What’s Behind That Banner?

The Week of 15-22 provided many opportunities for PennLive.com to get a few clicks out of the mobile estates.  Pieces and articles on the campus protests, the attacks in Paris and Governor Wolf’s decision to allow refugees into Pennsylvania all got the “Trailer Park Caucus” to step away from their AM Radios.

There was one piece from this that stood out to me.  On November 20th, an anti-refugee rally brought about 40 people to the Capitol.  PennLive conveniently mentions at the end of the article that the group who had sponsored the event was a rebranded, racist skinhead, group.

Some local activists remarked if this had been Black Lives Matter, etc, that the headline would have made reference to their role in organizing the rally.

What I wonder, is if racist groups may see a model in a way to merge with the far right of the Republican Party.  Hide their message behind messages of fear of “the other”.

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So Much Troll Bait. . .

Between; the attacks in France, the decision by Governor Wolf to accept Syrian Refugees and the aftermath of the protests in Missouri, PennLive.com has got to be laughing all the way to the bank.

All of these events have provided opportunities for the site to get huge amounts of clicks from the mobile estates.  One piece on the Governor’s decision garnered over 970 comments.

I’ll be taking stock later in the week.

Also, starting on the 30th, I’ll be at a new job that may allow me more time to patrol PennLive.com for the best and brightest from the “Trailer Park Trolls”.

Coming Soon To a Trailer Park Near You?

Pennsylvania is likley fertile ground for White Supremacy, etc.  The KKK has made efforts to recruit in my area, and I often see cars, etc with the Confederate Battle Flag.

Combine this with our proximity to Virginia, and reports of a new “White Power” cult growing there, and one could easily see a reason for concern that the group could mke inroads.

The “Wolves of Vinland”, according to the article, is not new.  It has been around for a decade or so, and is based out of the Lynchburg, Virginia, area;  a place one would associate with Fundmentalist Christianity, not neo-paganism.  They engage in attempts to perform what they see as pagan rituals; drinking mead, covering themselves with blood and mud, and sacrificing animals.  Much of this is chronicled on social media.

All seems well and good.  Many would see them as little different from folks who cosplay, or engage in simulated medival combat.  But the group may have a darker side.  A member of the group was sentenced to two and half years in prison for burning down  a black church.  Prominent white supremacists and folks affiliated with the fringes of the mainstream right have also come on board.  Former game show host Chuck Wollery, and the author of Fight Club have contact with the group.

Where might points of intersection and expansion be?  Just about anywhere; Viking re-enactments, concerts, even the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.  With many in the rural parts of PA seeing their vision of America fade to black or brown, a movement like this may have an appeal.

All About The Ben Carson–Troll Patrol 11-7 to 11-14

To start with, pieces on the attacks in Paris will provide many glimpses into the way the “Trailer Park Caucus” views the “War on Terror”.  These are the folks who don’t see that ISIS emerged out of the “War on Terror” that was blowback from the American involvement in Afghanistan, etc.

But the main way PennLive mined the mobile estates for clicks involved Ben Carson.  He seems to be a sure-fire way to fire up the backwater base of the GOP.

A piece on Tuesday by Cynthia Tucker generated 150 comments. Conservative Thomas Sowell’s piece where he calls the press reporting on candidate Carson’s numerous bizarre statements garnered 212.

The recent GOP debate garnered 170 comments, most of them the “Trailer Park Caucus” defending their candidates.  The piece that I mentioned as an example of “Click bait” for the trolls stalled after 25 comments.

Click Bait?

One other way PennLive.com often tries to get clicks from the “Trailer Park Caucus” is to post letters to the editor about–Harrisburg.

A letter to the editor about stopping the “School to Prison Pipeline” is an example of how PennLive.com uses the city it’s supposed to be covering as little more than a way to get a few clicks from the mobile estates.

Troll Patrol 11-1 to 11-7

The past week provided plenty of fodder for the “Trailer Park Caucus” of PennLive.com.  Much of the traffic centered around the acquittal of a suburban police office on murder charges.  A piece on how her defense may have made an effort to bring “Rule Followers”, those who have a respect or reverence for authority, onto the jury, generated 175 comments.  This piece also may have shown the “Right-Wing Authoritarian” tendencies of many of the “Trailer Park Caucus”.

A November 6th letter calling for posters to have to use their real names generated 459 comments as the entry goes to press.  It also prompted an odd exchange between myself and a member of the Harrisburg Patriot-News editorial board.

Chris Mautner | cmautner@pennlive.com 3 days ago

 @pennsylbama_rising @rude dude Either way (and I apologize for calling you out) it would be nice if you could please stop using that phrase  in the comments, as it just devolves into in-fighting and snark. Thanks.
pennsylbama_rising 3 days ago
@Chris Mautner | cmautner@pennlive.com @pennsylbama_rising @rude dude Fair enough.  But the handle stays! I guess “The majority of PL commenters” will make the point clear.

Chris Mautner | cmautner@pennlive.com 2 days ago @pennsylbama_rising @Chris Mautner | cmautner@pennlive.com @rude dude Actually, I’ll remind of this community rule: 
  • Vulgar and insulting nicknames will be removed. Nicknames attempting to impersonate other users will be removed.
pennsylbama_rising 2 days ago

 @Chris Mautner | cmautner@pennlive.com @pennsylbama_rising @rude dude If my nickname is seen as “Insulting” then there are some folks here with very thin skin.  As for “vulgar”, that would be a greater stretch.
pennsylbama_rising 2 days ago

@Chris Mautner | cmautner@pennlive.com@rude dude I’m wondering if my handle would be seen the same way if I were speaking AGAINST “them city folk”?

That question about record gun sales created 328 posts.  While Cynthia Tucker’s piece on police claiming victimization only generated 77 posts.

While these were “off-year” elections in Pennsylvania, the fact that the Demcratic candidates for the State Courts won a sweep did generate 150 comments.