Jobs not mobs – usually stylized as #JobsNotMobs – has become a popular campaign slogan this fall, so much so that the New York Times has moved to discredit it.
The Times published a story Sunday tracing the history of #JobsNotMobs that characterized the slogan as the product of the fetid underworld of bigoted right-wing Internet trolls.
“Since President Trump’s election, his loyalists only have provided him with a steady stream of provocative posts and shareable memes, often filtered up from platforms like Reddit through media channels like Fox News,” wrote Keith Collins and Kevin Roose in the lead of “Tracing a Meme From the Internet’s Fringe to Republican Slogan.”
“In return, Mr. Trump has championed many of their messages as his own, amplifying them back to his larger base.
“This feedback loop is how #JobsNotMobs came to be. In less than two weeks, the three-word phrase expanded from corners of the right-wing internet onto some of the most prominent political stages in the country, days before the midterm elections.”
The phrase gained acceptance in mid-October, the New York Times reported, after a video produced by the Washington Free Beacon set the terms of the argument.
The video opens with Brooke Baldwin of CNN saying to conservative Matt Lewis: “You’re not going to use the mob word here, are you?” Lewis responds: “Oh, yes, I am.”
The rest of the video is scenes of guests and hosts on various programs on CNN and MSNBC saying, “They are protesting. They are not an angry mob;” “This kind of radicalized mob language. This kind of Nixonian law and order language that we’re hearing” and “Republicans are running on the idea that the left is this angry mob,” interspersed with clips of protests during the Kavanaugh hearings and on the streets.
It concludes with Jim Acosta of CNN being interviewed by Baldwin. “The president is trying to go too far with some of this rhetoric,” Acosta says … “With all this mob rule and so on. I mean, Brooke, have you been to a Trump rally?”
The Times says “The ‘mob’ description is rooted in the right-wing talking point that Republicans are the rational alternatives to violent left-wing protesters, like the so-called anti-fascists who clashed with far-right groups last year.”
It goes on to say, “The ‘jobs’ part of the phrase refers to the record low unemployment and job growth in the United States, for which Mr. Trump has taken credit.”
A big moment in the effort to take the slogan mainstream occurred, the authors said, when Scott Adams, who created the “Dilbert” comic strip, tweeted: “’Mobs,’ by itself, doesn’t work. But “Jobs Not Mobs’ is brain glue plus framing and contrast. Science says the brain interprets rhymes as persuasive.”
The Times wrote that a screenshot of the tweet was posted to Reddit, “followed by a meme with the phrase laid over an image of factory workers at the top and violent protest at the bottom.”
The piece later claims the meme was created by someone with the pen name “Bryan Machiavelli,” who “charges $200 an hour for is ‘memetic warfare consulting’ services.”
From there, it was “pushed a series of increasingly prominent conservatives who have often railed against anti-fascist protesters.”
On Oct. 18, President Trump tweeted: “#JobsNotMobs!” and “Reddit erupted with glee.”
Two days later, the meme was in full circulation, the Times lamented. “With this meme, the far-right Internet had found an opening for a new Republican talking point, molding it into a compact slogan and seeding it with the most powerful conservatives in the country.”
This was a sidebar to an article in which the same authors said, “Trump and his allies have waged a fear-based campaign to drive Republican voters to the polls for the midterm elections on Tuesday” and that “far-right internet communities have been buoyed as their once-fringe views have been given oxygen by prominent Republicans.”