Against the “Trolling/Outrage Cycle”

John Cook makes a great point:

The trolling-outrage cycle is ruthlessly efficientthe outraging entity, under constant pressure to seek attention by fomenting outrage, foments outrage. The outraged entity, under constant pressure to seek attention by being outraged, is outraged. The outraging entity counter-charges that the outraged entity is unfairly biasedYou werent outraged when so-and-so said such-and-such! The outraged entity calls for a boycott of the outraging entity. The outraging entity accuses the outraged entity of censorship. And so on. All this happens nearly instantaneously now, with Limbaugh and Media Matters (and their various cohorts) locked in a sort of perverse mindmeld, each anticipating and reacting to the others preprogrammed routines.

The late Andrew Breitbart’s career was based, almost entirely, on exactly that. And while I don’t have much sympathy for those who were openly thrilled at Breitbart’s death, the guy’s name was synonymous with partisan viciousness. Must the guy’s fans clutch their pearls when people reacted to his death with… partisan viciousness?

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