Color me unimpressed with Colorado’s cyberbully OnFire / PolitiComm: The Lamest Twitter Argument Ever Offered?
If someone as transparently dishonest and histrionic as OnFire / PolitiComm is the best the Colorado Progessive Machine can do, it beggars belief that the center-right in the state does as badly as it does. Unfortunately, Colorado’s center-right is essentially unfunded, so its activists have regular non-political jobs. This tends to eat into the time we might otherwise spend (for instance) sending 100+ angry and hate-filled Tweets a day the way the Progressives here do.
As I noted in the article, though, it’s people like OnFire / PolitiComm who have been teaching me a lot about the deceptive and manipulative argumentation techniques employed by the left. For all his faults, OnFire / PolitiComm is a wonderful example of bad practice, presenting in one Twitter feed a continuous stream of unsubtle examples of the tricks, tropes, and tactics used by the left throughout social media and more traditional channels.
I suspect that this is one of those unexpected side-effects of the internet. It used to be that one would be confronted with or witness fallacious reasoning, hectoring, and the like in person or in public forums in only isolated incidents. Emotional appeals, bad information, spin, bullying, and the other methods the real-world counterparts of OnFire / Politicomm employed could go unchallenged – and all too often persuade people – because without some exposure to debate or philosophy, it was difficult for the Average Joe or Jane to see that someone was actively manipulating them. But now, the internet puts hundreds of public forums in front of us in the form of social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, blog and newspaper comments, etc.), and unlike the town square, watercooler, city council meeting, or other traditional forums these can be experienced in a rapid, continual flow on devices which afford us a degree of emotional distance from what is being said and how. The internet makes it possible to see the same patterns of thought and argument repeat themselves over and over, across many channels and platforms. Over time it’s like learning to ‘see the Matrix in the numbers’: one begins to recognize these attempts at manipulation and deception, and recognize the common motives behind each of them (the “Ds” I mention at the link). In short, when exposed to a larger set of data, the larger number of examples to compare make it much easier to recognize patterns and relationships. And recognizing and naming manipulative tactics, of course, is the key to diminishing their power to manipulate.