Andrew Gauthier, BuzzFeed’s top video producer and later presidential candidate for Joseph R. Biden Jr., reflected: “His political thoughts are guided by platform metrics.” “You always think that evil will come from movie villains, and then you are like-oh no, evil can start with bad jokes and nihilism, and the positive reinforcement on various platforms encourages this behavior.
Therefore, Mr. Giornet’s story is not like a video of a lonely young man falling down a rabbit hole in his bedroom, which would poison his worldview. This is a story of a man who was rewarded for becoming a violent white nationalist, and received the attention and affirmation he clearly desired.
When he was arrested in Scottsdale, Arizona last month for spraying mace in the eyes of bodyguards, an officer reported that Mr. Giornet “told me that he was a ‘Influential people’ and have a large following on social media,” he said. Report to the police. A Scottsdale police spokesperson said he was released under his own identity and is awaiting trial. Nevertheless, at the Capitol, he shouted “ACAF”-all police officers are friends.
His story makes me wonder what should be blamed for those who should be the first to use social media to provide information. Did we and the creators of these platforms help open the Pandora box?
I did not work directly with Mr. Giornet. But in 2012, I did hire a writer named Benny Johnson, who is cultivating a voice that blends social media savvy and right-wing politics. I think his politics at the time was very conservative, which was wrong. I imagine him thriving like what generations have done in mainstream newsrooms, where they shared their colleagues’ interest in finding common facts.
I slowly realized that his interests were not like news, or even ideological. Although they were aesthetic, they were excited about the image of raw power. In accordance with the tradition of authoritarian propagandists, he was awed by the neoclassical architecture, guns and later the crowd of Donald Trump. Moreover, after we fired him for stealing him in 2014, he continued to lead the content group of Mr. Trump’s youth gang “Turning Point USA” and hosted a show on Newsmax. Last week, he was cheering to try to overthrow the election (although he withdrew the election when the violence began and later blamed it on the left). He also sold his “viral political storytelling” skills he collaborated on on BuzzFeed to a new generation of new right-wing figures, such as representative Lauren Boebert, who vowed to put his pistol into Congress work And won the attention. (Neither Mr. Gionet nor Mr. Johnson responded to email inquiries.)