It’s that time of the US election cycle again: what were formerly known as “newspapers of record” attempting to, for political reasons, promote odd ideas like regulating jokes.
It’s The New York Times this time, looking like it’s terrified that Donald Trump might be successful in his new presidential bid, and so going guns blazing after what it calls his “troll army.”
And “troll” here means — meme creators. As for the memes themselves, the NYT either pretends not to or doesn’t get the joke — namely, that they are jokes, and basically treats them as sinister tools for peddling misinformation and deepfakes.
To add insult to the paper’s injury, the memes not only support the Trump campaign, but Trump also enjoys them, and takes time to communicate with the meme creators.
The article claims that there is a large number of “sexist and racist tropes” being repeated in these memes, but singles out a video collection of some of President Biden’s many gaffes.
Trump apparently liked the original and used it during his rallies, but the gaffes are truly so many, that he thought a few more could be added to the video, which the creator was happy to do.
This, the NYT treats as a very serious matter, referring to the creator as “effectively” being no less than a member of “a shadow online ad agency” for Trump — even though he does not work for him.
What happened to the right to back a presidential candidate, express it in a humorous way, and not be treated with suspicion and described in over-the-top dramatic tone, such as that these creators with the memes, “brutally denigrate” Biden, and show “unrelenting cruelty of internet trolls” who resort to “vulgar invectives”?
But it’s the suggested “solutions” that are the most bizarre part of the article.
One is the implication that memes should be treated as ads that run on TV and radio, meaning, regulated for “accuracy, fairness and transparency.”
And then onto the creators: the paper wouldn’t mind if they start being considered “super PACs” (i.e., independent expenditure only political activity committees), who would have to disclose any donors and provide reports about spending — and, possibly face restrictions on coordinating with campaigns.
Source: Didi Rankovic, ReclaimTheNet.org