whining they don’t have.
It would be laughable if it weren’t so sickening.
Now I fear this kind of bunk is making its way up here to Canuck land. I have seen remarks in the comment threads at cbc at times that is suggestive of this thought process. Free speech does not mean one gets to say whatever they want anywhere they want.
Those who help foment this mind set should be held responsible for their actions.

NVg said...

An alternate example to the 32% would be the 100% of the first nations population's, pre-Christopher Columbus / like-minded other'discoverers', who were concerned that the British French Spanish Italians etc. ........ had their own Replacement Theory, and they were right.

Keith said...

Is there an 'acceptable' level of violent unrest? beats me Ross.

20 6 and 7 year olds and 6 staff members at Sandy Hook, 17 killed and 17 injured at Stoneman Douglas, wasn’t enough. Representatives Gabby Gifford and Steve Scalise taking a bullet didn’t do it. Poof! as if by magic, the pro right to life, protect the unborn but don’t give a rats after the first breath crowd have suddenly gone silent again.

If nothing changes when white children and their own members are being hit what will.? The endorsements, money from and funnelled through the nra is too much to turn down and donations from the rubes keep coming in. Maybe when white conservative evangelical churches and schools are in the news will that do it.?

And if the gerrymandered districts don’t work for them, plan b is there are enough conspiracy theorists and election deniers running for the positions that can change an election outcome to suit the prevailing grift at the time. Trump got more votes in 2020 than 2016 so it looks good for the grifters futures. If the democrats don’t get out to vote in the midterms and get with the programme they deserve what ensues.

Scotty on Denman said...

The legal bases of defamation—slander and libel—is that words matter: they have consequence. When involving individuals, the case is made that defaming a person materially harms cher: a professional reputation besmirched, for example, can ruin a person’s ability to earn a living; an accusation of heinous crime can direct unauthorized violence upon cher. Whether such charges are warranted or not falls under the rule of law and legal authority. Uttering threats is not a legal substitute for main-force vigilantism: they are also words that have consequence.

Putting neighbour against neighbour is not only the rock-bottom worst thing authority can do, it also weakens the state by impairing its ability to respond to emergent circumstances—and that is the nub of where individual rights are superseded by the security of the state and its authority. Perhaps in a nation where capacity to overthrow authority is constitutionally sanctified, where the state may, in turn, falsely accuse citizens of seditious speech, and where unexpunged defamatory (racist or sectarian) language still exists in law, it’s not completely surprising that openly slagging or threatening others is tolerated. But most often it’s a case of neglecting to apply law that already exists. Not only does law need to be seen done, it has surely to be done first. Not threatened or promised, but done.

Fucker Carlson hasn’t been called to account by authorities—which probably encourages him. No doubt he would plead that his odium is not specifically directed at any identifiable person, and that his right to free speech is guaranteed. I suppose he’d deem the example of yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre as potential to deprive him of his constitutional rights. I for one would love to see him make that case in the docket above the cells. Even if he was released on bail, I bet the experience would have salutary effect.

But, more than that, those who are so blithely influenced by him would also be less likely to think the killing they do is somehow good for the country. Remind that Keegstra, here in Canada, was successfully prosecuted even though his own odium did not target any individual. We here in Canada have hate laws where any GROUP identified and targeted for hateful speech is protected by the law. That guard dog needs to be exercised and seen to be exercised.