The Left’s Gatekeepers Vs The Right’s Pizzagaters

The alternate reality that is the rightwing media echo chamber came into focus after 9/11. There was always concern that our response to 9/11, not the event itself, would be our undoing. Osama bin Laden knew this even if Dubya, for all his stratgery, didn’t. Today we’ve reached the promised land, kids, a place where nothing in the Fox-Trump continuum even matches the findings of our own intelligence community. Yay, team ‘Murica! We are officially two separate countries and both of them are going tits up. Post Trump’s inauguration I predicted Fox & Friends would attempt to drive this whopping pile of Foxal matter through The White House by—

[‘F*** the Face of the Nation’ joke removed by the editor. Geesh, Zano, get back on those meds!]

Check out The Atlantic’s The Impossible Job of Speaking Truth to Trump. It gives an insider account of what it’s like to be one of the last adults in the room. A recent Mathew Gertz Daily Beast article covers how the growing cancer of Foxal-matter would pressure the president into either the next government shutdown or a national emergency:

“Trump made clear throughout the shutdown that he was prioritizing the support of Fox’s hosts over all other considerations. He consulted with Hannity and Dobbs for strategic advice about how to handle the shutdown, gave a national address in which he ripped language from their shows, and showed up on Fox programs to make his pitch directly to their audiences.”

In the same article Gertz predicted that the ‘National Emergency’ would be fueled by Fox and Frauds and that eventually the president would cave to their reality-devoid-demands (RDD). Now that it’s happened, support even from the rightwing media seemed tepid at best. Does this mean they’re finally showing some insight? No, but it is noteworthy when we catch glimpses of the bottom of the bottomless pit that is the Grand Old Party.

After studying all the interactions between the president and Fox News, what Gertz fails to do is predict anything beyond the next government shutdown. Sure a national emergency was immanent, but there’s a much bigger problem looming: the next Republican president was always going to blow up the Iran deal and then try to blow up Iran. My recent take, here.

More and more of the mechanisms that Republicans use to foment lies and channel them through their echo-chamber are being exposed. The Atlantic’s Jurecic points to a Harvard study that explains how the rightwing media accomplishes this through a click bait “attention bone” that relies heavily on social media repetition. Disreputable scandals, positions, and views are hatched by InfoWars, Breitbart and the like and they receive such a welcome reception by rightwing social media that the stories are picked up by Fox News and eventually end up in my comment threads. Thanks, Pokey, ha, ha.

Let’s not give our Republican friends a chance to catch up. Patience is a virtue …to a point. Republicans are apparently the most susceptible to self-perpetuating Foxal matter. Too many of them seem unable to separate falsehood from fact. This is the same approach and environment Jerome Corsi, Roger Stone’s buddy, used to hatch birtherism and successfully swift-boat John Kerry back in the day. Thanks? Hey, if Corsi is implicated in the Mueller probe than maybe there is a God. See? I can evolve my position, Poke.

“If there is good business in misinformation, in other words, there is also good business in laundering that misinformation into quasi-respectable shape for the consumption of viewers, including the president.”
Quinta Jurecic

This previously cited Harvard study suggests social media is decidedly more insular on the right side of the spectrum. This study is a great read and it mimics my own online experiences and theories, namely, how the bubble of non-reality is easier to amplify on the political right because of the lack of any filters. It’s like farting into a megaphone made by Bic.

This same approach doesn’t tend to work as well on the left, or as the study states:

“Unreliable sources on the left did not share the same amplification that equivalent sites on the right did.”

Fart of the Deal? MAGAfication? There’s one aspect of this study that I question, however. It claims the right and the left are equally as susceptible to these biases, so their conclusion as to why the left is better at spotting bullshit is, uh …well, I call bullshit:

“The network structure and practices of media on the right reinforced these basic dynamics, while network structure and media practices throughout the rest of the media ecosystem, particularly the greater interconnection of sources across the center, center-left, and left, moderated them.”

Sorry, Harvard, but there are too many insightful types, even on comment threads, ready to call bullshit.

Whereas left has gatekeepers, the right only has pizzagaters.

Libs may not be particularly savvy, but Republicans are clearly susceptible to anything that remotely supports their worldviews, which seems to demand constant reinforcement. Pavlov’s blogs? Intolerant conditioning?

Liberals are waaaay more apt to shut down something they think is fake. I’m living this reality in satire land. A second identified pattern is the death of the Republican intelligentsia. Even the best of their best are being drowned out by the fray, here. Essentially the Weekly Standard (RIP), The Hill, and The National Review got crowded out by the less reputable rightwing media sources, like, well, all the rest of ’em.

