A recent piece in The Hill claims that there is. What’s more, it claims that the so-called “alt-left” is waging a “cyber-jihad against Trump and his supporters.”
As evidence, the author points to the protests and incidents of violence at U.C. Berkeley, where Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos was to speak. That speaking engagement was cancelled as a result. The author also points to a personal experience of being criticized by a Georgetown professor for voting for Trump. She points to a few Twitter accounts and associated tweets by anarchist organizations. She even claims that data from a “cyber intelligence” company points to anarchists as the source of the #ShutDownMilo hashtag.
I do not find the evidence presented in this point to be particularly convincing in proving the main claims, which are 1) that an “alt-left” similar to the Alt-Right exists and 2) that it is waging anything like a “cyber Jihad.” One protest, some personal hurt feelings, a few anarchist sh-t posters on Twitter, and some claimed “cyber intelligence” that is never actually presented does not an “alt-left cyber Jihad” make.
A search of Google News for the term reveals few mentions of the term prior to the fall of last year. A closer look indicates that if there is an “alt-left” at all, it seems to actually be a creation/variation of the Alt-Right. There is an AltLeft.com website, in fact. But it bills itself as “The left wing of the AltRight.”
An article at International Business Times noted the conservative origins of the term “alt-left” back in December, saying
Unlike the alt-right, there aren’t many folks calling themselves a part of the alt-left. It’s a term in direct response to the attention placed on the alt-right, a group with whom many Republicans would rather not be associated. In a move seemingly aimed at countering the bad press the alt-right brings, members of the GOP and others have taken to labeling Democrats “alt-left” if they consider them extremely liberal.
The term originated with alt-right sites like World Net Daily, migrated to Fox News’ Sean Hannity and eventually landed with the president-elect himself.
Indeed, in just the last week, Fox News ran a story reporting, “Anti-Trump graffiti spree a sign of emerging alt-left, liberal activist says.” Another recent Fox News story called nation-wide anti-Trump protests “the Alt-Left’s March of Folly.”
The tactic here seems pretty clear. Instead of addressing widespread and growing criticism of President Trump, create a straw-man adversary and rhetorically link that adversary to terrorism through the use of the word “Jihad,” which is only more frightening when preceded by “cyber.” Welcome to AltReality.