Articles I’ve been reading

Trolls for Trump is a piece in the New Yorker that is an interesting reflection on how aspects of the media are working at the moment:

Before closing his laptop, he checked his direct messages on Twitter, and found a tip alleging that, in 2014, a Reddit user had asked for help removing a “VERY VIP” e-mail address “from a bunch of archived e-mail.” The tipster claimed that the Reddit user was Paul Combetta, one of Hillary Clinton’s I.T. staffers. Cernovich clicked the link to the Reddit thread and noticed that it had been deleted. “Son of a bitch!” he said. “This might actually be true.”

He returned to muckraking mode. “We’re going to make a whole new news cycle about her fucking e-mails again!” he said. “This poor fucking woman.” He started a new Periscope video. “What do you guys want to do for a hashtag?” he said. He decided on #HillarysHacker. It was trending before he finished the video. That day, more than forty-two thousand tweets were posted with the hashtag.

I returned to Cernovich’s house the next morning. By then, the Reddit story had been covered by Vice and New York, and a congressman had asked prosecutors in Washington, D.C., to look into it. Cernovich had tweeted dozens of times since I’d left, including at 1:30 a.m.

4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump is an interesting reflection on how 4chan connects to the Trump campaign – in particular, how important a sense of agency can be, and how it drives behavior:

All that work cracking Skype accounts with wordlists did not yield the tangible reward of evidence of a cabal. The real world behaves differently than a video game. There were shades of grey. It disappointed. What you did and what you got for your efforts were muddled. It was more challenging than the safe spaces of a video game, carefully crafted to accommodate gamers and make them feel — well, the exact opposite of how they felt interacting in the real world — effective. In the fantasy world of the game, actions achieved ends.

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