Friday, August 3, 2012

Now Pay Attention Folks:
THIS Is How You Troll
A Troll

Especially When That Trolls Name Is

As somebody who's been on the Internet since around 1995, I've seen every troll trick in the book.  Many of of my readers will no doubt be familiar with some of them:

1. The ad hominem: "You are a bad, baaaaad person for disagreeing with my political views."  Goal: get you on the defensive.  They call you a racist, a homophobe, a sexist, a hater of the poor, drowner of of kittens in your toilet or whatever, and you are supposed to start wasting your time attempting to prove to this person that you are NOT in fact a bad person because you disagree with their political views.

Remedy: Ignore it. Act like they didn't even say it.  Keep to the point and keep talking about what you were talking about.  You are NEVER going to win a game of "So when DID you stop beating your wife, eh?" with somebody on the internet or anywhere else.
2.  Subject change: "You made a good point there but rather than respond I'll simply change the subject and get off this current topic because this is not a give-and-take debate it's about how smart & I am and how stupid you are."  Goal: By changing the subject they catch you flat-footed, interrupt the flow of the conversation and short-circuit any attempts to build a case.  If you are attempting to make an argument with multiple points, they will keep changing the subject to avoid letting you get anywhere.

Remedy: Force them to stick to the subject or end the conversation.
3.  Strawman/Motives: "I will now take the argument you made and refashion it into a strawman that I'll then easily knock down while at the same time claiming the only reason you are not agreeing with my political views is because your motives are evil."   Goal: To never have to actually deal with what was said & to get the other person on the defensive by ascribing their desire to communicate to racism, sexism, homophobia or some other bad, evil motive.

Remedy: Take their strawman and refashion it back into the argument you were actually making until they do 1 of 2 things:

1. Respond to the actual point you were making or
2. Give up.

A few days ago Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid {D-Nev} decided to try to get the media to put intense pressure on Presidential candidate Mitt Romney by trying one of the oldest troll tricks in the book.

4.  Burden of Proof: "I will now make this outrageous accusation against you without proffering any proof whatsoever and since you bear the burden of proving my outrageous accusation is not true, you'd better get busy trying to defend yourself to me."   Goal: Sort of similar to troll trick #1, they want to get you on the defensive, but the additional trick here is they want you to expend time and energy doing research and proffering EVIDENCE to them, links, webpages, books, articles, even private info, so you can 'prove' to them that their claim is not true.

Remedy: Remind them it's THEIR claim and so the burden of proof lies squarely on them.

The burden of proof trick is nothing more than a PC show trial maneuver.  They sit you in front of them, launch an absurd accusation at you with no proof & then demand you demonstrate to them you are innocent.  YOU'RE the one that's supposed to run around frantically finding evidence to acquit yourself while they sit there and laugh at you.

Because most of the time they aren't arguing facts but MOTIVE this is of course IMPOSSIBLE to do.  Which is the point.  THEY KNOW IT'S IMPOSSIBLE. That's why they can't lose if you fall for their goading you into playing this game.

"Oh you don't support President Obama? Prove to me you are not a racist."
"Oh you don't support the HHS contraception mandate? Prove to me you don't hate women."
"Oh you support Walker in Wisconsin? Prove to me you don't hate working families." 
"Oh so when DID you stop beating your wife?"  

Now at the time Reid first made this allegation at the Huffington Post, he came right out and said:

1. He had heard this from a source he would not name, and
2. He had no evidence if what the source was telling him was true.

And yet what has Reid claimed for 3 straight days now?  He's claimed that MITT ROMNEY bears the burden of proof here, and the only way Mitt can prove he's innocent is to release more of those tax returns.

For decades Conservatives have watched Democrats and their Media shills play this game.  They make the accusation and boldly admit they have no proof but the ALLEGATIONS ARE SO SERIOUS there needs to be an investigation!  The target must prove his/her innocence! Why has the target not produced evidence of their innocence yet, if in fact they are innocent?!  Why does the target keep denying the allegations? WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE!!!??, etc. etc.

Within hours of Harry Reid making this desperate, foolhardy gambit in an attempt to pry more tax records out of Mitt Romney, the New Media was in full pushback.

First to fire a shot across Reids' bow was David Burge, @iowahawkblog.  Now pay attention: THIS is how you troll a troll using the 'Burden of Proof' trick: You turn it around on them and make your OWN baseless accusations with no evidence whatsoever and demand they prove their innocence.  And the longer they fail to supply you with such proof why, the SERIOUSNESS OF YOUR ACCUSATION ONLY INCREASES.

Note: because this is IowaHawk's twitter feed screen grabbed, you have to start at the bottom and read your way upwards:

Another blogger active on Twitter, @aceofspadesHQ also began rhetorically bitch-slapping Reid for his troll attack on Romney:

Then David Axelrod took it upon himself to tweet THIS:
Yes, it is a lame attempt to get the 'burden of proof' troll attack back on track by trying to convince people that Romney has the burden of proof here.  

