Pretty cool op/ed...^^^warning^^^ it's the WaPo...so those who indulge in tin foil hats might want to button up! Anatomy of a ‘smear’: How John Bolton became a target of the pro-Trump Internet Describes a phenom we here see in action all the time---how do you feel about it? A brief quote: "The attacks, which unfolded vividly in the 24 hours after it became clear Bolton had potentially damaging information to share, crescendoed on conservative podcasts and cable television, as individual catchphrases — such as “Book Deal Bolton” — gained currency across the far-right firmament. By Tuesday, they offered a case study in how the pro-Trump Internet targets a perceived enemy, even an archconservative and war hawk. The vilification of Bolton — branding him as a traitor and member of the “deep state,” a reference to a conspiracy theory favored by the president that a shadow government is working to thwart him — made use of misleading text as well as eye-catching memes. It moved from anonymous Twitter accounts with a few dozen followers to prime-time hosts on Fox News with an audience of hundreds of thousands. Finally, it made its way to Capitol Hill, when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday described the eyewitness to activity at the heart of the president’s impeachment trial as a “disgruntled, fired employee who now has a motive, a multimillion-dollar motive, to inflame the situation.” "Trump himself echoed some of the attacks Monday when he retweeted a post from Lou Dobbs of the Fox Business Network calling Bolton a “Rejected Neocon” and the “Deep State’s Last Desperate Act.” That move, experts say, showcased how personal insults driven by online conspiracy theories — which Trump harnessed on his path to the presidency — remain fundamental to his hold on his base."