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'The Wiz,' Olivia Munn and the Dangers of the Media Mainstreaming Twitter Trolls

By Dustin Rowles | Social Media | December 4, 2015 |

By Dustin Rowles | Social Media | December 4, 2015 |

I was originally going to write this morning about Twitter had rightfully gone berserk because there was a groundswell of racist idiots who were suggesting that last night’s live version of The Wiz on NBC was racist because of its all black cast. This is hilariously ironic because The Wiz is obviously based on the same source material as the all-white The Wizard of Oz. In fact, my wife was freaking out about all these white people complaining about the all-black cast, and if you checked Twitter last night, the reaction to his ignorance was trending.

There are, indeed, thousands of people on the Internet up in arms because white people were calling The Wiz racist, and fair enough: Those white people are assholes.

But here’s the thing about Twitter: It’s a democracy of voices where everyone is treated the same, so if a media organization like, say, Buzzfeed, unearths 4 or 5 tweets from people saying that The Wiz is racist, they can generate enough conversation around the thoughts of some rando clueless dickbags to create a massive response.

There were hundreds and hundreds of tweets last night calling out these white people, but best I can tell, there were only 4 or 5 trolls dumb enough to suggest that The Wiz was racist.

One of the guys who provoked much of the backlash — a guy named Andrew Natalizio, who has already deleted his Tweet — has only 350 followers and also wrote this about Aaron Rodgers last night:

For those who don’t watch football, here’s what happened not too long after this guy posted that tweet:

Ha ha. Fuck you, Andrew.

In other words, that guy is a knee-jerk idiot, but thanks to Twitter and our need in the media to manufacture outrage, we mainstreamed an idiot radical and sent all of Twitter into a tizzy over one bumblefuck’s moronic tweet. There were several media outlets screaming that Twitter “exploded” with “furious debate” over the all-black cast, but they all cited the same 4 or 5 tweets, collected over the course of a month. This was not a debate. It was 100,000 people shouting down 5 hayseed troglodytes with Twitter apps on their phones. This is what we like to refer to as “feeding the trolls.”

This is exactly what happened to Olivia Munn a couple of weeks ago when The Washington Post and Fox News, among others, built entire articles around one troll on one message board who had suggested that Aaron Rodgers’ recent struggles were caused by Olivia Munn. This one comment led to countless articles and tweets.

One racist asshole made a comment on a message board that got picked up by The Washington Post. Woodward and Bernstein just killed themselves so they could roll over in their graves.

Olivia Munn rightfully called out the news organizations.

That’s the nature of Twitter now, and it’s weirdly dangerous, because it further polarizes Democrats and Republicans, white people and black people, and Christians and Muslims. We no longer have gatekeepers to filter out fringe idiocy — in fact, we/they highlight the trolls for clicks, because we are the fucking devil.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.