Concern Trolling: Sun-Gazette Edition

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    Today’s Sun Gazette has a perfect example of what’s known as “concern trolling.” I’ll explain in a minute, but first, here’s a good definition of “concern trolling”.

    Concern trolling is a form of Internet trolling in which someone enters a discussion with claims that he or she supports the view of the discussion, but has concerns. In fact, the concern troll is opposed to the view of the discussion, and he or she uses concern trolling to sow doubt and dissent in the community of commenters or posters. Although this practice originated on the Internet, it has since spread to the real world as well, with concern trolls popping up in a variety of places from network television to op-ed columns.

    Today, the Sun Gazette – a right wing rag (endorsed George Allen and Bob McDonnell, loves Ken Cuccinelli, etc., etc.) whose business model is primarily real estate advertising – did something very close to “concern trolling” with a column entitled, “The Democratic Circular Firing Squad Reloads.” Apparently, said right-wing rag is deeply concerned with the Democratic “circular firing squad,” citing “reflexive animosity to the possibility that Brian Moran might become chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia” and also that “the lefties got all mad at U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) for a number of statements he made recently.”  

    In the case of Mark Warner, of course, the “statements he made recently” were actually one statement, equating MoveOn with the Tea Party. And yes, some of us “got all mad” (love the 3rd grade level of English by the Sun Gazette – “got all mad?”) at Warner for that. Thank goodness Warner has a right-wing Republican standing up for him, too, because certainly nobody in the progressive (note to Scott McCaffrey – love the clever quote marks around that word, subtly denigrating a proud political tradition that stretches back to Teddy Roosevelt and has brought America many of its advances, but be that as it may…) community has been doing so on his absurd false equivalency.

    As for Brian Moran and the Sun Gazette editor’s sudden concern for his welfare, it’s a bit discordant given that on most days, the Sun Gazette would probably consider Moran to be a socialist if not a communist, a crazy “environmentalist” and/or “progressive” (both in “clever” “quotes,” no doubt). Anyway, the sudden deep concern for Moran’s welfare by the Sun Gazette (should I put that in quotes? lol) is incredibly touching and all, but somewhat difficult to take seriously – like the right-wing real estate rag in general.

    Suggestion: if you want a quality news source about Arlington, check out ArlNow. On the other hand, if you want to find a property to buy or lease, definitely check out the Sun Gazette! Heh.

    P.S. This is also the “newspaper” (in quotes on purpose) that jokes about violating the firewall between advertising and news content, writing about “advertising sales representatives… being paired with either newsroom or production folks.” But that’s ok, the Sun Gazette writes, “as there is the potential of $$$ for some of us at the end, who’s complaining?”  Just keep that in mind the next time the Sun Gazette has an endorsement to make or insightful commentary to offer on the Democratic Party (or any other subject).

    • Dan Sullivan

      Who’s unhinged?

      Concern trolling or maybe just a lazy disregard for facts and their chronology; a little post-election malicious bravado.