Taylor Swift Has Become Battleground for Partisan and Fake News Publishers

The fight over her political endorsement shows how news events are used to generate partisan outrage and attention.

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Taylor Swift performs onstage during the 1989 World Tour Live in Toronto at Rogers Center on October 2, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. (George Pimentel/LP5/Getty Images for TAS)

Taylor Swift is now the focus of partisan memes and fake news after she endorsed a Democratic candidate in Tennessee through an Instagram post, in which she also encouraged her fans to register to vote.


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I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! ???

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on Oct 7, 2018 at 4:33pm PDT

Her post has caused partisan news sites and Facebook groups, and at least one fake news creator, to start trying to generate engagement and revenue through posts and memes, reports Buzzfeed News. 

One of the most shared partisan posts about Swift comes from Occupy Democrats on Facebook, which is a left-wing page. It invited fans to share the post as a thank you to the singer.

Anti-Swift memes were created by a well-known fake news publisher and shared on a page called America’s Last Line of Defense, which is run by Christopher Blair. He goes by Busta Troll and labels himself as a liberal satirist. He runs a network of Facebook pages and websites that spread hoaxes, reports Buzzfeed, which he says are aimed at fooling conservatives.

Meanwhile, right-wing Facebook pages have also been targeting the singer. The website Patriotic Express called for a Taylor Swift boycott. It generated more than 18,000 engagements, writes Buzzfeed. 

Other headlines, which Buzzfeed says received thousands of engagements, claimed, without evidence, that the singer “DESTROYED her career” or “immediately regrets it.”

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