Why are all those trolls out there? NYTimes’ Fahrad Manjoo blames “incivility”—not the state or corporations

From this simplistic plaint you wouldn’t know that trolls are often hired to do their dirty work, or do it under orders. The powers deploying this subversive tactic have included CENTCOM and the FBI, BP and the government of Israel, just to name a few:

Instead of vaguely blaming “incivility” for all such hostile interference, Manjoo might have noted its notorious embrace by Cass Sunstein, who, as Obama’s head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, publicly advised the use of “cognitive infiltration”—i.e., trolls—to thwart online discussion of anti-government “conspiracy theories.”  (See,for example, http://www.salon.com/2010/01/15/sunstein_2/.)

Such mischief having been reported widely, Manjoo’s failure to acknowledge it suggests a wish (on someone’s part) to keep the Times‘s readers in the dark about it.

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