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Alternative Influence Network

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posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 11:30 PM
Haven't seen a thread on this yet so thought I might make a quick one. A report recently came out from the "Data & Society Research Institute" which basically looks at a bunch of popular conservative, libertarian, and right-wing channels on YouTube and attempts to draw links between white supremacists and people like Joe Rogan. They provide quite a funny graph on page 10 where they attempt to map out this network.

This report identifies and names the Alternative Influence Network (AIN): an assortment of scholars, media pundits, and internet celebrities who use YouTube to promote a range of political positions, from mainstream versions of libertarianism and conservatism, all the way to overt white nationalism. Content creators in the AIN claim to provide an alternative media source for news and political commentary. They function as political influencers who adopt the techniques of brand influencers to build audiences and “sell” them on far-right ideology.

So already in the first paragraph they're attempting to fuse the ideals of libertarians with white nationalism and other far-right ideologies. They proceed to explain how these connections are formed throughout the network via guest appearances etc.

The Alternative Influence Network is a coherent discursive system despite the seeming variety and independence of its members. In this section I show how these figures are connected by an interlocking series of videos, references, and guest appearances. Within the AIN, a hodge-podge of internet celebrities claiming a variety of political positions impart their ideologies to viewers and each other. The boundaries between different political groups of influencers and the ideological positions they promote are often slippery. Many identify themselves primarily as libertarians or conservatives. Others self-advertise as white nationalists.

I wont post the graph so take a look at the paper if you haven't already seen it. Next they even start to drag in classical liberals, and don't forget the quotes when ever using the term because a classical liberal obviously isn't a real thing.

To understand the importance of links in this graph, consider the role that Dave Rubin plays. Rubin is a comedian-turned-pundit who hosts a YouTube talk show called The Rubin Report, which has over 750,000 channel subscribers. Rubin describes himself as a “classical liberal,” a variation on a libertarian embrace of small government and individual liberty. As the host of a number of public intellectuals and influencers, Rubin has become a focal point in a community that calls itself the “Intellectual Dark Web.” Rubin describes this group not in terms of ideology, but rather as an “eclectic mix of people” devoted to having “the important and often dangerous conversations that are completely ignored by the mainstream.” His most frequent guests are the other self-identified members of this “Intellectual Dark Web” group, including the psychology professor Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro, a conservative media pundit.

Next they attack Carl Benjamin (Sargon of Akkad) and try to argue that even if you're debating against the ideals of a white nationalists you're still doing something wrong by even letting that person speak:

In his video with Spencer, Benjamin was presumably debating against scientific racism, a stance he frequently echoes. However, by participating in the debate, he was building a shared audience—and thus, a symbiotic relationship—with white nationalists. In fact, Benjamin has become a frequent guest on channels that host such “debates,” which often function as group entertainment as much as genuine disagreements.

They then go onto describe how these channels are able to gain such large audiences by relying on authenticity and accountability rather than the mainstream gatekeeping mechanisms. Lmao.

The following sections outline two key ways the influencers in the AIN differentiate themselves from mainstream news as a way to appeal to young, disillusioned media consumers. The first way is by rejecting traditional news media norms for building credibility and trust in favor of the norms of participatory culture. These influencers explicitly reject the trappings of institutional prestige, adherence to objectivity and neutrality, and the enforcement of gatekeeping mechanisms that dominate mainstream news media. Instead, they build trust with their audiences by stressing their relatability, their authenticity, and their accountability to those audiences.

I particularly enjoyed the part where they talk about accountability as if it were something to be avoided when reporting news:

The AIN engages directly with its audiences in a way that traditional news outlets do not—through comments and social media posts, but also directly in video content. Traditionally, legacy media outlets have used gatekeeping mechanisms and a level of distance from their audiences as a way to establish expertise and authority. In contrast, many political influencers explicitly court feedback in order to build trust and rapport with their audience. Audience feedback is directly built into YouTube’s interface: audiences react to content in the form of likes, dislikes, comments, and channel subscriptions.

Later on in the paper they reinforce this idea that we simply shouldn't let some people have a voice, which leads into their final conclusion being that Google should enforce even more censorship against conservative channels because it's a "slippery slope" to right-wing extremism.

Because of the overlapping pattern of guest appearances in the AIN, it is remarkably easy for viewers to be exposed to incrementally more extremist content. However, many influencers fundamentally deny that their collaborations serve as endorsements or even amplifiers of other influencers’ content. This is the case, for example, with Dave Rubin. While Rubin himself mainly espouses support for small government and criticizes social justice in broad terms, he sometimes hosts guests who are openly antiimmigrant, espouse scientific racism, or directly identify with the “alt-right.” Rubin claims that hosting these guests is not an endorsement of them or their positions.

edit on 21/9/2018 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 11:38 PM
a reply to: ChaoticOrder

Excellent OP... thank you for taking the time to put it together.

I find it both funny and sad that any viewpoint that is not their own is automatically "extremist."

Coming from people who have to shut down everyone else because they cannot debate their ideology so they need their opponents shamed and silenced.

