Reactions to the London Bridge Attack

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I’m starting a new project looking at the response to the London Bridge attack on Stormfront, the white supremacist online forum.

I’ve collected all the posts written by group members on three posts which were centered on the theme of the attacks. Combined, this amounted to over 1,000 posts, and over 50,000 words. Collectively, the threads have so far been views over 50,000 times, which gives an impression of the amount of  traffic this site receives.

Firstly, a quick look at the frequency of non-function words.

The most frequent were as follows:

white / people / woman / men / London / man / women / police / Jews / whites / Muslims / Muslim / attack / British / Bridge / attacks / race / terrorist / Islam / children / life / problem / country / Jew / family / media / control / Trump / Jewish / Islamic

What I found most surprising when I looked at the data was that there appeared to be a a large amount of discussion related to the notion of gender, especially when it was taken into consideration that the theme of the three threads was the London Bridge attacks.

I also wanted to have a look at saliency; the follow is a list of keywords with the highest levels of keyness:

white / men / Jews / women / fat / whites / Muslims / woman / Muslim / London / Islam / Bridge / Jew / Jewish / man / terrorist / mgtow / porn / kids / Allah / attacks / immigration / terrorists / incident / males / police / child  / male / females / race

Some of the words present were really quite surprising, such as fat, mgtow (men who go their own way) and porn.

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I will study this further, but after a preliminary glance, these threads appear to be a site in which gender identities are constructed and contested.

Trump Digs Coal! An analysis of Five of Trump’s Speeches Focused on Energy.

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I collected five of Trump’s most recent speeches focusing on the environment. These are publicly available and can be downloaded from the White House website: https://www.whitehouse.gov/

For this analysis, I used two software tools. The first, Antconc, a freeware corpus analysis toolkit for concordancing and text analysis. http://www.laurenceanthony.net/software/antconc/

I also used a visualization tool LancsBox, again a freeware developed at Lancaster University, UK. http://corpora.lancs.ac.uk/lancsbox/

The corpus consisted of 5 speeches which produced just over 9,000 words in total. Firstly, I wanted to look at word frequencies. The most frequent non-function words are as follows:

energy (70), American (56), America (46), people (45), jobs (44), great (40), right (34), states (34), country (33), united (33), coal (25), world (25), Paris (24), job (21), countries (18), years (18), economic (17), wealth (17)

If I calculated the keywords, words which are salient when the corpus is compared with a corpus of general English, the following keywords are produced:

energy, jobs, American, America, coal, great, Paris, agreement, job, countries, accord, workers, gas, wealth, miners, pipeline, administration, thousands, billions

As energy is both the most frequent and most salient word, it may be insightful to look at the concordances:

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There does appear to be a focus on American energy:

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Collocates of the word energy include:

restrictions, production, new, jobs, country, job, era, world, wealth, vast, policy, offshore, independence, exports, coal, blessed, America, shale

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There appears to be a focus on American energy and the supposed restrictions the current administration faces in allowing those energy resources to be mined. According to Trump, by removing those restrictions, large amounts of wealth and jobs will be created.

Trump’s description of coal are quite interesting; he talks of clean coal, new coal, and beautiful coal:

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Throughout the five speeches, there is no focus on renewable energy or environmental protection.

It’s all about carbon energy and money.

Is this really want the world needs right now?

Fear & Hyperbole in Breitbart News

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I want to highlight some aspects of journalistic writing found on Breitbart News which uses hyperbole to create a discourse of fear, in this particular instance, fear of refugees. In the title of the article, Italy is described as being overwhelmed and in a state of collapse due to the arrival of immigrants. The picture which accompanies the article is a stock image of young men, packed into a crowd, which in itself could be deemed by some to be threatening.

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The journalist uses the phrase authentic immigrant invasion to describe the refugees arrival on the shores of the Italian coast. Obviously, invasion has many negative connotations. If you ask yourself, what things invade, the answer could be an army. An army invades and causes mass devastation to a country, as the following concordance lines show from COCA:

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Further in the article, the refugees journey from North Africa to Southern Europe is described as an exodus. The movement of a large number of people.

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Exodus: The Biblical book of Exodus describes the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, so it’s no surprise that the word has come to refer more generally to any mass departure. The word itself was adopted into English (via Latin) from Greek Exodos, which literally means “the road out.”

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The article, as is commonly the case, offers little or no sympathy for the plight of the refugees. Of the many comments which the article garnered, I will shoe just one:

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The poster offers no sympathy for the individuals involved in the crisis, but instead articulates a conspiracy theory related to a world government.

Young White America is Dying of Despair: Discourses of Victimization of White Heterosexual Men in Breitbart News

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In this post, I wanted to look how the topoi of victimization is used by Breitbart News to depict whites as victims in modern society. Firstly, there is the title of the article, “Young White America is Dying of Despair”. This is accompanied by an image containing white women holding photographs of a young white men. This creates the discourse of young white men as victims; young white men are dying in society because of despair, because of a lack of hope.

Having constructed white men as victims, the article constructs those responsible for this as follows:

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Firstly, the policies of Barack Obama are blamed for the state of American. Unrestricted progressive experimentation  is blamed for the deaths and victimization of white men. The writer then articulated what this ‘experimentation’ is. The fact that it is labelled as unrestricted would imply that it is out of control. Firstly, school as described as creating an education system in which white men are instructed to be victims, taught to hate yourself for being white and/or male. The article then describes gay rights as being a significant factor which contributes towards the victimization of the in-group, white heterosexual males. Thus heterosexuality is seen as threatened or marginalized. There is criticism of social media, lack of job opportunities, and the cost of university education, which all contribute to victimizing and targeting white heterosexual males. All of these are blamed on the policies of the Obama administration. It is also noteworthy that hard work is an activity that is deemed unworthy of reward.

