December 19, 2018
MSNBC's Malcolm Nance compares "memes" that Russia used to interfere in the 2016 election to "cruise missiles" being fired at the U.S. pic.twitter.com/7utHKjD1rn
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) December 19, 2018
This whole Russia thing man.
I just can’t hardly take it anymore.
But this thing here – this brings up a relevant point.
Millions of impressionable American minds are being corrupted by Russian-linked memes, “the cruise missiles of fake news”, according to MSNBC’s self-anointed Russia expert. Everyone agrees that this is a reasonable observation.
Malcolm Nance, a former Navy cryptologist who studied Arabic and served in the Middle East, makes regular appearances on MSNBC, where he is given generous amounts of airtime to share his thoughts on all things Russia related. In his latest appearance on the network, Nance described how the destructive power of Russian-linked internet memes have apparently devastated America.
“The Internet Research agency built all these memes and tropes which became the cruise missiles of fake news and disinformation,” Nance said. He claimed that these nefarious meme-bombs have ravaged the mental faculties of “one third of the United States population,” leaving them unable to “believe what they see before their very eyes.” And of course, these JPEG-rockets “may have elected a president in the process.”
Photographs of these ghastly cruise missiles have been floating around on the internet in recent days, with many noting their astonishing level of sophistication.
I don’t even know if Russians are actually making these memes. I tend to think they are not, and the entire thing is a complete hoax.
Even if Russian citizens are making these memes, it is a hoax that they are produced by the Russian government and it is an even bigger hoax that they are having any effect whatsoever on American political discourse.
Look at them.
This one about Jesus "garnered the most likes of any [Russian] Instagram post before the election." Maybe all of those 87,000 likes gave Trump the victory in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania? pic.twitter.com/wmazdHfFGI
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) December 18, 2018
This is an actual meme from the Russian troll farm, in which Jesus counsels someone addicted to masturbation:
“Reach out to me and we will beat it together.”
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) December 17, 2018
These are terrible memes.
You then have the further question of: why and how can it be illegal for Russians to post memes on the internet?
What does that even mean?
On another level, you basically have the Alt-Right and other right-wing figures being accused of being Russian agents for supporting policies that Jews do not like. If anyone posting memes supporting Donald Trump, and anyone supporting Donald Trump is a Russian stooge, then you have a situation where no one can genuinely support Donald Trump, and the only reason anyone ever would is that they are a Russian stooge.
All of this ends up being an attack on freedom of speech and an attack on the free exchange of ideas in general.
And we come back to the question of democracy itself: if people are so psychologically fragile that they cannot make up their own minds, and will make completely wrong decisions based on internet memes, then how can you have a universal suffrage democracy where everyone is allowed to vote?
If crappy internet memes can “ravage the mental faculties” of voters, then certainly, multi-million dollar media empires can do the same. And I certainly don’t think that MSNBC believes our mental faculties are so ravaged that we would be willing to simply trust them and CNN to just tell us the truth out of pure goodness of character.
These people are openly saying that for democracy to work, the population must be shielded from certain ideas and images. And of course, they are the ones who get to do the shielding – but that’s a secondary point. The fact that anyone would need to do any kind of shielding from any kind of ideas in order for democracy to work discredits the entire concept of democracy, which is based on the idea that each person is a unique individual who is capable of taking in all information and making up his or her own mind about which way they think society should go.
If this isn’t true – and it is clear that the argument coming from the left is that this isn’t true – then we need to absolutely stop talking about democracy as a valid system of government.
If people vote based on what media they consume – and again, that is their argument, not mine – then what “democracy” actually is is a system where those who control the media control the government.
And it appears that the current media is willing to be shockingly honest about this fact.
So let us then discuss things from that starting point, and decide if it is fair for the entire media to be controlled by extremely biased private companies with fully transparent political agendas.
Let’s just have an honest and open discussion about what exactly the implications of the revelation that “media decides the way people vote” actually are.