Julia Ebner's rise to moderate notoriety started when she went undercover to investigate “extremism”.
“Extremism” is an interesting word. It means that all political positions across all topics are two-dimensional. There is a right and a left position. And in the middle, if you have somewhat not the left or the right position, maybe a mix of them or you are unsure, whatever, when you are in the middle you are a good person, a centrist. The further you go away from that uncleanly defined centre, the more evil you become. And on the tips there is this extremism area.
Conservatives know that you drop immediately out of this cushy centrist area when you want less immigration. Than your smart mix of left and right-wing positions does not matter anymore and you become an extremist.
This commonly held two-dimensional worldview is a result of shrewd propaganda. Whatever group is most influential at a given time claims to be the middle of all things. Those who disagree too much become the extremes. Although the model has only two ways to deviate from the only responsible centre, other denounced views like Islamism or Scientology make it also into the “extremism” corner. Pressed hard, people will toss those odd “extremes” to the far end of the side which the speaker does not belong to. Because this happens in rare speaking situations, the two-dimensional worldview and the “whatever I don’t like is extreme” position simply coexist in people’s head and no second is spent in an effort to sort this out. Strategists can use this to claim that actually all positions that are dissenting from the own are supposedly similar.
And this is where Julia Ebner steps in. She claims to have mingled with Islamists and right-wing radicals.
I also have mingled with Islamists. And this is her trick. She did not exactly rub shoulders with ISIS on the battle ground. She was just smoking shisha with some dudes who say that democracy is just man-made and will lose the battle against the divine. Her right-wing radicals are the hipsters of the Generation Identity. Their “radicalism” is that they distribute bumper stickers that criticise immigration.
Anyway, after her undercover project she wrote a book trying to smear the right with ludicrous associations with Islamists. She has since found employment at Maajid Nawaz’ Quilliam Foundation and a number of other, often Soros-sponsored enterprises. As an aside: I really used to like Nawaz and have no idea what in the world he is doing right now. Claiming to be the “center” and to fight extremism is ultimately just fighting for the interest of your current elites. There is nothing wrong with it if you believe the elites are ethical. But “centrism” in itself is not a marker for a moral high ground.
Anyway, the following text is a review of an article of newspaper taz that gives some insight into Ebner’s dubious activity.
In an article for the Guardian written by Ebner Tommy Robinson, the founder of the English Defense League, saw himself wrongly called a “white supremacist” and he paid her a visit. Since then, death threats and the threat of sexual violence belong to Ebner’s life. She got used to it.
Julia Ebner got used to these “threats” because she knows that they are not real. She would not get used to real death threats. But who does get death threats these days and is actually repeatedly beaten and even imprisoned under false pretexts? It’s Tommy Robinson and not her. And why is he harassed like this? Because Ebner and others classify him wrongly as a racists and constantly so publicly.
“In the 2017 general election, we observed how right-wing trolls co-ordinated disinformation and intimidation campaigns online, distorting public discourse in favor of right-wing themes and narratives,” recalls Ebner.
Trolls do not spread information or disinformation. God, does she know what “trolls” are? She denounces dissenters as trolls. And she can see during every election campaign that people want to discuss. We call that phenomenon democracy.
… In their current project, the researchers want to investigate on behalf of the Open Society Foundation – a foundation of the US billionaire Georg Soros – whether similar effects can be observed before the Bavarian state election on 14 October. … Right-wing trolls use their campaigns to target something that scientists call strategic polarization – a tactic that seeks to bring about societal change, and that applies both right-wing extremists and Islamist extremists. The weaponization of the media and the exploitation of the new [social] media vulnerabilities are central to a larger-scale strategy, says extremism researcher Julia Ebner.
She does not explain the term “strategic polarization“, but it is evil. ISIS does it, so it must be terrible. Does it have something to do with couscous?
It is about gradually erasing the gray areas in the discourse and gradually shifting the so-called Overton window, that is, the limits of what is in the realm of the professed and socially acceptable – until right-wing themes and narratives have arrived in the mainstream and people who want to join the discourse have to decide which side to stand on, because non-positioning is no longer possible.
