While trolls are often — and understandably — accused of rabid sociopathy, particularly in their crass treatment of disaster victims, corporate media outlets are often every bit as guilty of courting precisely the sensationalism, spectacle, and emotional exploitation for which trolls are unequivocally condemned. In fact, and as I discuss in this response to the panic surrounding Holmies, professed fans of Aurora Colorado shooter James Holmes, and in another response to the #cutforbieber controversy, in which trolls threatened to cut themselves after images of Justin Bieber smoking pot hit the web, it is often difficult to distinguish between organized trolling and media linkbait.”
That’s my fiance Whitney Phillips, telling it like it is.
This victim blaming shit needs to stop. And not just in the obvious places, i.e. rape cases. It also –and every bit as importantly– needs to stop on the internet. After all, little things (for example blaming the targets of trolling for the trolls’ actions) help normalize the big things (for example blaming rape victims for their rapists’ actions); little things should not be ignored because they seem small. Big things are in fact comprised of little things.”
The House That Fox Built: Anonymous, Spectacle and Cycles of Amplification
“In terms of their engagement with media, and based on the marked similarities between trolling and sensationalist media practices, I would argue that trolls jam the culture not by directly challenging the dominant culture, but by embodying the dominant culture, specifically by exploiting the very sensationalist imperative that keeps advertisement revenues high.” - Whitney Phillips