Yesterday, we discussed the “fundamentally unanswerable” question of whether people who read and share alt-right media actually believe the reporting. Do the readers of Gateway Pundit really think that “Antifa super-soldiers” plan to behead white parents on November 4th? One hopes not. Maybe they read Gateway Pundit the same way an older generation read the Weekly World News—as a publication that shares their outlook and makes up stories in that vein. There’s no way to know. I bet if you asked die-hard readers of the Weekly World News whether the stories were true, they’d say they believed every word. That’s how they get in on the joke.
Anyway, one thing we could say for certain was that the author of “ANTIFA Leader: ‘November 4th […] millions of antifa supersoldiers will behead all white parents'” did not believe it himself. Bard graduate and credentialed White House correspondent Lucian Wintrich did not mistake an ironic tweet for a leaked terrorist conspiracy. Here’s his intellectually dishonest justification, the next day, for describing a known Twitter ironist as an “Antifa leader.” Quote:
In Anarchist groups, groups with no real organizational structure, those who control the general conversation and are in positions of influence are leaders…Seeing as [the user] has a far left Twitter audience that includes many members of ANTIFA, I stand by the report.
By that reasoning, Bob Dylan is an ANTIFA leader, too. It’s a real stretch from “those who control the conversation are leaders” to a plan for mass beheadings on a specified date, and Wintrich surely knows it. He’s either intentionally misleading his audience or refusing to break kayfabe, or some cynical combination of both. He’s just one guy, though. Maybe other alt-right personalities really do believe their own wildly inaccurate news.
Here’s an example of alt-right “journalists” reporting a story they know isn’t true, though. Last night, demonstrators at Columbia University protested a speech by Mike Cernovich. At some point, unnamed persons approached a group of protestors and asked them to hold the banner pictured above. We don’t know who did that, but we can assume they were not, in fact, joint representatives of Antifa, ResistNY, and the North American Man-Boy Love Association. The banner was fake. Gothamist reporter Jake Offenhartz tweeted a picture identifying it as fake. Then multiple alt-right personalities, including Cernovich, used that picture in tweets and reports that presented the banner as real. We can be certain that at least one of them read the original tweet and knew the banner was a hoax, because Cernovich took down his tweet after Offenhartz sent him a copyright complaint. Yet the picture has been shared thousands of times as proof that Columbia students marched against Cernovich and in defense of pedophilia.
Again, maybe all those alt-right personalities reported a story they knew to be false with the certainty that their audience was in on the joke. We don’t say pro wrestlers are willfully deceiving their fans; they’re putting on a show. But Cernovich, of all people, should not tell himself that no one takes him seriously. He was a prime exponent of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, which led to an armed man trying to raid a Washington, DC pizzeria that he believed housed a child sex ring. At a certain point, Cernovich can no longer tell himself it’s all for fun. At a certain point, he must know that he is simply lying to people, on as a large a scale as he can, for as much money as he can get ahold of. I wonder how he feels.