“Propaganda, and in particular, disinformation, a sustained campaign of materially misleading political messaging was intended to shape attitudes and beliefs of its target population and to keep them from engaging in critical reflection on policy or political choices they faced. It leveraged basic psychological features of memory and belief formation—that repetition and familiarity improve recall and credibility—and basic features of a network of interlinked sites to create the appearance of facts reported in many diverse outlets.”

These same tactics proved very effective against Hillary Clinton and it’s why the favorability of a Senator who had 72% approval rating and similar numbers as Secretary of State became so viscerally unpopular. It’s why we have an ass-clown Hitler in the oval office.

This study doesn’t offer much hope for the future either:

“As long as extremist messaging and sensationalist disinformation continue to win elections while bringing in rich advertising rewards to the networks that propagate them, the dynamic we observe here will likely continue unabated.”

Yeah, you heard it all here first, but let’s give those Harvard types a chance to catch up!

[Harvard Lampoon joke removed by the editor and buried in a snow bank.]


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Mick Zano

Mick Zano

Mick Zano is the Head Comedy Writer and co-founder of The Daily Discord. He is the Captain of team Search Truth Quest and is currently part of the Witness Protection Program. He is being strongly advised to stop talking any further about this, right now, and would like to add that he is in no way affiliated with the Gambinonali crime family. 

  8 comments for “The Left’s Gatekeepers Vs The Right’s Pizzagaters

  1. pokey
    March 11, 2019 at 8:31 AM

    I challenge you to test this general theory with specific examples. I’ll give you one factual falsity that I have recently witnessed people on the Left embracing, and then you give me a specific example of a factual falsity that people on the Right embrace. We’ll go back and forth.

    My first example–2 weeks ago I ask an educated and “intelligent” woman if she was aware that forensic evidence proved that Michael Brown, when confronted by Darren Wilson, never put his hands up and never said “don’t shoot!”
    She was totally dumbfounded. “That never happened?”
    “Nope,” I said. “It never happened. You have been brainwashed by Leftist propaganda.”
    I still don’t think she believes me. I don’t think she wants to believe me.

    I test many Leftists with this question, and have found a high percentage who STILL totally believe this proven factual falsity.

    Your turn.

    • Mick Zano
      March 11, 2019 at 2:49 PM

      My typical response: both sides are delusional and or ill informed, so I prefer looking to the subject matter experts on each side and what see what those debates look like. Oh, that’s right our republican friends don’t have anymore of those –thus the problem. As for anecdotal stuff, my other typical response: Don’t waste your time finding a dumb liberal, the true challenge is finding a smart republican.

      But, still, the challenge sounds fun.

      If you asked just about anyone on the right, or anyone in America for that matter, which of our political parties is more fiscally responsible, 9 out of 10 would say republicans. This is a lie. Here’s a quote from the Hill today, one of the last reputable rightwing news outlets:

      “Contrary to the rhetoric of the GOP, these modern allegedly ‘small government’ Republican presidents have done even worse than recent ‘big government’ Democratic presidents, who have bettered their Republican counterparts in restraining annualized change in federal spending as a proportion of GDP and reducing annualized change in federal deficits and national debt as portions of GDP.” The Hill

      As for BLM, I always focused on the Garner video. In the end the officer was not indicted for choking a man to death on video. The problem is not the details of the Michael Brown case, good or bad, because the details are irrelevant. Regardless of the situation (video tapped or not, all the evidence in the world or none) the default = the cop gets to kill with impunity and then usually walks. Some people are not okay with that model.

      • pokey
        March 11, 2019 at 3:30 PM

        I’m asking for specific cases of false narrative promoted by media. Your “big government” example, though true and relevant, is a general believe not a specific case of verified lie.

        The reason people believe these false stories is because the Left’s media implicitly or explicitly encourages such narrative.

        I’ll give you another one–Lorretta recused herself from the Clinton case. I’ve won money off of this one. CNN reported it, and most Leftists didn’t hear or listen to the whispered retraction. When the Left wanted Sessions to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, they were all (including the Left wing news media) claiming that Lynch set the bar of recusal a few months earlier, so now Sessions should follow her example. Of course when it was shown that Loretta Lynch never did recuse herself, the Left ignored the fact of recusal but it didn’t change their assertion that Session should recuse.

        • Mick Zano
          March 11, 2019 at 6:36 PM

          I think it would be easier to say ‘anything a republican believes is a lie’, specifics, generalist, or otherwise, but OK, I’ll play. What makes you think the same media bias isn’t employed on the right? Do they get everything wrong organically or is there some implicit/explicit bias going on there as well? So what if certain folks don’t follow every detail of the Lynch recusal narrative? My thesis is that the entirety of republicanism is built on false assumptions. In this case the devil not in the details, the devil is in plain sight.

          Fine, how about this one narrative: According to the Guardian, at the time of the invasion of Iraq 7 in 10 Americans felt Saddam Hussein had a role in 9/11. I lie that led to …well, you know, or at least I hope you do.

