Here’s what I think is happening: Now that the trolls have put their man in the White House and taken up tone-policing, their formerly exclusive DGAF attitude seems to be hybridizing with the get-off-my-lawn alarmism of Fox News. And it’s going both ways. While onetime edgy figures like Posobiec have taken on the affectations of state-television hackery, complete with never-ending finger-wagging outrage about Hillary Clinton and the Red Hen, more official actors have started to use the methods of the grassroots.
Take the GOP’s Twitter account. The social media voice of a major party tweeted an accusation last week that Democrat Richard Cordray had twice been “caught” comparing Republicans to Nazis. “Completely inappropriate and out of line,” the account righteously concluded—failing to disclose, among many other things, that an actual, self-proclaimed Nazi is the current GOP candidate in an Illinois congressional race. This is trolling—the GOP knows perfectly well that comparisons to Nazis are more than legitimate (Ted Cruz himself, hardly a moderate, urged Illinois voters to choose the Democrat over the GOP Nazi). It’s concern trolling.
The trouble is that this sensibility has infiltrated actual political entities to the point where they don’t even know where the sanctimony ends and the trolling begins.