CSotD: Troll Bridge, Everybody Down!

Gonna start off with this one because, first of all, the garish colors are not only appropriate given the subject matter but also because the lack of specificity adds to its appeal.

It’s by Steve Bright, aka Brighty, who is a Scot. That’s not relevant to the point of the cartoon except to provide a little bit of comfort to know that Internet trolls are a thing in the UK as well as here, plus a little bit of shame to know that the trolls of … what? … two generations ago? … reached over there, too.

I feature this 2005 Jeff Danziger cartoon regularly, as a reminder that we’ve always had wackjobs and gossips and hateful, deluded screwballs amongst us, but they were somewhat self-contained until the Internet provided them with a megaphone.

I include “gossips” in that listing because it wasn’t just eccentric barroom jackasses but also the people who ventured out into the daylight to spread their venom more widely. One advantage of small-town life was that we knew who these toxic liars were, hence the phrase “Consider the source.”

You could dismiss their over-the-back-fence garbage because you knew them and perhaps pitied their families, and, similarly, it’s not difficult to unmask trolls on line if you take a moment to click on them and look at what other hateful, ignorant nonsense they’ve posted.

But few people do, and, worse, too many people happily pass it on, so that the trail to “Who makes up this stuff?” grows cold. And I suppose it’s only theoretically interesting, unless it’s some nutjob who owns his own social media platform and shovels out nasty, divisive lies from atop an unassailable throne.

Which is funny because I left you two obvious choices. Flip a coin.

Though, as Ed Wexler suggests, one of them may not be so unassailable after all.

Dear Leader is crowing over a small victory in New York, where his bond was reduced, and he’s happy about having delayed his Georgia trial by delving into the personal relationship of the DA and chief investigator.

And it may portend a few escapes here and there: He’s still got the advantage of a gob-smackingly inept judge in his stolen documents case, and her questionable rulings may assist him there, if only to prolong the case until after the elections.

Which is kind of funny because she was born in Colombia, making her one of those immigrants he doesn’t think belong here and, more than that, one of them thar bilingular judges he swears cannot possibly be fair.

BTW, a police officer was killed in NYC yesterday and the NY Post forgot to tell us where the shooter was born. Certainly, if he’d been an immigrant, we’d have heard about it.

Anyway, Fani Willis assures us that the train is coming and we should remember that, while a major goal of the insurrectionist crowd is to assure us that both the electoral and judicial system are corrupt, they haven’t proved it and we can still trust that the gossips and trolls are wrong.

Which brings us to Jack Ohman’s cartoon and the New-Coke-level disaster unfolding at NBC, where the decision to put a gossiping troll on the payroll has sparked major public pushback.

It’s important to note that the pushback has been both major and public, because normally an unpopular hiring decision results in grumbling or, at worst, a deputation sent to meet with the Powers That Be for an unburdening of angst that results in pats on the head all around.

Boy, not this time, and there are too many links for me to point out all the loud objections that have been made both majorly and publicly, though you might want to start with Reliable Sources, which features a wide selection of condemnations over the move, and perhaps add Parker Molloy’s musings, which are less poised but not less well-researched.

Both add a variety of links to expand upon the flood of objections, so if you enjoy watching things fall apart, you’ll find plenty of fun there.

One oft-repeated theme in all these loud objections is that nobody minds bringing in a conservative voice. Molloy links to a Variety article in which Brian Steinberg goes on at some length about the number of Republican loyalists who have been hired by various networks to provide that perspective.

But there’s a difference between a loyalist and a liar, as Oliver Darcy notes in Reliable Sources:

While, in the Washington Post, Jeremy Barr goes on at some length over how networks have sought conservative voices and why this effort was different.

And it is. For instance, even in the Meet the Press interview, McDaniel refused to renounce her denialism. Asked if she accepted Biden’s election, she used the popular insurrectionist dodge, “He is the president,” which means she acknowledges that he took the oath, not that he actually won the election, which she insists “had problems.”

Numerous examinations and investigations have failed to turn up any substantive “problems” in the election, which brings us back to the saying that, if one person says it’s raining and one person says it’s sunny, the journalist’s job is not to quote them both but to look out the window.

As Darcy suggests, if denialism and hostility to media comprise the alternative voice NBC wanted, they could have hired Tucker Carlson or Candace Owens, both of whom are available at the moment.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Morten Morland

Guy Venables

Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, British intelligence has uncovered Chinese hacking of voters’ personal information as well as information on British politicians not seen as favorable to Beijing.

So far, the response from both UK and US officials has been sanctions against the actual proprietors of the spy jobs as well as a message of “Don’t worry! Be happy!” from the British Foreign Office:

So there ya go! Don’t move, and don’t panic! Don’t take off your shoes!

But you might want to pay a little more attention to who owns TikTok and what information it might give them access to. Assuming you feel there is a difference between the Chinese government and our own.

And if you don’t, you should probably unplug everything.

Meanwhile, this dedication goes out to Fani, as a reminder to keep on keepin’ on:

4 thoughts on “CSotD: Troll Bridge, Everybody Down!

  1. As if we needed more proof that journalism in America is dead, or at least dying a slow painful gurgle.

    Instead of looking out the window, we have a news media that insists it is both sunny and raining in the interest of “fairness”, because surely giving a platform to lying whackjobs never ends badly.

  2. Amen, AJ. NBC also employs the daughter of a convicted war criminal so ‘fair’ is highly subjective in the front office.

    1. Convicted? Really? Who, and convicted by whom? And when did children begin serving sentences for their parents?

      “Fair” may indeed be subjective!

  3. Thank you! I loved what I read and enjoyed the toons. Moreover, you give me hope that I might keep my sanity.

Comments are closed.