Alt-What?

by Roger Pynn

Until a week ago, if someone mentioned “alt-right” most people would have thought it was some new keyboard shortcut.  We could only have hoped it would automatically eradicate political rants of all kinds from our social media inboxes.

Although this article from Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) suggests that this is a “political movement” that has been around and been talked about in some media for more than a year, my guess is that I’m not alone in having been clueless when Hillary Clinton first used the term as a means of tying her opponent to what sounded like some dark and dangerous political cult.

The CJR article offers brilliant insight into how little we know of what goes on online.  Just as the Islamic State appears to have cornered the market on unstable young minds desperate for raison d’etre, it seems there are as many people and groups trying to infiltrate the psyche of the disaffected as there are those trying to sell products (legitimate and otherwise).

And from a communicator’s perspective, it is an important reminder that vetting sources of information is more important today than ever.  Who and what you quote is important.  Truly knowing who you are quoting is critical.

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