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

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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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Trump is ‘unethical and tyrannical’ for firing inspector general who relayed Ukraine complaint: Conservative columnist

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On Monday, writing for the Washington Examiner, conservative columnist Quin Hillyer laid into President Donald Trump for getting rid of intelligence community inspector general Michael Atkinson.

Hillyer pointed out that the GOP and some Democrats "rightly expressed outrage" when President Barack Obama fired Gerald Walpin, the AmeriCorps inspector general who Obama had claimed was "confused and disoriented" in meetings and took unauthorized absences from work. But "Trump has even less reason to fire Atkinson now than Obama had to fire Walpin then."

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Trump admits he hasn’t read Capt. Brett Crozier’s letter — but is angry about it anyway

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At President Donald Trump's Monday press briefing for the coronavirus task force, he claimed that he was angry about Navy Capt. Brett Crozier's leaked letter warning of COVID-19 spreading throughout the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt — but admitted he hadn't even read what was in it.

"I think it was five pages long, single-spaced," Trump said. "That's a lot of words!" He also said that it was bad how many copies of the letter he had made — "I think 28."

As he had earlier in the press conference, Trump was more evasive about whether he agreed with acting Navy Secretary's Thomas Modly's decision to relieve Crozier of command of the vessel, saying that he would have to discuss it with Modly.

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Trump says Democrats ‘shouldn’t be allowed to win’ 2020 election after his coronavirus response

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Near the end of President Donald Trump's Monday press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, the president said that Democrats "shouldn't be allowed to win" the election after everything he has done with regard to the pandemic — and said that the virus has "artificially stopped" them.

He also proceeded to attack President Barack Obama, saying that his administration did essentially nothing to stop the swine flu pandemic in 2009. In reality, the Obama administration was much quicker to declare a public health emergency in that crisis, and the CDC promptly sequenced the virus and issued test kits.

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