The ‘c’atholic Left, Faketivism, and You

Here is something that could tie together the recent anti-Catholic catholic high school explosions with lefty groups such as the LCWR, Network, FutureChurch, NCAN, etc., and the Fishwrap, The Tablet, Commonweal, America, US Catholic, etc.

This was found the blog of Daniel Greenfield (my emphases):

What do the forced departure of Brendan Eich from Mozilla and #CancelColbert have in common? They are both examples of Fakectivism. [Fake-activism = Faketivism]

Fakectivism is social media activism by small numbers of people that is integrated into the news cycle because it matches the media’s political agenda.

Every Tea Party member knows that media coverage of actual protests is unequal. Twenty students, most of them volunteers at an environmental non-profit, protesting Keystone will get media coverage that a thousand Tea Party members protesting ObamaCare won’t receive.

The same is true of online protests.

Many of the real life protests covered by the media are fake. For example, unions hire non-union protesters to protest on their behalf, a fact that the media organizations covering the protests rarely point out. (That same privilege wouldn’t be extended to Tea Party members who hired professional protesters to yell at the cameras for them.) Other protests pretend to be grass roots when they actually consist of members or even paid employees of a single organization.

During the Bush years, many anti-war protests were actually run by the same small number of radical left-wing groups, but were reported on as if they were mainstream marches of ordinary people.

The situation has become much worse online as the media applies this same selective sloppiness to internet Fakectivism.

Fakectivism online multiplies the problems with media coverage of left-wing activism by completely distorting the number of people participating in a protest and their credibility in representing anyone except themselves.

In real life protests, the media routinely reported higher turnout for left-wing protests and lower turnout for conservative protests. Online, Fakectivism dispenses with head counts. If it’s a trending topic, then it’s news. And sometimes it’s news, even if it isn’t.

Fakectivism begins with left-wing agitprop sites selectively collecting tweets in support or against something. Invariably the handful of tweets are described in collective terms as “The Internet” being outraged or supportive of something. The use of the collective “Internet” is a staple of Fakectivism because it conflates a manufactured story with the impulses and opinions of billions of people.

Successful Fakectivism moves up the ladder to higher end left-wing websites searching for teachable controversies. These websites have enough status that they are monitored by producers and editors from the mainstream media looking for stories.

The mainstream media harvests content from sites such as Slate or the Huffington Post and reframes it in biased but credible language while disguising its sources. Twitter Fakectivism is invariably described as a “backlash” or a “firestorm”. Phrases such as “Twitter was lit up by outraged users” give non-technical readers the impression that the complainers represent the consensus of the site instead of a small number of overactive users.

The manufactured Fakectivism becomes a major news story by a successive filtering process that disguises the dubious source and the credibility of the originating event.


It’s the role of the social media Fakectivists to aggressively push their most radical agendas and of the media Fakectivists to moderate their tone. The media act as the formal gatekeepers of liberalism determining which radical agenda can be mainstreamed this week while the social media activists keep forcing the gates to open even wider.

It’s never about the facts. The media and social media Fakectivists only care about emotional manipulation in the service of their agenda. Their stories are morality plays that expect the audience to view a human drama and come down on their side and for their agenda. The drama is the narrative which both sets of Fakectivists skew their way through misleading reporting.


Read the rest there.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. benedetta says:


  2. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    It would be interesting to see a historical survey of this. For instance, I remember an occasion in the 1980s when there was a pro-life march of a couple hundred thousand people in London and a protest of a little over a dozen ‘animal-rights’ activists at Parliment: guess which got lots of ‘quality newspaper’ coverage?

    And I think of Ransom trying to explain (in Latin, of course) 1940s Britain to Patristic Age Merlin, awake again after a millennium-and-a-half’s absence, in Lewis’s That Hideous Strength (1945). When Merlin asks about the possibility of “plain battle”, Ransom tells him, “The have an engine called the Press whereby the people are deceived. We should die without even being heard of.”

    How old, broad, and well-watered are the roots of ‘Fakectivism’?