That’s the definition of “wanting to have democracy”. Leftists also chase their topics into the mainstream. Normal citizens are now bothered with whether transsexual children should take hormones. In fact, it is the right, and not the left, that can except when people are not familiar with a topic and have no proclivity for one thing or another. But I wonder if being uninformed is that centrism that makes one a good person. In any event, being uninformed does not make people evil, but it also does not make them saints.
The result: The result is the – artificially created – impression of loss of control and disunity in the country. Journalists and politicians will pick up on the topics and stories that have been launched, possibly leading to political decisions and electoral outcomes that favor the right-wing milieu – and in a final step threatening minorities directly.
The rhetorical pressure and emotional manipulation here could hardly be worse if they claimed “the conservative issues are killing women and children”.
“Either someone from Germany wants to include the international New Right and the US alt-right movement in the state election campaign, or the international New Right has an interest in influencing the AFD in the state elections.” It is hard to tell which of the two scenarios is the case because the authors act anonymously and easily disguise locations.
The idea that citizens represent their own interests is not even on the screen.
In addition to the instructions, there are also links to meme collections: freely available picture galleries with motifs that treat right-wing content partly satirically. They are sometimes fostering fears and that can be spread well online. “Memetic warfare” is the name of this propaganda technique, which already classified NATO as a relevant form of psychological warfare in connection with “IS”.
Well, if the IS uses funny pictures, they have to be the devil. The moral of the left often consist of branding something as bad simply because it has already been done by already discredited people. A discussion what follows from what is never entertained.
The full version of the software also lets you search for individual hashtags or phrases and their distribution. “At ‘Chemnitz’ we found out that 50 percent of the term was used by German or international groups that belong to the right-wing spectrum,” says Project Manager Colliver. “That’s hardly surprising, but considering that AfD voters actually make up a much smaller proportion of the population, it shows that the right dominates the social media discourse on this issue disproportionately.”
Internationally, at least across the Western world, the right-wing spectrum accounts for about 50%. What is their logic? Do they think that it would be normal if everyone was on the left?
Finally, with the analysis tool graphika the researchers want to create network maps to determine which new-right accounts, groups and media are the most influential in online discourse before the state election. Thus, one can see where and how, for example, German and English-speaking right-wing filter bubbles and those of Russia- and/or Putin-affine groups overlap, where and how narratives and disinformation campaigns are created and how far they spread. … “This will certainly include blogs like journalistenwatch.com and philosophia-perennis.com,” says Colliver, “but also bild.de, Epochtimes.de and possibly also Sputnik Germany and RT.”
She does not only have David Berger and Jouwatch in mind, but also the exile-Chinese newspaper Epoch Times and BILD! The tabloid BILD is the largest paper in Germany!
The magnitude of the effect of such echo chambers on election decisions and mainstream discussion is difficult to quantify, despite the tools used in the analysis.
BILD would be a pretty big “echo chamber”.
The Amadeu Antonio Foundation speaks of “toxic narratives” that are highly accessible. “Not everybody who believes such a toxic narrative does necessarily believe in all the narratives associated with it. However, there is a high likelihood that this will happen sooner or later,” says a statement in the Foundation’s report.
The left, like all totalitarians, uses fear. Of course, everyone is able to separate meaning and nonsense. One gravitates only so far away from the left because the left lies too much. The mentioned foundation is run by a woman who was a stasi spy and has admitted that fact publicly.
What the results of the researchers in London suggest is that the New Right is becoming increasingly internationalized and networked across borders – and especially with regard to the election campaign in social networks. Propaganda and strategies are shared and narratives woven together to form a global narrative that follows a blind good-versus-evil scheme. This is also likely to be harnessed by former Trump consultant and Breitbart news publisher Steve Bannon, who has announced his intention to launch a right-wing revolt in Europe with a right-wing populist foundation called The Movement.
And even this end of the article is silly. Bannon does not even have a website at this point. To my dismay he is very ineffective at the moment.