Wouldn't that be, by definition, extremist?

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 11:43 PM

A similar sentiment has been circulated by James Damore, the Google engineer who was fired in July 2017 after sharing a memo promoting biologically determinist misogyny as an explanation for gender disparities within the company. Both as part of the memo and in subsequent media appearances, Damore has expressed concern that he was being discriminated against at Google for being conservative; he claimed Silicon Valley is an “ideological echo chamber” that needs more “ideological diversity.” While many in the AIN criticize and mock progressive social movements for what they see as a “victim mentality,” they also simultaneously position themselves as the genuine victims in society.

This paragraph I find to be particularly arrogant. If you've listened to Damore at any length it's quite clear that he attempted to write an unbiased report based on facts and isn't a misogynist. It never ceases to amaze me how some people on the left seem to have a complete aversion to facts. Who are these angry white nerds preventing the females from getting hired in tech jobs? I for one would love to see more females in tech jobs, but I also understand the fact there are natural biological forces which make women less attracted to analytical jobs and that IS a far larger contributing factor to why there are less women in tech jobs despite many companies such as Google going out of their way to hire females.

I recently saw a great video from the Alternative Influence Network where Joe and Jordan discuss this topic and look at a conference where a Google CEO acknowledged there are biological factors at play:

edit on 21/9/2018 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 11:55 PM

originally posted by: Lumenari
a reply to: ChaoticOrder

Wouldn't that be, by definition, extremist?

Wide spread algorithmic censorship is certainly driven by a type of political extremism.

posted on Sep, 22 2018 @ 01:04 AM
Saw this on the news this morning, aka mark dice. It's pretty blatant how one side accuses the other of collaboration of "thoughts" while they do the same.

I really wonder if there are any intelligent people left in the world watching this he said she said crap.

If I were an ET, I'd keep moving because I wouldn't ever scan the earth and consider it "intelligent life".

Not to mention AI, which would logically only come to one inclusion, humanity is a parasite.

Exterminate!!!!! Exterminate!!!!!!

posted on Sep, 22 2018 @ 01:21 AM
Steppingstone to end free-internet by left.
Saw this coming after after article 13. There will be more reports like that.
Media will do everything to destroy opinions that aren't within the Agenda.
Their arguments are weak targeted on the people that rely on MSM for their information.

edit on 9222018 by frenchfries because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 22 2018 @ 01:41 AM
I've been snookered by those rightist influencers!
There's a couple I actually donate money to that's how good I believe they are.
Darn their trust-building comments section.

posted on Sep, 22 2018 @ 03:20 AM
Here's a good video from one of the youtubers on the list..

posted on Sep, 22 2018 @ 04:25 AM
a reply to: ChaoticOrder

There are only two people in there who I listen to. Joe Rogan is someone I respect and admire and Jordan Peterson is someone I'll listen to because he challenges some of my beliefs. He gets a bit Nuremberg at times, but I also agree with him on some issues. The only other guys I've heard of are Tommy Robinson and Milo who are both all noise and no substance - lightning rods and useful idiots.

Rogan is influential because it isn't only his channel that gets several million hits per show, it's all the spin off fan-channel snippets that get thousands of hits too. He leans Right on some things and Left on others.

Because of the overlapping pattern of guest appearances in the AIN, it is remarkably easy for viewers to be exposed to incrementally more extremist content.

I've experienced this thanks to YT's algorithms and only watch political guys through a private browser. If you watch a couple of Peterson videos, YT starts filling the 'next up' feed with progressively far-right political click bait and mindless polemicists. Before you know it, it's all far-Right videos and I don't want any of that piss and vinegar infecting my real YT feeds. I don't watch ANTIFA vids and don't want to watch anti-ANTIFA vids either.

While much more research is needed to investigate the effectiveness of specific responses, Paul Joseph Watson’s tweet suggests one concrete step YouTube can take in response. [...] At this point, the platform reviews channels to make sure they do not have copyright strikes and do not violate YouTube’s community guidelines. At these junctures, the platform should not only assess what channels say in their content, but also who they host and what their guests say. In a media environment consisting of networked influencers, YouTube must respond with policies that account for influence and amplification, as well as social networks.

I'd rather select what I watch and avoid the poison than have YT chew my food for me. They're already manipulating channels based on values they've deemed to be universal, but are more like regional Silicon Valley values. There's something inherently wrong with their algorithms if they're bending towards extremist videos on one hand and then suppressing others with the other hand. It's irrational.

posted on Sep, 22 2018 @ 07:55 AM
a reply to: ChaoticOrder

"So already in the first paragraph they're attempting to fuse the ideals of libertarians with white nationalism and other far-right ideologies."

No, this is who the debates are between. You can't fuse them. Libertarianism is about individualism and freedom from norms and nationalism is about group identity and adherence to norms.

posted on Sep, 23 2018 @ 08:51 AM
a reply to: toms54

Libertarianism is about individualism and freedom from norms and nationalism is about group identity and adherence to norms.


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