Since the 2016 presidential election, alt-right trolls have been widely credited with stoking nationalist sentiment across the US and helping to get Donald Trump elected. But what makes them so good at convincing people to join their side? In this episode of CYBERWAR, VICELAND's show about the world of online warfare, host Ben Makuch met with a slew of notorious alt-right meme makers to try and understand their tactics.
The first is Charles C. Johnson, a notorious shitposter who was permanently banned from Twitter after asking for donations to help "take out" a Black Lives Matter activist. For Johnson, the line between journalism and trolling has blurred to the point where the two are one in the same.
Next, Makuch meets up with Mike Cernovich, one of the right's most infamous meme makers. He says the key to making an effective meme is to tell a convincing, simple story. "People think in terms of stories and in terms of archetypes," Cernovich said.
At the core of today's meme war is an unsettlingly reality: Facts aren't always what win hearts and minds.
Season two of CYBERWAR premieres on VICELAND October 3.