Salon Claims Fake News Isn’t as Bad for Democracy as Internet Memes

Like Trump fake wrestling a superimposed CNN logo.

The Left has become so unhinged it now believes a goofy online meme is more dangerous to democracy than the mainstream media peddling fake news.

Sophia McClennen, a professor of International Affairs and Comparative Literature at Pennsylvania State University, makes this claim in her piece for Salon, “Forget fake news — alt-right memes could do more damage to democracy.” McClennen specifically pointed to the most recent meme of President Trump wrestling the CNN logo, saying Trump crossed “yet another line” by tweeting out the “aggressive, immature and inflammatory” video.

“But the real story here is not about Trump; it’s about the increasing power and presence of alt-right communication on various social media platforms, from Twitter to YouTube to Reddit to Facebook,” McClennen writes. “What is interesting is the way that rants and memes and other alt-right tirades have major success in shaping public opinion. And while there is a through line between these outbursts and fake news, it is important to point out that the rants are likely far more influential than fake news in shaping political perception.”

McClennen says the “real lesson for CNN” and the rest of the MSM is they’ve missed the “real story” -- the one beyond Trump and fake news, and that is, “the rise of emotional, aggressive, inflammatory, bigoted communication on social media and the power these posts have had in shaping the ideas of the Trump-supporting alt-right.”

The professor argues that at least with fake news it “at least tried to pose as news” but suggests memes are “pure opinion, outburst and excess.”

“[W]e are seeing the growing power of individuals outside of traditional media circuits who have built a following by suggesting that their voices are more authentic and more accurate than those of the so-called liberal, elitist, majority-silencing news,” she writes. “While attention has focused on the way that Trump and his team have demonized the free press, it is time to pay more attention to the encroaching power of the alt-right on social media to influence national dialogues.”

McClennen ends with some advice for CNN, telling the network to be less worried about Trump’s accusations and more worried “that an increasing number of U.S. citizens are forming their political ideas based on alt-right rants, and not on anything that even remotely resembles information.” Stop “covering politics as if it were a game,” she says, and start realizing that “a major portion of the population” doesn’t trust the media. 

What's really sad is that a professor missed the entire point that CNN is fake news and that Americans are wising up and holding our national press accountable for its misdeeds. Has she forgotten that it's We the People who are in control of this thing called the United States of America?

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