  3. Lin says:

    Except for EWTN, 20 pro-choice get more coverage than 200,000+ pro-life every year at the March for Life! Fakectivism has been going on since the 60’s but has gotten progressively worse because it has worked! The majority of people in this country are managed by their emotions not by THE TRUTH! With a lack of catechism and progressives among priests and religious, even Catholics are easily misled.

  4. Pingback: The Rise of Fakectivism | Catholic Canada

  5. Tamquam says:

    In the early 1980’s the Los Angeles Times printed a long front page article about a couple dozen pro-abortion demonstrators. It went on for pages and pages.

    A few months later it turns out that two Los Angeles Times journalists got a prestigious national prize for exposing media malpractice, and it was earned on the basis of this story.

    It turns out that this little demonstration took place in the presence of 100,000 pro-life marchers in downtown Los Angeles at high noon, a fact that the original story neglected to mention. It was at that moment that the scales fell from my eyes.

  6. Sonshine135 says:

    First rule of war: Make people think that your numbers are bigger. Nothing shuts people up quicker than when they are demoralized into believing their opinion is insignificant. That is also where these “there is no debate” comments come from. These groups are afraid that the more the truth is told, the harder it will become to hide Oz behind the curtain. Loss of that debate means less money, power, and influence, so the agenda must be lied about until it becomes truth. Satan is sowing seeds of doubt.

  7. Bruce says:

    “Fakectivism is social media activism by small numbers of people that is integrated into the news cycle because it matches the media’s political agenda.”

    Exactly! That happens a lot up here in Canada. My favorite radio talk show host was let go last year. He was politically conservative , to you Americans he probably would be considered centrist. So I have been listening to CBC radio which has an obvious left leaning political agenda and Fakectivism is used quite often.

  8. Mike says:

    That the ‘faketivists’ are running the press room at “mainstream” news organizations there can be little doubt: see how quickly any media outlet not bearing the leftist imprimatur that dares to report on the depredations of pro-abortion thugs or jack-booted statists is promptly bawled down with cries of FAUXNEWS!!!!1!!!@!@!!!!

    That some of these criers bear Roman collars is a scourge to the Truth Whom they are ordained to serve.

  9. The Cobbler says:

    We all know we can’t trust Wikipedia, but what most people don’t know is what newspapers would look like if they too allowed us to come in and mark up their public articles’ weasel words and unsupported claims with “[who?]”, “[how many?]” and “[citation needed]”.

    I’ve thought about writing an app that would allow you to read online news sites and attempt to automatically add those tags. It could be done, with some degree of error, but I have so many other little ideas I’ve been working on off and on for the past so many years that I haven’t gotten around to trying it.

    I suppose it might be similarly possible to program a Twitter bot to respond with the appropriate tags to weaselly or citationless tweets. It would be one busy bot, and often unnecessary and annoying (since it’s fine in most ordinary conversations to throw ideas around taking for granted that your interlocutor shares the background already), unless you found a way to make it target only people purporting to be news sources or something. Ok, it would still be a busy bot if it only targetted news sources, but… Maybe for Twitter it would be better to have a “formal logic bot” that identifies where people are arguing using formal fallacies — then you wouldn’t have to worry so much about deciding which tweeters are casual conversation that doesn’t need its commentary and which are posing as some kind of info or news source and do.

  10. Priam1184 says:

    It is amusing to look at the pictures associated with articles concerning left wing protesters: the photos are always shot at such an angle that makes it look like the five people in the picture are the vanguard of a large crowd behind them, but if you look closely at the amount of empty space on the edges of the shot, then you realize that THERE IS NO CROWD BEHIND THEM. And don’t get me started on Twitter: the world would be a much better place if it simply went away.

  11. KRD says:

    #CancelColbert might not be the best example, because that was (in part) spearheaded by conservative activists like Michelle Malkin.

  12. Eraser says:

    Several years ago, one of the professors at the university where I work was talking to me about a protest against something or other going on here that made the local news. He happened to be there and he said that although there were only a scant handful of protesters, the camera angle and embellished reporting made it seem like a sizeable crowd.

    I also heard a comedian joking about the “professionally outraged” people that the media drags in to every halfway controversial story – a friend coined the term “faux-fended” to describe the same type of dim-witted agitators with too much time on their hands. Social media was a godsend for them.

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