Ctrl Alt-Right Delete Turns Two!
By Melissa Ryan
CARD officially hits the terrible twos this week. Two years ago the first edition went out to 231 people. Today’s newsletter will land in 15,210 inboxes. What was initially a way to keep friends and colleagues up to date on all things far right internet has grown into one of the largest resources on extremism and online toxicity available online.
This year we joined forces with HOPE not hate to offer original research in addition to my own curation and analysis. HOPE not hate’s Simon Murdoch has a piece below outlining some highlights of their work over this period, but I’ve loved working together and bringing readers original research, much of which debuted exclusively here.
The past two years have been exhausting for all of us. What I’ve tried to do here is help folks make sense of it all. Cut through the noise and make sure that CARD readers were equipped with the most essential information, research, and analysis. I’ve always known that this would be helpful for political operatives and activists but I’m still gobsmacked at how many people in different sectors read CARD and see it as a resource that helps them do their work. Our readers include academic researchers, national security professionals, foreign policy experts, technologists, and reporters just to name a few.
I spent some time with the data this week. Here are the top ten most opened subject lines of 2018.
9. All the cards are losers
7. Nazis go to jail
6. Is it Russia?
3. thank u, next
2. American breakdown
1. Tommy Boy
Honorable mention goes to #11, a personal favorite of mine, “Tucker’s White Genocide Fetish.”
This year CARD readers clicked 27,238 times on 1,152 links. Here are the top ten ICYMI articles you clicked on:
10. Virginia politicians of all stripes condemn white nationalists — except one (Washington Post)
9. When a Stranger Decides to Destroy Your Life (Gizmodo)
8. Propaganda-spewing Russian trolls act differently online from regular people (The Conversation)
7. 10 things you and your grassroots organization can do to improve your digital security (Organizing for America)
6. Why We’re Sharing 3 Million Russian Troll Tweets (FiveThirtyEight)
5. Diamond and Silk’s Facebook censorship claim is a hoax (ThinkProgress)
4. Welcome To YouTube ‘Bloodsports,’ The Alt-Right’s Newest Recruiting Tool (Right Wing Watch)
3. Russian Trolls Used This One Weird Trick To Infiltrate Our Democracy. You’ll Never Believe Where They Learned It. (Huffington Post)
2. How the President and Neo-Nazis Work Hand in Hand (The Progressive)
1. #TrollTracker: How To Spot Russian Trolls (Digital Forensics Research Lab)
I want to thank you for reading whether you’ve been with CARD from the beginning or just signed on this week. It’s an honor to have space in your already crowded inbox. Editing this newsletter has brought me so much joy over the past two years, but meeting and talking with readers remains my favorite part of the experience. I’ve met you online, in DC, at conferences, and even a wedding. You’ve asked questions, challenged my assumptions, and offered your own expertise. Every conversation has made the newsletter that much better.
I’m especially grateful for how much readers have spread the word about CARD. Email forwards remain the primary driver of new subscriptions. Thank you for recommending CARD to your professional networks, friends, and even family. Fun fact: several readers are subscribed thanks to a referral from their adult children or siblings. I know of at least one family where three generations are reading. (Shout out to my own cousins who are readers as well!)
As I’m writing this Gavin McInnes has just released a YouTube video disassociating himself from the Proud Boys and Twitter has suspended Laura Loomer. They join a growing list of deplatformed Frog Squad celebrities this newsletter has outlasted including Alex Jones, Milo, Andrew Anglin, and Paul Nehlen. Democrats won big on Election Day, Unite the Right part deux was an embarrassment and British far-right extremist Stephen Lennon AKA Tommy Robinson wasn’t allowed to enter the US. We haven’t won the war but it’s amazing just how much progress we’ve made since November 2016. Here’s to another year of fighting the Frog Squad and another year of victories large and small!
