Memes have long been dismissed as inside jokes with no political importance. Nothing could be further from the truth. Memes are bedrock to the strategy of conspiracists such as Alex Jones, provocateurs like Milo Yiannopoulos, white nationalists like Nick Fuentes, and tacticians like Roger Stone. While the media and most politicians struggle to harness the organizing power of the internet, the “redpill right” weaponizes memes, pushing conspiracy theories and disinformation into the mainstream to drag people down the rabbit hole. These meme wars stir strong emotions, deepen partisanship, and get people off their keyboards and into the streets–and the steps of the US Capitol. Join disinformation and media manipulation experts Dr. Joan Donovan and Brian Freidberg, from the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, in a discussion about how far-right extremist communities online are using memes and social media to bring new people to their ideologies, and drive real-world actions.
Photocredit: Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
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