Yeah, well, guess what, trolls? Now Andrew Breitbart's got you nailed dead to rights:
Read the comment sections of right-leaning blogs, news sites and social forums, and the evidence is there in ugly abundance. Internet hooligans are spewing their talking points to thwart the dissent of the newly-out-of-power.
We must not let that go unanswered.
Uninvited Democratic activists are on a mission to demoralize the enemy - us. . . . Political leftists play for keeps. They are willing to lie, perform deceptive acts in a coordinated fashion and do so in a wicked way - all in the pursuit of victory. Moral relativism is alive and well in the land of Hope and Change and its Web-savvy youth brigade expresses its "idealism" in a most cynical fashion.
There is a reason that sites like Hot Air and Michelle Malkin require registration, and there is a reason that the comments here are moderated. In the unmoderated comments at AmSpecBlog, wise conservative Ruth says:
This is Axelrod's strategy to demoralize their (Obama's) opponents . . . It's called astro-turfing, and they used it against Hillary first. I read about it on Hillary's supporters' blogs during the Democrat Primary, (it drove them nuts). They're paid . . . and their attacks are coordinated. It's obvious.As much as I love a good-free-for-all discussion, David Axelrod's Astroturf troll army isn't interested in discussion; they're paid, full-time political propagandists, and they're not going to use my bandwidth to spread their message. (I let our designated liberal hall monitor Young4Eyes slide, because he's so clear about his commitments that he doesn't fool anyone.)
Waaay back in the day -- more than a dozen years ago, before there were blogs -- I had some interesting experiences with these "false-flag" trolls who claim to be the exact opposite of the leftist scum they are, and who engage in such familiar tricks as:
- Inciting participants in discussions to try to get them to say things that can then be quoted as evidence of "hate," etc.
- Derogating as futile or self-defeating the projects being planned in the discussion; or
- Fomenting dissent by suggesting that organizers of a volunteer effort are secretly profiting from the project, or that leaders aren't really committed to the common cause.
Even more so than Marxist ideology itself, Ronald Reagan said, it was the dishonesty of CPUSA tactics, which he encountered as the leader of the Screen Actors Guild in the '40, that turned him from a "bleeding heart" liberal into a fierce anti-Communist. Honorable causes do not routinely resort to dishonorable tactics, and the despicable ends-justify-the-means behavior of the Reds convinced Reagan that their ends -- their supposedly "idealistic" objectives -- were anything but honorable.
Ever heard of the "diamond pattern"? CPUSA operatives used this tactic to control meetings (of labor unions, etc.) back in the day. Send four operatives to the meeting, stationing one at the front of the room, one at the rear, and one each on the left and right sides of the midpoint of the room. When one operative stands up to make his point, the other three are like, "Yeah, he's right!" This creates the appearance of support throughout the room, in order to bring bandwagon psychology into play.
That tactic, and many others out of the old CPUSA playbook (which such Obama mentors as Saul Alinsky and Frank Marshall knew by heart), have been adapted to the Internet by the Left. And, of course, attempting to thwart these tactics -- one must ju-jitsu the Left by employing their own tactics against them -- requires studying their methodology like a Korean engineer studying the latest Mercedes design.
Few things are more important in warfare than IFF: Identify Friend or Foe. The same is true in political combat. If your antagonist is able to convince you he's "on your side" when he's actually on the other side, he will exploit that deception to demoralize and defeat you. These false-flag "conservative" trolls are trying to exploit flaws in IFF systems on the Right. Beware.
Now, as to the point of the title: Andrew Breitbart gets it. The first time I ever met Breitbart, at CPAC two years ago, I spent three hours sitting on the floor of a hotel room just listening to him talk. He'll tell you himself he's kind of an ADHD case. He goes off on tangents when he's talking sometimes until finally he says, "Hey, wait, what were we talking about?" But he's super-smart, and he has an intuitive understanding of New Media, because he's been in it since the Drudge Report was an e-mail list on AOL.
There's a phrase I use, "gestalt logic," that describes how someone like Breitbart thinks. If you spend a long time intensely studying a subject (e.g., history or math), you begin to discern patterns. And so when a new information or new problem presents itself, you fit that into the patterns you already know, in a way that someone who doesn't study intensely would never see.
Think of a chess master who thinks three moves ahead, or a professional poker player who can instantly calculate the odds of the next card being the one he needs to fill a flush. Think about the NFL quarterback who reads the opposing defense with a half-second glance and calls an audible to adjust. Think of the veteran NASCAR driver who swerves slightly at 160 mph to avoid a collision. That's gestalt logic in action.
Now we see Breitbart bringing this gestalt thinking to the linear format of a newspaper column. His column is always fresh and surprising. It's not the familiar Beltway conventional wisdom or GOP talking points. I'd imagine some other columnists are looking at what Breitbart has been doing in his column and saying to themselves, "Wow. I need to up my game, or this guy's going to eat my lunch every week."
Last week, I talked to Breitbart on the phone for a few minutes while I was driving into DC. We talked about the phonies and fakers and ripoff artists who sell themselves as "Internet experts" and don't have a freaking clue. (The Republican Party raised $900 million in the 2008 cycle, and what do they have to show for it?) Keep an eye on Breitbart. He gets it.