They are the villainous creatures of J K Rowling and J R R Tolkien. They are the nemeses of fairy tales. They are the cute, bed-headed toys of a bygone era. They are also the agents of chaos on social media. They are trolls.
Read any post and they are there, infesting the comments section with their claims of Fake News and ratings. Their goal is to incite anger and gather attention. When anyone responds to a troll, as I have on numerous occasions, trying to correct their false narratives, they respond with “Triggered”, meaning they have achieved their desired intent. The more responses they get to their incendiary comments, the more they feel justified.
I follow several sites that would be considered “mainstream media”. I avoid the fringe sites, both on the left and the right, and when I find the ideas expressed by a certain site, Facebook page or Twitter account, I stop following them. I also do not follow the right wing propaganda networks such as Fox, InfoWars or Brietbart because I have no interest in their unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, hyper partisanship, NRA sponsored trash or endless bashing of Liberals.
Trolls have the opposite approach. They don’t follow a site to gain information. Instead, they do so to sow discontent, gain attention and make lame comments about the post they are following. Trolls can be either right-wing malcontents, who feel they are doing “a public service” by attempting to discredit a story they see as unfavorable to this administration. They feel justified because that is what they hear on a daily basis from the White House.
Trolls are also agents of foreign governments. Their role is to confuse and discredit those who support the views of the media. They often dupe the malcontents into believing and even spreading outlandish stories aimed at discrediting those who oppose this administration. These are the very trolls that swayed the 2016 election results.
And they aren’t done yet. There is growing suspicion that they will do the same in 2020. Why not? This administration has already made it clear they won’t be making any effort to prevent it.
Are there trolls and on the left wingsites? I’m sure there are, but I couldn’t be bothered to follow them, much less comment on their twisted rhetoric.
My advice: Don’t feed the trolls. This only raises their social media status.
CJ Waldron is a retired English teacher from upstate New York. An adjunct instructor at Horry Georgetown Technical College, he lives in Conway, SC with his wife, Donna.