Home > Australian politics, Media, Technology > New media and the right whingers

New media and the right whingers

I’ve been reading and commenting on political blogs and sites for quite some time now, even more so since the lead up to the election.  I even used to dip my toe into the cesspool that is the News Limited stable of sites, but no more for me.  I mostly stick with Fairfax for my news as they are marginally balanced, then look for greater understanding and analysis on the various blogs.

In general I believe this gives me a more rounded take on the various news items of the day, though usually the MSM’s idea of “news” stretch the bounds of credulity…handbags and earlobes anyone?

One thing I have noticed is that the comments by the right whingers and their more unhinged cousins (if that’s at all possible) tend to follow a very rigid style and structure and I have provided a handy guide to follow so you can detect any of these mouth-breathers in action.

N.B.  This will not help you at all in the News Limited sphere, as the vast majority of commenters in that arena show signs of sociopathy and can’t really be classified as normal in any way.  It’s good that the moderators over there actually cull sensible commentary as it saves us the hassle of separating valid discourse from mindless dribble.  Anyway on with the list.

  1. The Talking Pointer. This is by far the easiest one to spot.  They will usually start up with one of the headlines from a typical right wing source (The Australian, Alan Jones, LNP etc.) and push it for all they are worth.  The sad thing is that all they are capable of is parroting exactly what they read from their source…they do not have the intellectual capacity to add any thoughts to it themselves.  When confronted with reality-based evidence (their worst nightmare) they will simply refute with the same well worn lines.  Best ignored.
  2. The Derailer. A more advanced version of the Talking Pointer.  This particular model, when confronted by inconvenient facts that destroy their “argument”, will immediately introduce another, completely unrelated talking point in an attempt to distract you from completely schooling them in their own inadequacy.  This is dead easy to spot and is even funnier because the new talking point is usually just as easily refuted.  This can lead to an entertaining romp through the RWDB psyche, but I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.
  3. The Strawman Demolisher. The natural evolution of the derailer.  This one doesn’t even need confronting to bring on the next talking point…they will gladly raise it themselves in a misguided attempt to prove their own “superiority”.  Most masturbatory of all the right whingers and they should be called on it at every opportunity.
  4. The True Believer. This one just cracks me up, but they are the most obstinate of the lot.  The true believer isn’t much one for research or fact finding…they will simply state an opinion (the more outrageous the better) and then just wait for the onslaught.  They will be literally be deluged with facts and references and links, but will usually say “that’s not my interpretation” and continue on their merry way.  No matter what evidence you can provide to the contrary, they will steadfastly continue on in their own belief and claim that your sources are biased or not reputable.  The more obstinate of these will actually admit their ignorance, but still claim that your sources are incorrect because they “believe” their own sources…contrary to all evidence.  I have personal experience with these two on other blogs…but won’t name  names.  Initials on the other hand….
  5. The Cherry Picker. The most insidious of all right whinger netizens.  This one will cheerfully go through any references you may provide and extract choice bits of information that either contradict your position or bolster their own, when in reality the information in context completely shoots down their proposition.  When called on this they will ask you to provide further evidence that they are wrong, and after you do they will simply cherry pick some more data and start it again.  Their greatest joy is to waste your time chasing your tail in their exercise in futility.  Simply call them on their bullshit and ignore…don’t waste your time.

This is my list…can you add any others to it?

UPDATE:

From B.Tolputt in comments:

The Socratic Questioner.   They don’t ever provide proof of their position, generally leaving their position unstated. Instead they will ask questions, pose hypotheticals, and otherwise avoid talking about facts that oppose their viewpoint by trying to force you to justify yours. An interesting (if aggravating) mix of Derailer & Strawman Demolisher. Like the Cherry Picker, they are primarily interested in wasting your time.

The Projectionists (a variant of True Believer & Derailer). They accuse others of ad hominem attacks, whilst engaging in them. They accuse others of believing in conspiracy theories whilst accusing One World Government provocateurs of being behind the latest policy on climate change, tax reform, and bus passes for school children. And they claim any opinion not aligned with their own as being “mindless support” for Party/Politician X, never wavering from their for-whatever-reason-I-can-think-of attack of their chosen opponent.

UPDATE 2:

From Mobius Ecko:

The Cracked Crystal Ballers are actually children of Howard as it was John Winston who, in the throws of a series of woeful polls and facing an election defeat in 2007, made a series of very flawed predictions that were rapidly followed by just as dire predictions by his senior ministers and then the OO and RWDB. Not a single one of the predictions ever came close to realisation but it never stopped them moving the goal posts and making newer more outrageous ones.

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  1. B.Tolputt
    October 6, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    Yeah, there are two more I know about.

    Firstly there is the Socratic Questioner. They don’t ever provide proof of their position, generally leaving their position unstated. Instead they will ask questions, pose hypotheticals, and otherwise avoid talking about facts that oppose their viewpoint by trying to force you to justify yours. An interesting (if aggravating) mix of Derailer & Strawman Demolisher. Like the Cherry Picker, they are primarily interested in wasting your time.

