Friday, July 07, 2017

l'éléphant dans la pièce

I haven't wanted to talk about the elephant in the room that's been dominating the current news cycle, but it's time to face facts: the hashtag #CNNBlackmail isn't going away anytime soon. This story has been evolving rapidly since it began with Donald Trump's CNN-takedown meme, a retweet of a GIF showing Trump, from ten years ago, tackling Vince McMahon, but with McMahon's head replaced by a CNN logo. CNN and other journalists have cried foul, insisting that Trump is inciting violence. The sordid tale has morphed, since then, to a renewed focus on CNN itself, which found the person who uploaded the original GIF to Reddit. CNN apparently contacted this person, after which the news agency published a statement that sounded an awful lot like blackmail, intimidation, etc.

I'll let Philip DeFranco take it away. His summary (up to about 8:08 in the video) is good enough to get you oriented:

Here's Paul Joseph Watson's contribution, which notes that the identity of the person contacted by CNN has changed from a 15-year-old to a middle-aged man. Watson then notes that the actual creator of the GIF may in fact be some dude out in Mexico, not the person CNN has been threatening. Warning: the following video includes the obnoxious Alex Jones, head honcho of InfoWars. I'm okay with Watson, who also works for InfoWars, but Jones is a loudmouth who risks damaging his own brand, if he hasn't done so already. Anyway, here's the video, which begins with a hilarious compilation of memes that have arisen in response to CNN's threats against the middle-aged man who goes by the goofy moniker HanAssholeSolo:

What you're seeing, with that GIF compilation, is a variant of "the Streisand Effect," in which an attempt to suppress/repress/oppress leads to explosive pushback. According to lore, Barbra Streisand once demanded that people take down images of one of her posh Malibu residences, so of course the Internet responded by shotgunning images of her ostentatious domicile everywhere, making a relatively unknown property into a widely known quantity. If CNN thought that its belligerent posturing could somehow intimidate other internautes (as the French call Netizens) into silence, that thinking has blown up in its face, and the memes, like a toilet explosion, are now everywhere. There's even the juicy possibility that CNN's threats have broken one or more laws, so we'll see how that pans out. What's obvious is that the media, for all their flailing, have become experts at shooting themselves in the face where President Trump is concerned, and this won't change anytime soon because, as Styx points out, the old "legacy" media don't have a blessed idea how to deal with the new alt-media.

Meanwhile, here's Roaming Millennial's take on the CNN flap:

You will, of course, watch Roaming Millennial's video because she's pretty.

Roaming Millennial brings up a term that's been bouncing around a lot lately: "doxxing." This is slang for releasing another person's "documents" (hence "doxx") to the public—information like phone numbers, email addresses, IP addresses, actual home addresses, etc., in the hopes of inciting harassment against the person being doxxed.

Doxxing isn't a new phenomenon: here in Korea, everyone knows the story of the "dog-shit girl" (gaeddong-nyeo, 개똥녀), whose little dog took a watery shit inside a subway car way back in 2005. When offended riders demanded that she clean the mess up, the defiant woman ignored her fellows, collected her dog, and simply left the subway. Thanks to videos of the incident, the woman's face was splashed all over the internet, and it was only a matter of time before someone ID'ed the woman and found out her personal information. After that, the dog-shit girl was harassed by phone and at her home. Such is the power of online vigilantism, and I suppose we should be glad that things didn't escalate beyond that. So for my old-fogey readers, now you know what "doxxing" is: malicious exposure of private documents and information. (A variant spelling is "doxing," but the double-X spelling came first. Urban Dictionary suggests the term comes from the ".docx" file suffix.)

The #CNNBlackmail situation continues to evolve, and I'm coming to agree with savvier commenters that Trump is using Twitter the way an aikidoka employs an atemi, i.e., as a strike that isn't intended to do more than to distract and/or keep the opponent off-balance. Meanwhile, Trump is quietly enacting policy—a fact that's hard to notice if you've been reading only mainstream-media sources. Switch to alt-media for a comprehensive list of Trump's accomplishments since taking office. Everything else is fluff.

Oh, yeah: this.


King Baeksu said...

#CNN : Losing The Meme War - BADLY

King Baeksu said...

Tfw the Internet kills a multibillion-dollar media empire: