Neil’s declassified (political) survival guide: The Internet
February 21, 2017
Looking critically at politics on the internet
Find reliable sources and turn on your critical thinking caps
Look at the source:
Obviously don’t let jibbyjammer.wordpress.com have the final say about Trump’s immigration policies, but it is also necessary to be skeptical of the narratives which many mainstream sources espouse. Corporate cable news outlets like CNN, MSNBC, or Fox often are beholden to their lust for ratings, regardless of how detrimental it is to journalism. With often in-depth, reliable coverage, local and decentralized news is vastly underrated.
Evaluate the the headline:
Last election, Infowars, a site run by nut-job Alex Jones, ran a headline claiming that political figures Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were practicing satanic spirit cooking and of course no where in the “news” piece was this actually proven to be true. Simply put, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.
Find apps that work for you:
My recommendation for must-have application is “countable,” an accessory which streamlines essential information such as who your local legislators are, which bills are being proposed currently, and who is doing what in politics. It is all encompassing and provides a participatory platform for its users.
Figure out the real meaning of buzz words
Commonly used as an easy means of dismissing someone who is more left-wing. ‘Liberal tears” is used to attack those deemed overly sensitive. In far-leftist groups, liberal is generally an insult referring to those not in favor of revolutionary change.
Thrown around a lot without any understanding that fascism requires strong nationalism, a right-wing movement, and some form of authoritarianism.
Alt-right is not synonymous with neo-nazi. The alternative-right is a far right movement which rejects mainstream conservative politics, ie. the Republican Party, but is strongly in favor of fringe, populist figures such as Donald Trump. Its most important attribute is that it was born out of the reactionary “trolling” meme culture of domains like 4chan and reddit. Like the internet, it is extremely amorphous and unpredictable, so avoid generalizing these guys.
Donald Trump is the 45th president and having to say his name sucks.
Stay away from the libertarians
How can you understand what they are about if they don’t even understand themselves?
Never, ever engage in direct conflict with people
When your elderly, traditional grandma writes an essay post on Facebook stating that Black Lives Matter is a gang of thugs, it might seem like a good idea to confront her on the internet. Nine times out of ten, after getting anxious and insecure as to how this affects your relationship, neither person is convinced of the other’s side over the internet, and you will end up exasperated by the end. If the urge to strongly react to others’ posts becomes insatiable there is a solid solution for that…
Other tips that will save your life
- Just like for everything else on the internet, memes are the language of politics
- Challenge yourself to view content outside of your internet bubble
- Realize that activism looks very different from a virtual screen than it does on the ground
- If you’re sharing 14 links a day, half of your friends have probably unfollowed you by now
- Don’t read comments on news articles or Youtube