    Then there is a variant of True Believer & Derailer which accuses those holding opposing views of engaging in the very tactics they are (I shall call them the Projectionists). They accuse others of ad hominem attacks, whilst engaging in them. They accuse others of believing in conspiracy theories whilst accusing One World Government provocateurs of being behind the latest policy on climate change, tax reform, and bus passes for school children. And they claim any opinion not aligned with their own as being “mindless support” for Party/Politician X, never wavering from their for-whatever-reason-I-can-think-of attack of their chosen opponent.

  2. October 6, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    Thanks Ben. I’ll add them.

    There’s so many to choose from I just had to go with the most common I had experienced…thankfully they all seem to slot into a niche though.

  3. Tom R
    October 6, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    Interestingly MassiveSpray, this is almost exactly how I am approaching news these days, although I am more inclined to follow ABC and Crikey instead of Fairfax (we haven’t had Fairfax in SA as far as I know). Although, the temptation to follow links to the oo is sometimes too hard to ignore.

    Fran over at the Cafe has another one for you to add too your list as well, the Pre Newser

    http://cafewhispers.wordpress.com/2010/10/01/fran-speaking-fankly/#comment-10500

    I hope she gets the screen grab up soon. What a riot. What a shambles.

  4. Mobius Ecko
    October 6, 2010 at 7:08 PM

    Spot on.

    Where does the Howard cracked crystal ball fit in?

    Just as they did after Rudd won the RWDB crystal ballers predicted the Gillard government won’t last 6 months, and as they did with the Rudd government they will keep moving their predictions until they come true, even in the smallest part, or if they don’t they move onto another ludicrous prediction, but always on the fall/disaster/failure of Labor.

    The Cracked Crystal Ballers are actually children of Howard as it was John Winston who, in the throws of a series of woeful polls and facing an election defeat in 2007, made a series of very flawed predictions that were rapidly followed by just as dire predictions by his senior ministers and then the OO and RWDB. Not a single one of the predictions ever came close to realisation but it never stopped them moving the goal posts and making newer more outrageous ones.

    Tim Dunlop’s Blogcracy was full of them, and when the first “won’t last 6 months” cracked crystal baller on Rudd came out I revisited the poster who had now moved the prediction to 12 months and finally got it right when he changed it to first term.

  5. Tom R
    October 6, 2010 at 7:18 PM

    Recall that when Labor came into power ME, the cry was ‘we’ll be rooned’

    Three years later, and, as controllers of one of the worlds strongest economies following one of the words worst financial disasters in memory, the cry remains the same

    ‘We’ll be rooned’

    (by about $11 BILLION apparently)

  6. Mobius Ecko
    October 6, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    Yes TR, that was the Howard Cracked Crystal Ballers (HCCB)catch cry taken directly from the owner of the cracked ball himself.

  7. toiletkaramchandgandhi
    October 6, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    The “MONOCULAR” – found with alarming regularity on both sides of the imaginary divide.

  8. Tom of Melbourne
    October 6, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    You should try to get some smart people to contribute here.

  9. toiletkaramchandgandhi
    October 6, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    yom, ur bitchin’ gravatar looks like a poiple haemorrhoid, champ

  10. Tom R
    October 6, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    Whats a haemorrhoid doing here??

    Bring out the Emu Fire!!

  11. Yom of Melbourne
    October 6, 2010 at 8:02 PM

    I didn’t choose it!

    MS didn’t warn that he’d set out to turn me into a hemorrhoid by popping in here.

    It’s certainly a lesson that I should limit my sophisticated commentary.

    • October 7, 2010 at 8:52 AM

      It looks like the avatar generator has a surprising amount of sophistication and ability to judge it’s recipient. 😉

  12. Tom R
    October 7, 2010 at 8:12 AM

    “It’s certainly a lesson that I should limit my sophisticated commentary.”

    WOOHOO! Success 😉

  13. Tom of Melbourne
    October 11, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    “TomM verges on coherence most of the time, though he still has the annoying tendency to completely disregard any proof you may provide that counters his belief system.”

    You should try posting some proof here occasionally; so far it appears to be free of anything other than your barracking. And get yourself a few smart contributors.

    • October 11, 2010 at 4:42 PM

      Yay! Tom brings his “barrackers” meme all the way over here to my little old blog!

      I feel so blessed! I’d like to thank the Academy, and my family for being there…

    • October 11, 2010 at 4:43 PM

      And as for proof, you were totally schooled in your delusion about BER wastage on the Gutter, so why do I need to bring it back here? That would just be cruel…

  14. October 11, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    ToM, you look like a grape. A sour grape, perhaps. 😉

  15. Tom of Melbourne
    October 11, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    No Miglo, not sour grapes with me. They’re for losers.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sour_grapes

    I prefer my grapes fermented.

  16. Craig
    October 12, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    I like your list, however don’t reckon it’s limited to the political right – or to politics at all.

    I see examples of these types on forums and blogs totally unrelated to politics.

    I reckon you should broaden the list a little as it is quite helpful for people attempting to have interesting discussions online on many different topics.

    Cheers,

    Craig

    • October 12, 2010 at 4:55 PM

      Thanks Craig. I agree it’s not purely limited to the right wing…but they do seem to be the most strident.

      Do you have any you can add to the list?

  1. February 14, 2011 at 4:54 PM

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