The growth of social media has enabled the phenomenon of trial without due process, something that was previously the domain of extremist newspapers. It has become possible to engineer the dismissal of an individual, their public humiliation, or create a lasting presumption of guilt without them ever having broken any laws, and without the tedious and expensive due process required by law.

Trump realised that this approach was even more powerful when communications were one way – as with his twitter account.

The key components for an attack are (a) followers, either on social media or in newsprint / TV, (b) ‘boo’ words or people, especially those which / who invoke irrational hate (“lock her up!”), and (c) the act of connecting the target via (a) to (b).

The word ‘link’ is a particular favourite, and incredibly powerful with stupid people as recipients e.g. a significant fraction of Trump followers. “He has been linked to …” e.g. (for right wing supremacists ) ‘boo’ people such as Soros, Chavez, Bernie Sanders etc. Mad Trump lawyer Sidney Powell managed to bring in Marxists, China, Jews into a common pot conflated by the words “linked to…”

Trump and his sycophants liked to ‘link’ Joe Biden to his son, and then to some unspecified activity in Ukraine. Ironically, there was a much stronger (and physical) ‘link’, though denied by Trump, between him and Stormy Daniels, viz his dick.

Linking people in this manner is based on the hypothesis of “six degrees of separation”, sometimes called the “Bacon Number” . Essentially, in some given grouping – entertainment, politics – one person can be linked via known associations to any other person in the set in less than 6 hops; the popular web group LinkedIn is based on this concept. So it’s easy to be able to suggest that X is ‘linked” to a ‘boo’ person such as Soros, or more or less anybody in some specific field. Matt Hancock (Health Secretary), and who Grumpy has never met, is a second level connection to Grumpy in LinkedIn. In the event of Grumpy losing it and pinching the bottom of a till girl in Tesco, the Daily Mail would doubtless be able to print “Pervert Grumpy, who is linked to Minister Matt Hancock..” Grumpy noted that Boris, PM is a third level connection. The stats show just how baseless “links” can be.

Apart from the political uses of the “linking” ploy and the serious issues arising of usurping democracy, it is the favourite ploy for creating media coverage by largely non-entity “celebs” accusing some sad middle aged executive of pinching their butt. They get 5 minutes of fame and revenge, at negative cost since they probably get paid by the newspaper or their Instagram account gets more traffic.

As Grumpy has opined before, trail by social media without due process is setting a dangerous trend, with a whole range of consequences. Either an offence was committed or it was not, and the arbiter of that is the law, not the Daly Mail or some indifferent looking “influencer” seeking to earn a living doing not very much whilst breaking COVID rules in Dubai.

Aside : On the topic of social media and celeb press like the Daily Mail, why is every cast member of some minor TV series called a “star”? The word used to be reserved for the top two or three names in, for a example, a film, not some walk on bit player. {dictionary check time : “star is a principal performer”} ]

Se also, on pseudo-justice without due process ;