An expression adapted by one of my favorite listeners/correspondents CF, sidestream media is the vast network of so-called alternative websites that are really disinformation outlets designed to take legitimate anti-establishment policy positions or skepticism of official narratives and associate them with the lunatic fringe. A perfect example of this can be observed by watching the following two Piers Morgan interviews side by side. Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt makes Piers Morgan look foolish in this discussion of gun rights (December 19, 2012). The response? To have Alex Jones on Piers Morgan make the defense of gun rights look nuts (January 7, 2013).
Sidestream media is the manifestation of a tactic whose handle has become downright hackneyed: “controlled opposition,” from Lenin’s famous quote, “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”
See also, cognitive infiltration.