MAGA Meme-Makers Centralize Their Efforts

Logan Cook, best known by his online persona "Carpe Donktum," and family visit with President Trump in the Oval Office in a photo uploaded to Twitter on July 4. (Screenshot / Twitter)

A collection of pro-Trump internet meme-makers has joined forces to contribute to a website that will house their creations without relying on social media. The effort, which they’re calling “Meme World,” is spearheaded by ​Logan Cook, a favorite “memesmith” of the president.

Right Wing Watch spoke with the creator of the site via Twitter direct message to better understand the vision inspiring the newfound effort.

Trump supporters ​active on social media have often claimed that the creation and distribution of pro-Trump memes across ​platforms such as Facebook and Reddit was a major ​factor ​in Trump’s ​2016 election, and it appears that the White House at least somewhat agrees with that theory. In July, the Trump administration invited a crew of pro-Trump social media notables to the White House for its Social Media Summit event.

Three people currently listed on Meme World’s masthead, Cook (a.k.a. “Carpe Donktum”), conspiracy theorist Mark Dice, and pro-Trump cartoonist Ben Garrison, recently received invitations to visit the White House. In July, Cook ​got face time with President Trump in the Oval Office, where Trump described him as a “genius.” Dice was present at the White House​ Social Media Summit in July, ​to which Garrison was also invited until his invitation was revoked after ​an uproar over the anti-Semitic content of one of his cartoons​.

Cook told Right Wing Watch that he was working with others “behind the scenes” on the site at the time, he didn’t discuss it while visiting the White House.

The trio of meme-making notables are accompanied on the site by contributors who operate under pseudonyms such as Something Wicked, Brick Suit, Big Game Productions, Devil’s Advocate, and Mad Liberals. Many of the meme-creators joining the site were ​among the most active on Reddit’s pro-Trump subforum, which Reddit moderators put in quarantine earlier this year after moderators failed to remove posts supporting violence against perceived political enemies—something that Cook said inspired him to go forward with the idea for the site.

“Before then, the shadow of censorship was always looming, but it wasn’t until the Quarantine that it became a real threat,” Cook told Right Wing Watch. ​Cook’s capitalization of the word “Quarantine” speaks to the significance of Reddit’s restrictions of the subforum among his confederates.

Meme World’s pitch is to act as a place on the web where contributors who are making pro-Trump memes can ​post their creations without the fear of a social media platform removing the content. Some of the aforementioned meme-creators have had their memes struck down on social media because they have included copyrighted materials; a video Cook made after this year’s State of the Union address shared ​on Twitter by Trump was ultimately removed because it used​, without permission, the R.E.M. song “Everybody Hurts.”

But in the pro-Trump blogosphere, the creators and their allies claim that they’re simply evading online “censorship” ​of conservative ​speech. (Data show​ that conservative content largely outperforms liberal content on social media.) Cook insists that while DCMA has indeed played a “large role in censorship,” the current copyright enforcement system on social media websites is subject to user abuse and that other ranking and content-flagging features on social media have hindered the ​potential virality of some contributor​s​’ creations.

Cook told The New York Times earlier this year that many of his memes are tailored for older audiences because “that brand of humor is most easily shareable by lots of people.” That ​strategy has resulted in viral success within ​online conservative circles in the past, and many Meme World contributors appear to operate with a similar philosophy.

“Memes will be an important part of keeping energy high through the long road to 2020​,” Cook wrote in response to our query. “I see them much as I did in 2016; I think there are more established creators now than there were then, and perhaps they are higher quality, but not a lot has changed at its core,” ​he added.