Note the reply Axelrod got from me.  

@DrewMTips , a blogger at Ace of Spades HQ,  then took it upon himself to e-mail Reid's office about these swirling rumors of pederasty:

We could call this the Reid Standard of Proof: I make an allegation you've committed a felony with no proof and it's your job to prove your innocence.  But for some strange reason when you boomerang this back on the clowns trying  this, all of a sudden they think you're being 'cute' and nobody should take you seriously.

Reid's tactic here is so odious even Jon Stewart had to go after him.  Not just on the absurd tax accusation but also for claiming George Romney would be 'ashamed' of his son.

As Ann Coulter pointed out in her recent column, grabbing ahold of documents and then spinning them to damage opponents is Obama's whole modus operandi:

Democrats have now gone all-in on trying to force Romney into handing over more tax returns so they can pick through them for something to attack him with.

Given that rolled out a political ad the other day still shilling for the now totally debunked 'OMFG, Romneys got a $77,000 tax deduction for dancing horse!!11!!!', it doesn't stretch the imagination to see what kind of fun they'll have with any documents Mitt can be intimidated into handing over.

The IRS is perfectly fine with Mitt's tax returns.  If he committed a felony they would already know about it.  They don't need Harry Reid flinging absurd accusations in public to do their job.

It's just turned August and this is the kind desperate, stupid BS the Democrats are forced into as they watch Black Jesus slowly sink 'neath the waves.


  1. Short version: stoop to the same tactics that offend you.

  2. Name one burden of proof attack top Republican leaders/Romney have pulled on Obama.

    Take your time.

    1. That still doesn't refute my shorter version in the least. Hilarious - you just pulled a strawman. That's where copying and pasting gets you.

    2. I asked you to cite one burden of proof attack made on Obama by Romney or top Republicans.

      You don't get much higher than Harry Reid. He is, after all, Senate Majority Leader.

      You claimed moral equivalency; both sides do it. Fine. Find a guy way up there in the Republican hierarchy pulling this BS.

      Back it up.

    3. Strawman, as you are arguing a point I never made. How are you not getting it - as well as the rich irony?

    4. "Stoop to the same tactics that offended you."

      Point is everybody that reads this article gets that Reid is being lampooned and mocked and parodied for trying this attack.

      HE'S serious about it. WE'RE laughing at him. And he deserves to be laughed at.

      I & others 'stooped' to his level to show how ridiculous and without merit his attack on Romney is. We're not being serious about it. Nobody high up on the Republican side would even dream of trying an attack this stupid, so I think we can agree on that.

  3. Obama? I don't done think he was born in Amurica. Now he better done go proof he was. Why ain't he showin' us his proof? Woo doggy!

    1. Which top people in the RNC made that claim? Romney? Prebius? Any Republican Senator?

      Be specific, please.

  4. Demonstrating the absurdness of Reid's own attack by boomeranging it back on him = 'stoop to same tactics'? Not hardly.

    Difference is: everybody knows I, Ace of Spades, & Iowahawk are not serious. We're lampooning, mocking, ridiculing a self-important ass clown. Reid expects to be taken so seriously, he's hoping his attack will intimidate Mitt into handing over more returns.

    If you can't tell the difference, I really can't help you. Try looking up 'satire' in the dictionary, that might help.

    1. Guess I missed the funny part due to the lack of funny and because your post sounds really angry and pissy. Even your above comment sounds angry and pissy. I'll stand by my point, thanks.

    2. My mistake was taking your 1st post seriously. It never occurred to me until I read it again you were equating mocking Reid with 'stooping to same tactics'.

      It's OK to demonstrate the absurd by being absurd. No really, it is.

    3. The Libs did the same thing with Glenn Beck once upon a time with a "Did Glenn Beck rape and murder a woman?" or some such mockery in response to a similarly made-up bit of Beck BS, so this isn't even very original. And I thought then that the "fight fire with fire" tactic was lame, unfunny and further cheapened the already bargain basement level American political discourse.

      To each his own, I guess. I just happen to think its a hollow, shallow victory when people turn troll in response to a troll, as you put it.

  5. Shouldn't Reid be facing criminal charges for this sort of thing?

    1. BTW, I'm a different 'anonymous'. That other guy is a jerk.

  6. If Beck did that, then he deserved what he got. I don't see anything wrong with demonstrating the absurd by being absurd right back at them. As long as it's clear your just illustrating something. Nobody seriously thinks Burge or Ace is accusing Reid of real pederasty. That's the joke. REID IS SERIOUS.

  7. No I mean Reid. Everyone gets that Birge and Ace are only mocking him, and it's on Twitter so who cares. Reid accused Romney of a felony. Isn't that defamation or something? Doesn't he now have to prove his allegations or face charges of slander? Couldn't Romney sue him, and shouldn't Reid be removed from his office? Like you said, Reid is serious.