Sunday

22nd Sep 2019

US alt-right joins Russia in anti-Macron attack

  • Macron (r) to be attacked as effeminate, elitist, and sexually deviant (Photo: leweb.net)

Right-wing US and UK media and social media users have tried to start an online “war” to stop Emmanuel Macron being elected, but with little success.

The Atlantic Council, a think tank in Washington, and Buzzfeed, a US online publication, highlighted the new campaign in the run-up to the second round of the French presidential vote on Sunday (7 May).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

With Russia already in the spotlight for anti-Macron fake news and cyber attacks, the Atlantic Council said the “English-language alt-right” was also trying to sway EU politics.

It described the alt-right movement as being “marked by nationalist, anti-Islam, and anti-globalisation sentiment” and said its supporters had in the past focused on national issues, such as the US election or the Brexit referendum.

“These [anti-Macron] efforts appear to mark a further stage in the evolution of the alt-right from a collection of largely national actors to a would-be international one”, it said.

It said the efforts began with a post on 4chan.org, an online message board, on 25 April, two days after Macron beat Marine Le Pen, a far-right candidate, in the first round of the election.

The 4chan.org post called for a “total meme war” against Macron.

“We must bombard French social media with pro-Le Pen propaganda, to remind the French who is on their side”, it said.

A meme is a catchy image or idea designed to go viral on the internet.

The post said one anti-Macron meme should be designed to appeal to centre-right French voters by suggesting he was weak on immigration and security. It said a second meme should appeal to the left by showing him as a “banker capitalist pig”.

The post linked to a UK far-right YouTube channel, The Thinkery, which gave meme-making tips.

The same day, a US alt-right publication, Liberty Blitzkrieg, ran a story that called Macron a “banker puppet” and that was replicated by seven other alt-right media.

The following day, on 26 April, alt-right accounts linked to Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands called for the creation of a “Macron Antoinette” meme on the reddit.com online message board.

The idea was to both “emasculate” Macron and to make him look elitist by reference to the old French aristocracy.

The Thinkery’s video had been viewed 144,000 times by Saturday (29 April), but the #MacronAntoinette hash tag had attracted just a handful of posts.

“These memes are unlikely to have a significant impact on the French election”, the Atlantic Council said.

Buzzfeed, in an article last week, said alt-right users of 4chan.org also tried to spread the unsubstantiated accusation that Macron was having an affair with his step-daughter, Tiphaine Auziere, but that it failed to catch on.

The alt-right memes echoed anti-Macron fake news in Russian state media in recent months.

Russian media claimed he was an agent of US bankers, that he was funded by Saudi Arabia, and that he had a gay love affair in stories spread online by Russian trolls and bots.

Some social media users who spread the 4chan.org anti-Macron memes had in the past also reposted Kremlin content.

East Stratcom, a counter-propaganda unit in the EU foreign service, has started to include stories by Breitbart, the leading US alt-right publication, in its review of Russian disinformation.

A European diplomat, who asked not to be named, also told EUobserver that US sleuths, the FBI, were investigating potential links between Breitbart and the Kremlin.

Stratcom has included Breitbart stories due to their similarity to Kremlin anti-migrant material, but did not claim they worked together.

The European diplomat said right-wing online media often echoed Russian propaganda because they had the same ideology rather than due to shady ties.

Breitbart’s London office could not be reached for comment.

Investigation

Sex and lies: Russia's EU news

France and Germany have been targeted for years with fake news and lies designed to incite sexual revulsion toward migrants and the politicians who gave them shelter.

Russia suspected of Macron hack

Likely Russian spies tried to steal email passwords from Macron's people the same way they hacked US elections, new study says.

Anti-Macron leaks try to sway French election

Thousands of documents, some likely fake, were spread by WikiLeaks as well as pro-Trump and pro-Russia social media in the final moments of the French campaign.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland: right Brexit deal is 'not yet close'
  2. UK secrecy on Brexit holds back wider EU talks
  3. Feminist mass protest in Spain after 19 murders this summer
  4. Global climate strike starts ahead of UN summit
  5. UK Brexit minister to meet Barnier on Friday
  6. Russia-Ukraine gas deal talks show 'progress'
  7. Nobel economist: Ireland 'not good EU citizen' on taxes
  8. Germany takes carbon border tax on board

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Opinion

Time to pay attention to Belarus

Belarus may be hosting the European Games, but Vladimir Putin is not playing games when it comes to Belarus' independence. The West needs to get serious as well.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Europe goes to New York This WEEK
  2. Nine EU 'commissioners' asked to clarify declarations
  3. Dismiss Italy's Salvini at your peril
  4. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  5. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  6. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  7. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  8. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us