News Media Mashups

In her presentation this week, Emma made mention of the alt-right’s use of memes as mashup of ideology and pop culture.  During her activity, I attempted to come up with another way that the alt-right uses mashup, and started to think about the way that the alt-right often gets “mashed up” with a lot of other negative things going on in the world when it’s being reported on the news.

The alt-right consistently gets reported in the news alongside other awful stories that are related to sexism, racism and general intolerance, mashing up things that the alt-right is actually responsible for, and other awful things perpetrated by outsiders to the group.  For example, Milo Yiannopoulos often gets referred to as a member of the alt-right, when in reality although he doesn’t condemn the alt-right, he has said that he is not a member of it. Below are some examples of online headlines doing this:

Petition launched demanding controversial ‘alt-right’ journalist Milo Yiannopoulos and Professor Jordan Peterson be removed from Glasgow University rector candidacy

— Scotland Herald

Milo Yiannopoulos: Who is the alt-right writer and provocateur?

— BBC News

Larry Wilmore Tells Alt-Right Troll Milo Yiannopoulos: ‘Go F*** Yourself’ – WATCH

— Towleroad

Additionally, there have been the same types of mashup between the alt-right and Donald Trump in headlines, such as this one by the National Post:

Alt-right, alt-right, alt-right: Matthew McConaughey says give Trump a chance

I think that talking about all the bad things happening in our culture in single headlines is an agenda setting tactic being used by the news media in order to encourage audiences to think about all these phenomena in a network.

While I agree that it’s important to understand the connections between the intolerance being discussed in media today, I also think that in associating the alt-right to every negative news story is affording them a sense of power that many hate groups in the past have strived for but never fully accomplished.  I think there’s certainly some negative factors involved with remixing the news to blame the alt right for everything, primarily that they are receiving a large amount of media attention which in turn makes them more powerful.


1 Comment

  1. Interesting post Nicole! I have never thought to explore mashups in such a way. Here it seems you are suggest a shift away from mashups as a cultural shift, and towards mashup as a strategic tactic. I think a similar type of argument can be made for the success of the Trump campaign. There was a mashup up of vilifying news reports regarding Trump that linked him to a variety of different negative acts. Trump used this mashup to turn around on mainstream media and highlight them as attacking him. Here this attempt to connect political rhetoric regarding Trump backfired leading to a distrust in all mainstream news outlets by Trump supporters. Trump now has more power than ever to turn on mainstream media and accuse them of creating false networks around his politics.


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