          • pokey
            March 12, 2019 at 8:27 AM

            Its just too easy to throw out generalities and not have to defend them. If your thesis is true, then it will be easy to find specific examples of right wing media bias (and I do believe there is right wing bias) induced false beliefs.

            My thesis is that,of course media bias exists on all sides, but during the Bush administration the majority of media perpetuated lies favored Bush’s agenda. During Obama’s administration, the majority of media perpetuated lies favored Obama’s agenda. Now, the majority of media perpetuated lies favors “anybody who opposes Trump.”

            Yes, perfect example, you are absolutely right. Fox News encouraged the narrative that Saddam Hussein was involved with 9/11. That’s the example I was prepared to give you, if you were still having trouble.

            My turn–For nearly a week, mainstream and alternative news sources reported that the Catholic, Pro-life, Covington maga hat wearing teenagers ridiculed an elderly, frail, yet valiant Indian brave. Finally enough of the “fringe” right wing sources did the necessary investigative research (it took me about ten minutes) to reveal the truth to the thousands of angry Left wing mobsters threatening to virtually scalp the teens–that the Indian was the aggressive provocateur and the Covington Catholic Pro-life maga hat wearing teenagers conducted themselves with virtue.

            Your turn–anything else?

            • Mick Zano
              March 12, 2019 at 1:39 PM

              I give up, not because there’s not more, I’m not sure we should have the longest comment thread in history. Although, one egregious episode does stick out: the first sign of clear collusion between Fox News and the Trump campaign occurred when Fox’s Bret Bair ran with “Hillary indictment immanent!” This occurred shortly after the seizing of Anthony Weiner’s lapdance, which was then picked up and ran on every Fox segment and all across the rightwing echochamber …for 48 hours …during early voting. It was a lie – a lie they knew would hurt her and decided it was worth the risk, presumably so we had a better chance of electing a barely coherent commander in chief. Thanks? I do not believe for a second that was a coincidence. They ran with extremely damaging bullshit, at that crucial juncture, knowing it would cost her votes and possibly the election. Hillary rightly points to Comey’s decision in this matter as the biggest negative factor, but for Fox the truth wasn’t juicy enough, so they filled in the blanks …with indictments. Both sides push their narrative, but what you need to grasp is how one is exaggerated and the other is patently false. These are more false equivalencies. Never mind the fact everything republicans stand for is crap. Lying a country into war and trying to tip elections is a little worse than ‘he said she saids’ during rally brawls and murky recusal legalese. Oh, and Sessions’ recusal was inevitable after he lied to Congress about his dealings with Russia. Another thing Fox lied about. They lie about the people who lie. You’re using the Trump tactic, because there’s so many lies, who can follow? You harped on about five Obama lies, or, more accurately, what you perceived as lies, over the course of 8 years. Trump fibbed more times since this latest comment debate was even birthered.

              • pokey
                March 13, 2019 at 8:38 AM

                You got me with that one, Zano. That’s one a had been ignorant of. Perhaps you can teach me a thing or two. That leads me to my next example–“Russia hacked the election” reported by APs Tom LeBianco, “to the panel–did Russia hack the election?” Entire panel–“Yes.” and CNN Dianiella Diaz, “Did Russia hack the election?” Panel–“Yes.” among other false reporters.

                Every time I bring up an example of a media lie on the Left, you justify it with your “false equivalency” claim. How are this false equivalencies? It’s reprehensible to me when any media source (Right or Left or anyone else) lies to me.

                I “need to grasp how one is exaggerated and the other patently false.” Which one of mine is mere exaggeration? “Hands up don’t shoot” implies submission when the evidence showed Brown to be the aggressor, even wrestling for Wilson’s gun. (Wilson lost his job over this media perpetuated lie). Anybody who researched the Covington incident for ten minutes knows that it was a lie, a smear against the teenagers. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that these kids harassed the Indian; it’s slander–He harassed them.

                And “Russia hacked the election?” mere exaggeration?

                I acknowledge that your examples are in fact lies. I have no excuses or justification for this behavior. People in media should lose their job for uncorroborated reporting. But quit making excuses for the Left’s lies–“exaggerations” “not nearly as bad as the Right’s lies”.

                That’s what I suspect the Resistance is about–“lie, cheat, steal, or kill” to Resist Trump. All lies are fare game in order to stop the tyrant Donald Trump.

                And give me another example.

                • Mick Zano
                  March 13, 2019 at 12:05 PM

                  This is turning into a feature, ha, ha. I will start to work on it. But i’ll do you one better. I’m watching Hannity tonight, or at least some of it, and I’ll give you taste of the foxal matter that passes for the truth each day. I am answering some of this in the article. Thanks Poke!

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