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Right-wing billionaires are funding Facebook meme factories to get you to vote Republican

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Trump as Pepe the Frog

The image shows Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) cooly adjusting his tie, as a hysterical looking woman in the background screams while being restrained by an officer. It was posted online following Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court despite allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman in high school.

“I hate to brag. I just took the most thug life @LindseyGrahamSC photos of the entire Kavanaugh saga. [Story soon]” tweeted right-wing provocateur Benny Johnson. The pic took on a life of its own, as other online users superimposed more messaging on it, like a picture of Joe Biden inappropriately touching the woman.

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Welcome to the meme wars. An investigation by Mother Jones has found that conservatives have learned to weaponize memes — images occasionally superimposed with text that are designed to go viral — while liberals have largely ignored them. And they’re planning to use them to sway the outcome of the 2020 election, likely in favor of Donald Trump.

Although memes typically emerge organically, Mother Jones discovered that well-funded conservative activists and organizations have started training tech-savvy young conservatives on how to use memes to influence real world electoral and policy outcomes.

Turning Point USA, which is partly funded by right-wing philanthropist Foster Freiss, is prioritizing meme-training.

“Memes are tools for information warfare,” Boston University professor Gianluca Stringhini, who studies memes, told Mother Jones. “Probably this is a new way of doing politics. A new weapon that campaigns can use.”

Media Matters’ President Angelo Carusone explained why conservatives are more adept at memes.

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On the left “every meme has to have a million qualifiers, so that it’s no longer a meme. It’s a Medium post,” he told Mother Jones. Conservatives, on the other hand, tend to communicate their ideas “in ways that are very reductionist. They’re also much more comfortable lying, and their audiences are much more likely to accept it.”

Memes have been behind promoting conspiracy theories as varied as Pizzagate and the idea that Hillary Clinton was deathly ill during the campaign.

TPUSA had a budget of $8 million last year and helped promote “Big Government Sucks” memes on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Benny Johnson hosts tutorials on successful right-wing meme creation. He concluded a recent presentation with a hopeful message for right-wingers.

“Smile. You’re on the winning side,” he said.

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2020 Election

Michael Cohen drops tip on possible fraud Trump committed against the government

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Appearing on CNN on Tuesday morning to talk about Donald Trump's problems since the New York Times exposed his avoidance of paying taxes, the president's former attorney, Michael Cohen, said there is plenty for investigators to look at if they're looking for fraud.

He then dropped a tip on financial fraud that may have been committed by the president against the U.S. government.

Speaking with host Alisyn Camerota, Cohen detailed some of the president's financial woes -- saying he is likely headed to personal bankruptcy and even jail ("for a century") because of the massive amount of debt he is carrying -- if he is not re-elected.

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‘We don’t want him!’ Eric Trump sparks confusion by declaring himself part of the LGBT community

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Eric Trump awkwardly described himself as a member of the LGBT community on Fox News, setting off some puzzled reactions.

Media Matters researcher Bobby Lewis, who monitors "Fox & Friends" daily, flagged the exchange, which was prompted by a New York Times column about a lesbian woman who supports President Donald Trump.

"The LGBT community, they are incredible," Eric Trump said, "and you should see how they come out in full force for my father every single day. I'm part of that community, and we love the man."

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Eric Trump bitterly attacks ‘disgusting’ NYT reporters who exposed his dad’s massive business losses

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Eric Trump appeared on "Fox & Friends" Tuesday to bitterly complain about the way his father is being treated by the Internal Revenue Service and the New York Times.

During the appearance, President Donald Trump's second-oldest son attacked the New York Times' explosive reporting on the president avoiding paying federal income tax by reporting massive losses.

Among other things, Trump complained that the article on the president's taxes was too long and detailed, which he said meant it must have been part of a coordinated political attack.

"They've been writing that article for three months and they wanted it to drop the morning before the debate!" he said. "These are disgusting people!"

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