A Review of the Most Common Roles in the Alt-Media Community
The Alt-Media Community has many ways in which its members express support for various causes and countries, but the intentions behind some of their information products are sometimes regrettably misinterpreted by their fellows, hence the need to elaborate on the most common roles that folks play.
What’s The Alt-Media Community?
The Alt-Media Community (AMC) is a general term that refers to those individuals and outlets that aren’t part of the Mainstream Media (MSM). It includes casual commentators such as the majority of its membership, independent platforms like the Centre for Research on Globalization, key influencers like some of the folks who might come to the reader’s mind when thinking about the AMC, and publicly financed platforms such as RT. It’s a cosmopolitan community that’s united around their common interest in multipolarity, which can be described as the international system that’s emerging in the wake of unipolarity’s comparative decline from the days when the US was the world’s sole superpower. As such, it’s ultra-diverse and its members don’t always share the same assessments of every cause, country, and event, but this is natural and to be encouraged.
Principles & Shortcomings
The AMC is supposed to at least in theory treasure a diversity of well-intended and respectful discourse about sensitive topics aimed at better understanding complex processes. It was never intended to function as a knockoff of the MSM in the sense of gatekeepers aggressively imposing their interpretations onto others under the pane of “exile” from the community for daring to responsibly express different views about any given issue. Regrettably, some of the most impassioned members of the AMC at times misinterpret their peers’ opinions, especially whenever these manifest themselves as information products such as analyses, interviews, journalism, published commentary, and videos. Unfortunately, they occasionally accuse those who think differently of being so-called “haters” of a certain cause or country, and in rare cases, even worse.
It’s for this reason why it’s necessary to talk about the most common types of members in the AMC. The purpose in doing so is to dispel any misperceptions about their intentions in order to hopefully prevent the unnecessary discord which threatens to divide this already loosely connected community even more. Of course, those with ulterior motives (perhaps pertaining either to ego, ideology, and/or profit with respect to soliciting more donations from wishful thinking, naive, but well-intended members of their audience) will likely still smear those who disagree with them, but the sincere members of the AMC might think twice about doing so once if they’ve come to appreciate how those who disagree with them still in spirit support the same cause and/or country as they do, albeit from a different angle.
The Importance Of Media Literacy
What follows is a concise list of the roles that each of the AMC’s many members most commonly play. It’s entirely possible for someone to play different roles at the same time, or to even switch between them. After all, that’s only natural since its members are human beings and not robots. Everyone’s entitled to their own views. All that matters is that they have positive intentions to promote multipolarity as they sincerely understand it, which can sometimes even change with time. So long as one has the proper media literacy, they should be able to easily discern the following roles. What’s most important is that folks appreciate all of the information products that their fellows produce apart from whenever this manifests itself as fake news of course, be it the creation or sharing thereof (especially whenever the latter is intentional).
* The Activist:
Activists passionately promote the causes and/or countries that they sincerely believe to be forces of good in the world. They’re the most opinionated members of the AMC and aren’t afraid to hide it. They sometimes omit certain facts in order to advance their narrative, but they presumably do this with good intentions despite it being of questionable ethics. They aim to convince others to support the same things that they do, believing that the cumulative effect of their efforts can make a noticeable difference with time. Activists tend to be very creative with their approaches and also pretty persuasive too, if at times a bit edgy, even uncomfortably so.
* The Amplifier:
Similar in essence to activists, amplifiers also feel very passionately about certain causes and/or countries, but they generally express this by mostly only amplifying the primary talking points of the latter. They’re less creative than activists but no less zealous. It’s just that they believe that their skills and time are best invested in sharing simple points – usually from official sources like publicly financed media or representatives of a particular cause and/or country – that might usually be ignored or misportrayed by the MSM. In their own humble way, they’re providing valuable information support to something that they sincerely care about.
* The Analyst:
Analysts are a bit different from activists and amplifiers. They at times partially fulfill both functions, but their information products are intended to interpret events comparatively more objectively. This sometimes results in them making constructive critiques of the causes and/or countries that they support. Nevertheless, their intentions are to responsibly raise awareness of what might be regarded by most of the AMC as so-called “politically incorrect” points that challenge narrative dogma, highlight perceived policy shortcomings, and thus ultimately improve the effectiveness of certain causes and/or countries as a result.
* The Casual Commentator:
The vast majority of the AMC is comprised of casual commentators. They’re interested in multipolarity, whether in general or only with respect to a particular topic, but aren’t passionate enough to devote their time to playing any of the community’s other roles. Still, casual commentators will sometimes donate to independent Alt-Media individuals and/or outlets as a sign of solidarity if they can afford to do so. Every other role is inspired to produce their respective work for the benefit of the casual commentator, whether to convince them to take a certain position or simply as a courtesy to inform them of an interesting interpretation.
* The Journalist:
This role is often misattributed by casual commentators to those who play other roles and even at times wrongly self-proclaimed by the latter as well. Journalists are in principle the paragon of objectivity, or at least that’s what they aspire to be. They’ll share both sides of the story, though naturally sometimes subtly expressing support for one over the other. Nevertheless, their work isn’t noticeably opinionated because such manifestations are actually activism or amplification even though those two roles sometimes describe their information products as journalism in order to make them more convincing to casual commentators.