 

Below is an example of one of the many responses to the article:

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One response to the article clearly articulates a racist stance. The writer describes white European men those responsible for all the advances of the modern world.

 

It is alarming that such racist ideology is part of the mainstream media.

The Construction of Fear in Breitbart News

In this post, I want to look at how Breitbart News constructs fear by using the title and image in a recent article as an example. On April 3rd, an article appeared on the Breitbart News web page describing an incident which took place in Germany, the title was as follows:

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There are various points related to the title that I found of relevance. Firstly, the location, a small town. If a violent attack takes place in a small town, if the inhabitants of a small town become victims of an act of violence, then no one is safe; we are all living under a cloud of threat and danger, and must live in the likelihood that one day, we too will be attacked. No matter who we are, or where we will, we are threatened by the violence which now is present in our societies. The fact that the small town was attacked, and not an individual, or a single property appears to indicate the scale of the violence and the seriousness of the situation.

And so, who were the attackers? ‘African, Arab Men‘! The out-group has been formed. The ‘Other’ has been constructed. It is African and Arab men who are attacking ‘Our’ small towns and villages. It is African and Arab men who we must fear and protect ourselves from. Their existence in our societies threats us, and our way of life is now under attack.

African and Arab men are thieves; they enter our towns and villages and steal our property, our tools, objects which we used to construct and build our societies and now these tools are being stolen from us and used as weapons against us and our families by African and Arab men. They are thieves and they wish to destroy us.

They terrorize us and bring terror to our local communities. We live far from the war zones of the Middle East, yet we face terror on a daily basis. We live in fear of these intruders who have entered our societies, these African and Arab men.

Who are we? We are the locals, the indigenous population. We have always lived here, this is our land, our community, we have our way of life. It is now being threatened and we live in fear of these African and Arab men.

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The picture is a stock image, not one taken from the actual scene of the event, but it certainly represents an image the writer or editor at Breitbart wishes to convey. Our small towns have become militarized zones because of the threat of the African and Arab men who now prowl our street, steal, attack and terrorize us,we, the local inhabitants.

The picture has been intentionally cropped and the police officer is literally headless. He has become a faceless militarized police officer, a man without identity who is now needed to protect us against African and Arab men.

The focus of the image is on the weapons and armory. He is wearing body armor and heavy protective gloves, but the focus is on the high-tech, semi-automatic rifle he is carrying, a weapon which is necessary to protect us and our way of life in our small town homes.

He is carrying other weapons; on his belt there is a pistol and possibly a truncheon or stun gun device; weapons which are needed, as we live in fear.

Therefore, our societies, not just our capital cities, but also our small towns, have been turned into militarized zones, our way of life is now under threat.

The editors of the Breitbart News are have a clear message they wish to convey.

They attempt to construct fear in the readership. Fear of the other. Fear of African and Arab men.

‘Terror Streams’: The Construction of Threat in Breitbart News

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In this post I want to comment on how Breitbart News has reacted to the Westminster attack which took place in London earlier this week. Firstly, there is the title of the article:

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The metaphor ‘Terror Streams’ is of interest. Metaphors of water such as floods and tides are often used in connection with the refugee crisis, but here we see another water metaphor being used, a ‘Terror Stream’. By using the concept of moving water, an unstoppable force of nature, the writer depicts the situation as something beyond our control, and the fact that the plural is used only amplifies the danger. Further, Europe is being compared with a war zone, which again, can only create a sense of danger and uncertainty.

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Europe is described as a dangerous place to be; only in a war zone would there be a greater risk of terrorist attack at this time.

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In the above extract, the US general is quoted as using the metaphor ‘threat stream’ and not ‘terror stream’, which the Breitbart News writer uses in order to heighten the sense of danger. But again, the General depicts Europe as being the most dangerous place on the planet with the exception of Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Westminster attack is the related to the refugee crisis in Europe as follows:

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Again we see a water metaphor, a ‘flow’ of refugees. Furthermore, by closely relating refugees to the Westminster attack, the writer’s stance toward immigration is clearly depicted. It must be noted that there is no evidence relating the attack to refugees, as the the assailant was a British citizen.

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The article acknowledges that the attacker was a UK citizen, but still associates this with the ‘influx of refugees’, because the government has to deal with the second situation, they are unable to respond adequately to the first. So again, refugees are responsible for the events which took place.

The article concludes with:

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Thus the atmosphere of threat and danger is predicted to continue, and, according to the writer, Europe is to remain one of the most dangerous places on the planet due to the ‘Terror Streams’ which originate from an inseparable combination of refugees and Islamic extremism.

At the time of writing this post, the article had received over 200 responses. The first response clearly reiterates the stance of the Breitbart writer:

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The political left, the political elite are blamed for the refugee crisis, which according to the writers of the above posts, is the direct cause of the recent attacks in London. The topos of threat is again very clear, as a situation of carnage and mayhem is predicted, and a total alienation from the political elite.

Therefore, the refugees fleeing war zones are depicted as a Terror Stream, and therefore a threat to European civilization.