How right-wing information warfare works

By | December 13, 2022

Greg Sargent writes:

By now it should be obvious that for large swaths of the right-wing media ecosystem, the Triggering of the Libs has become an end in itself. In the brutal competition of the so-called attention economy, provoking large-scale outrage and loathing is not an incidental feature of making controversial arguments. It has become a key marker of success.

Over the weekend, Elon Musk called for the prosecution of Anthony S. Fauci, the leading infectious-disease expert in the Biden administration. “My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci,” Musk tweeted, mocking transgender people for good measure. Musk then endorsed a complicated right-wing conspiracy theory about Fauci’s role in the covid-19 pandemic.

Democrats and other Musk critics reacted with an explosion of outrage. One Democratic senator pleaded with Musk to “leave a good man alone.” Another member of Congress seethed: “Shame on you.” Former CIA director John Brennan scolded Musk: “You have no class.”

All these responses — which also noted that Fauci admirably tried to serve the country during a major crisis and under great pressure — are reasonable. But outrage and shaming also seem fundamentally out of touch with basic realities of how right-wing information warfare really works.

This sort of info-warring, at bottom, is what characterizes Musk’s transformation into the world’s richest right-wing troll. Tons of pixels have been wasted on efforts to pin down Musk’s true beliefs, but whatever they are, we can say right now that he’s consciously exploiting fundamental features of the right-wing information ecosystem. His critics should adapt accordingly. [Continue reading…]

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