This week, Attitude, a UK-based gay magazine fueled the propaganda machine with a tweet claiming that pedophiles “wanted acceptance to the LGBT community.” The headline stemmed from an online trolling campaign in which sinister online forces are attempting to forge a link between pedophilia and the LGBTQ+ community. To report the patently false assertion was an irresponsible and harmful journalistic blunder, particularly when coming from a magazine that claims to represent the gay community. Media aimed at the LGBTQ+ community should never give a platform to such dangerous and bigoted rhetoric.
The elaborate troll experiment was a calculated effort to turn public opinion - particularly those uninformed of the fight for equal rights - against the LGBTQ+ Community. Of course, the ensuing outrage (and panic) of do-gooders and well-meaning allies played right into the hands of the Alt-Right’s supporters of The Daily Caller, a hyper-conservative online publication that promoted the story based on the tweet from Attitude.
To think that the “Alt-Right” Movement, along with the anti-LGBTQ+ trolls it supports, is an informal group of uneducated bigots would be to do them, and the people fighting against them, a disservice. If you cannot recognize the strengths of those you are opposing, you will fail to be a very strong opponent.
What needs to be understood though, is the importance of fact-checking, inquiry, and evaluation before inciting panic or promoting a false claim—something both publications did not do.
After all, the trolls only win if you feed them.
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