* The Questioner:
Questioners are perhaps the most controversial members of the AMC. They’re so intrepid that they won’t shy away from asking hard questions that the casual commentator either wouldn’t ever think of or dare to say (the latter perhaps due to fear of being “exiled” by the community’s gatekeepers for defying narrative dogma). Some folks might question their motives, but no suspicion should be automatically cast on these well-intended individuals who simply seek to challenge others to better articulate their positions on certain causes and/or countries. Trolls sometimes masquerade as questioners, but the vast majority of questioners aren’t trolls.
Syria and its anti-terrorism struggle are among the top countries and causes supported by the AMC, while “Israeli” strikes against the IRGC and Hezbollah there serve as perhaps their most controversial aspect of this subject since many in the community mistakenly expected Russia to directly intervene to stop them by now. I explained why Russia won’t do this in an earlier analysis that cites 15 relevant prior pieces on the topic, as well as a follow-up one that debunked some viral fake news back in February that revived that false narrative. Both hyperlinked analyses as well as this one about the impact of those strikes on Iran’s strategic position in Syria should be reviewed by readers who aren’t already familiar with them before proceeding:
* The Activist:
The tell-tale sign of someone playing the role of an activist in this context is if they simply distract from the “taboo” subject of Russian-”Israeli” relations whenever these strikes occur. They seem to fear the effect that wider awareness of those two’s close ties in that country might have on influencing the position of casual commentators towards Russia and/or Syria, hence why it’s “verboten”. Instead, they usually seek to rally the community by repeating anti-Zionist slogans, condemning “Israel”, and praising Syria/Iran/Hezbollah. Regrettably, a few sometimes go too far and smear analysts and questioners who discuss the “forbidden” topic.
* The Amplifier:
Unlike the activist, the amplifier mostly restricts themselves to sharing official statements about the matter, especially whenever Russia occasionally condemns these strikes for violating international law. They also uncritically share reports from publicly financed Syrian media and supportive members of the AMC which usually claim that those strikes barely caused any damage, let alone casualties. Sometimes, however, subsequent facts as reported by those same sources will prove that those reports were premature. The amplifier doesn’t always update their audience, though, since they mostly only care about the first impression.
* The Analyst:
Sincere analysts, and not activists masquerading as them, confidently tackle the “taboo” by sharing “politically inconvenient” facts (including those from the official Kremlin website) confirming the closeness of Russian-”Israeli” ties. Their intention isn’t to “discredit” Russia, but to dispel the false expectations that many casual commentators have of it as a result of years’ worth of inaccurate wishful thinking reports (if not outright deliberate disinformation in some cases) from the AMC. They believe that everyone deserves to know the facts as they objectively exist, after which they’re interpreted to articulate (not necessarily endorse) Russian policy.
* The Casual Commentator:
The AMC masses nowadays seem to be divided over the manufactured controversy of whether or not Russia is secretly against “Israel”. The only reason for such confusion is because they were indoctrinated for years by false information as mentioned above and it was only recently that some of them finally became aware of the facts. Because of the sensitivity surrounding this subject, many casual commentators have a tendency to turn into activists or questioners, the first of which almost always regrettably reinforce the false narrative that Russia is secretly against “Israel” while the latter challenge others to accept the truth of Russian-”Israeli” relations.
* The Journalist:
Genuine journalism on this subject doesn’t really exist in the AMC and is either activism or analysis. That’s because the issue is so polarizing since many casual commentators were already indoctrinated into believing a false interpretation of events. As such, information products can only by default either reinforce or contradict their audience’s manufactured expectations, which respectively makes them activism or analysis. In the future, it might be possible to produce journalistic reports about the issue, but it’s much too premature to talk about that right now.
* The Questioner:
These folks are the most misunderstood and consequently reviled members of the AMC in this context. Questioners criticize the AMC’s gatekeepers for manipulating the minds of casual commentators. Their well-intended questions are oftentimes maliciously misportrayed by the most radical activists as being “evidence of Zionism” or even of one allegedly being a so-called “disinformation agent”. In reality, the only disinformation is the unprovoked and almost always unsubstantiated ad hominem attacks made against those who dare to challenge the AMC’s prevailing but nevertheless objectively false dogma that Russia is against “Israel”.
Every role played by the AMC’s many members, especially with respect to the sensitive subject of “Israeli” strikes against the IRGC and Hezbollah in Syria, is important and should be appreciated by all. Only those activists who cross the line by attacking well-intended members of the community, particularly analysts and questioners, are doing something wrong. Instead of shunning them, however, the responsible members of the community should politely make them aware of why their aggressive behavior is so unacceptable and counterproductive to the same cause and country (in this case Syria) that everyone supports in their own way. It’s one thing to constructively critique the impact (whether unintended or not) of a fellow member’s work, and another entirely to maliciously defame them. For the AMC to survive, it must learn to respect different views.
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