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HOPE not hate & CARD: A Year of Fighting Hate
By Simon Murdoch
When it comes to fighting back against the far right, there is strength in numbers. Moreover, with the far-right threat once again becoming increasingly internationalized, there is more value in working together with allies in the fightback from across the globe. When we teamed up with Melissa we knew that we had a strong ally across the Atlantic and we’re proud to work alongside her in this fight. And what a fight it’s been! Through CARD we’ve carried out original investigations into the Alternative Right and the wider far right and through your readership and support in our campaigns, helped stop their plans. We can’t thank you enough for that.
We’ve also created explainers and long-form pieces which are vital for both the day-to-day decoding of the far right and for understanding, in the long-term, how to adapt to their changing tactics and ideas. The Alternative Right have exemplified the need for this multi-pronged approach, something HOPE not hate has focused on in our contributions to CARD: from exposing their activities and tactics, to explaining their often bizarre ideas and placing their threat in context to understand how they might develop.
To celebrate this anniversary of CARD, below are some of the pieces the data tells us you’ve been intrigued by the most. Of course, we also know that some readers may have signed-up more recently and may not have come across our older contributions to CARD, so we’ve included some highlights from early on too. Enjoy!
Huge Bitcoin windfalls for the Alt-Right – Joe Mulhall unearthed how the far right made millions from the Bitcoin cryptocurrency in 2017
Libertarianism and the Alternative Right – Patrik Hermansson analyzed the worrying relationship between the libertarian movement and the Alternative Right.
Inside America’s Biggest Anti-Muslim Organisation – Charlie Prentice got inside this year’s ACT for America Conference in the heart of American power, Washington D.C.
Understanding the International #FreeTommyRobinson Campaign – On the heels of large and violent demonstrations in London for British anti-Muslim activist Tommy Robinson, Patrik Hermansson dug into the data to explain just how international his support is.
Hating, Dating and Procreating: Online Dating and the Alt-Right – David Lawrence looked at how Lonely racists are turning to dating apps to find love in a movement defined by hate.Japan and the Alternative Right – I looked at the little-noted but striking relationship between the US Alternative Right and a Japanese far-right movement that emerged in the early 2000s.
- ProPublica and Frontline are out with a new documentary Documenting Hate: New America Nazis, which can be viewed in full online. It’s the second in a series, the first episode on Charlottesville can also be viewed online. Both are well worth your time.
- The Alliance for Securing Democracy has a new report out A View from the Digital Trenches – Lessons from Year One of Hamilton 68. The report “examines several million tweets from known and suspected Russian-linked Twitter accounts in an effort to expose the methods and messages used to engage and influence American audiences on social media.”
- The Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal News released a study of the “convergence between the white supremacist movement and the Republican Party” on Twitter. The study cataloged “catalogued 33 incidents of sitting GOP officials embracing white supremacists, nine cases of GOP officials spouting rhetoric echoing that of white supremacists, nine incidents of white supremacists running for elected office as Republicans and 10 cases of avowed white supremacists expressing strong support for Republican officials or the party’s agenda.”
- Tucker Carlson is a hero on these white supremacist podcasts (Media Matters)
- Switzerland has been a lab for toxic rightwing politics. We took that on. (The Guardian)
- Three Months Inside Alt-Right New York (Commune)
- How the Russian concept of “info-noise” can help American outlets cover Trump (Media Matters)
- Radio Host Wants Court To Subpoena Neo-Nazi Publisher’s Bank Records (Talking Points Memo)
- What we don’t get about the far right (CNN)
- What did it take to launch the internet’s most notorious neo-Nazi site? A little help from Dad (LA Times)
- How Steve Bannon’s far-right ‘Movement’ stalled in Europe (The Guardian)
- How the Catholic ‘alt-right’ aims to purge LGBTQ members from the church (NBC)
- South Africa’s Suidlanders: They’re prepping for a race war. And they see Trump as their ‘ray of hope’ (CNN)
That’s a wrap on our 2018 birthday edition! I hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family, food and not too much arguing with your right-wing uncle. Talk to you next week!