“Trolling is a key part of the conservative-entertainment/media business model,” she said. “These guys say stuff all the time that they do not intend to be persuasive. They’re not trying to explain something, or bring people along to their way of thinking, they’re just doing something to attract attention, and hopefully condemnation and outrage from the mainstream, and particularly from liberals. They want to offend you. They seek to offend you. That is the point.”
Maddow said that “trolling” was a “tried and true schtick” for conservatives. Not just for media figures, but for politicians as well. She described Rep. Steve King (R-IA) as a “permanent troll.”
The new ad released by the National Rifle Association was a prime example of trolling, according to Maddow. The controversial ad said that President Barack Obama was an “elitist hypocrite” for having the Secret Service guard his two daughters while being skeptical that placing armed guards in schools was the only answer to mass shootings.
“Trolls have a purpose in our politics,” Maddow said. “They help niche, unpopular positions and people fund themselves and promote themselves as pseudo-political actors by tricking people who ought to know better into punching down at them.”
The liberal MSNBC host said that the NRA’s “trolling” was proof of their political impotence. She noted that only 0.83 percent of the $10,536,106 spent by the NRA in the 2012 elections ended up achieving the desired result.