By Donald Joy
The subtlest of subterfuge is being practiced at all times, everywhere, by those of the Alinskyite Left. Although they’re malevolently delusional about what makes a society just, moral, and economically healthy, they can be as cunning as foxes and brilliantly Machiavellian in their strategy and tactics.
Primary among the items on their agenda is to continually ridicule those of us on the Right. In fact, Saul Alinsky himself, in his classic community-organizing handbook titled Rules for Radicals, taught his rule #5 as follows: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates your opponent, which then reacts to your advantage.”
I’d been marginally aware of the website known as nationalreport.net for some time, how long I’m not exactly sure, but only in recent days did I become somewhat alarmed about their content, and about the fact that suddenly an increasing number of my conservative friends on Facebook are posting/”sharing” stories from that site, as if the stories are genuine.
What is specifically alarming to me is that my friends are being duped into ridiculing themselves, and into unwittingly casting ridicule upon the entire conservative cause, by a gaggle of clever Leftists who write for National Report.
National Report pretends (somewhat successfully) to be a conservative news and opinion website proudly aligned with the Tea Party camp. Their banner masthead features pictures of Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin on either side of the large bold text, NATIONAL REPORT, with “America’s #1 Independent News Team” in smaller text underneath.
Here’s the problem: It’s one thing for unwary or unsophisticated conservatives to mistakenly think some satirical piece on The People’s Cube or The Daily Currant is real, and not the tongue-in-cheek lampooning that those sites are known for. But it’s another thing when those on our side of the aisle swallow Trojan-hoaxes that are planted within what deceptively appears to be a right-wing website, intended to discredit our movement and expose us as dense, gullible, religious-redneck simpletons when we spread the fake stories virally as if they are real, and perpetuate the usual passionate outrage among conservatives at the outrageous (but fake) content in them.
For example: A couple of weeks ago a Facebook friend shared a story from National Report with the headline Police Barge Into Classroom and Tase Multiple Children “For The Heck Of It.” My friend, and some others who commented on the post, were duped into thinking it was a real story. According to the tabs on the NR webpage, the story has been shared over 86,300 times on Facebook!
Now, we on the right are constantly on the alert for stories that sound the alarm about increasing police-state thug tactics of the tyrannical socialist Obama administration and all that, right? And there’s no shortage of real, current stories which feature such aspects. The way that article was written so deftly in the early paragraphs, with just enough plausible, articulate, and deadpan-somber detail, disturbing as the subject matter was, was enough to give the perhaps most worldly Tea Party type pause, and provoke chin-scratching concern that things really have gotten that bad.
But the writers at National Report are finely honing the art of presenting stories which push all those buttons, but which a skeptically sober and diligent person can and should spot as sham agit-prop with just a little close further reading. In the later paragraphs, the subtle giveaway “tells” of the fraud emerge, and it becomes clearer that the writer is actually very slyly mocking the right by baiting us to pounce in a paranoid, reactive way.
The method works, obviously, based on the viral traffic many of the articles get. I even found myself admiring the skillfulness of what would otherwise be mere satire if it wasn’t actually meant to be taken otherwise by those unable or unwilling to detect the actual intent of the piece: Ridiculing the Right–not for purposes of providing enjoyment and “moral support” among readers from the Left, but to get those of us on the Right to carry the virus of ridicule ourselves. It’s rather brilliant, actually.
I’m troubled by the fact that so many people re-post the bogus stories without successfully vetting them, not just because I (as we all do) want our cause to be supported by credibility, but because people like those at National Report know exactly how to get many of us to react in a way that makes us look like a bunch of hysterical, shallow crazies and idiots. They are using our own knee-jerk outrage at ridiculous phony stories to make us look ridiculous.
Other bogus stories from National Report which I’ve seen my friends fall for and post include those such as City In Michigan First To Fully Implement Sharia Law(which has almost 53 thousand Facebook shares at the time I’m writing this) and Rocker And Conservative Activist Ted Nugent Survives Assassination Attempt(93K shares). Both are skillfully written, the former so convincingly that you’d actually believe the Dearborn city council voted 4-3 to enact what is purported if you weren’t cautious enough to see through it.
I admit to some degree of ambiguity about National Report–its editor-in-chief seems frequently to really exert himself to come across as a sincere right-winger. With some probing of his previous articles, however, one comes away with the impression that the entire website is about half absurdly-veiled scam pieces, and the other half are baiting, back-handed, sardonic-to-over-the-top caricatures of hardcore conservative philosophy and people.
I also admit that, myself being a writer for a website known for pushing the envelope and blurring the boundaries between straight news reporting and the full-on rhetorical war for the culture, I and my fellow Clashers write things which are oft meant to be provocative and alarming, politically, with plenty of “English” on the ball (back in my tennis-playing days of youth, that’s what we calledspin–we called it English) and zaniness thrown in. However, we here at ClashDaily.com are up-front about our agenda, we explicitly differentiate news and opinion pieces, and we label the occasional piece of satire as such.
Unlike ClashDaily.com, NR’s graphics and overall presentation are not bold, loud, colorful, edgy, and brash–they’re comparatively toned-down more to the level you’d expect from a conventional news website. Again, I assert that this is deliberate sleight-of-HTML. At the bottom of their webpage, National Report features this mild disclaimer (italics mine):
*DISCLAIMER: The National Report is an online portal for “citizen journalists”. The views expressed by writers on this site are theirs alone and are not reflective of the fine journalistic and editorial integrity of National Report. Advice given is NOT to be construed as professional. If you are in need of professional help, please consult a professional. National Report is not intended for children under the age of 18.
Saul Alinsky’s Rule #6 happens to be: ”A good tactic is something your people enjoy. If your people aren’t having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.”
It seems National Report is composed of disinformation agents who are making a fortune (based on all the advertising & traffic) and having the time of their lives, mocking/caricaturing conservatives by pretending to be conservatives themselves, posting fake stories designed to dupe us.
Speak software and carry a big mouse-click; just don’t carry their ridicule (of us) for them.