If you want to have an easy condescending laugh at someone else’s expense (and who doesn’t?), type the words “non story” into the Twitter search bar and look how many Hillary Clinton supporters are using that phrase to try and spin away the FBI’s discovery of new evidence pertinent to the criminal investigation of their candidate. Use quotation marks. You can do it with Facebook’s search function too, just make sure you click “Latest” to get the last few days’ worth of spin.
If you spent any time on large internet forums when the Podesta leaks began to drop, you’ve seen this song and dance before. Every reference to the latest leak that got any amount of visibility was immediately swarmed by a coordinated mob of Clinton loyalists/paid shills all regurgitating the same phrases over and over again: this isn’t news, this is a non-story, these leaks just reveal normal politics stuff, I actually like her more after reading them. You saw it over and over and over again, on Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, etc. A post on my own page got brigaded by them earlier this month with the exact same “nothing to see here” schtick. They swarmed in out of nowhere and just took over for a few hours, all sharing the same formulaic message.
Right. Nothing to see here, just the single biggest political scandal of a first-world country in living memory. Perfectly normal, right Mia?
I wonder what the lives of these people are like when they have such nebulous and flexible definitions of “normal.” Can you picture them at home?
“Dear, the twins crazy glued their faces to Grandma!”
“And I think Grandma’s dead!”
“Why are you even telling me this? It’s a non-story.”
I mean, really? Hundreds of thousands of new emails called “pertinent to the investigation” of your candidate’s criminal case in a file her assistant reportedly labeled “Life Insurance,” Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein and former FBI assistant director Ron Hosko both agree that there’s no way Comey would stick his neck out like this unless there was strong suspicion of something truly massive, other enormous scandals are popping up so fast they’re burying each other in the news, from the Observer‘s release of an audio recording wherein Clinton openly advocated election-rigging, to the notorious James O’Keefe’s promise to deliver a ”tape of them demeaning and disparaging black people,” and this is all just normal stuff, guys? Really?
But they keep at it, God bless their mechanical little hearts. Deny that anything significantly disastrous is happening to their candidate’s campaign despite galaxies of evidence to the contrary and mix in a remark about what a pervy creep Trump is for good measure.
And of course, when in doubt, start shrieking about Russia.
Oh come on, you kids can do better than that!
Hahahaha! Yeah. That’s the stuff.
So in case you’re having trouble following, Vladimir Putin is personally responsible for Democratic elites rigging their primary to illicitly nominate a woman who has been under ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI, and also this immense international conspiracy is a non-story.
“Methinks the lady doth protest too much.”
I’ve been relying on this phrase more and more in my attempts to navigate a world where our government is lying to us and the media is helping them. Leakers, transparency advocates and alternative media have been tremendously helpful in learning what’s really happening in our world, but my most useful navigation tool by far is the loud squealing protests by the paid shill army that erupt whenever I’m looking somewhere I’m not supposed to be looking. That’s pretty much how I write articles these days. I just look at which ideas are getting slammed by coordinated, scripted disinformation attacks favoring the oligarchs, and I put my head down and run in that direction. I highly recommend it.
Paid shills are thus far the only solution the ruling elites have come up with for the problem of humanity’s newfound ability to network and share information at a radically unprecedented rate, since the only tools the plutocrats know how to use are power, money and manipulation. And to be fair they have succeeded in their disinformation campaigns in various ways. I’ve seen a lot of good people succumb to the lies being pumped out by the propaganda machine.
But this tactic of theirs comes with a trade-off: no one is going to devote their creativity and ingenuity to shilling for the soul-crushing job they do for the same reason a prostitute doesn’t do more work than necessary to get paid. They just regurgitate the same lines from the same playbook. Whenever you notice a large, suddenly-appearing trend of repeating a specific party line, you may be sure paid shills are behind it. That means that they’re actually showing us their playbook. They’re showing us what they want us to pay attention to and what they don’t want us to look at. Those playbooks are authored by the people in power.
I know I started by talking about “Hillary supporters” and finished by talking about paid shills, and I know they’re not always the same thing, but I don’t care about that distinction when talking about shilling. You don’t get to support a candidate who openly uses paid internet shills and then whine when you get lumped in with them.
I guess what I’m trying to tell you, dear reader, is be naughty. Look where you’re not supposed to be looking. These creeps haven’t even figured out reverse psychology yet; shilling is still too young and clumsy a propaganda medium for them to employ the double bluff with any agility, so for now it’s all very easy and straightforward. Just let them tell you where you’re not meant to look and charge in.
[Featured Image by Jay LaPrete/AP Images]