Hating Theory: “Cultural Marxism,” “CRT,” and the Power of Media Affects

Moira Weigel


Conservative media outlets have recently turned a great deal of attention to an improbable topic: critical race theory (CRT). This article draws on historical sources and content analyses to show that recent attacks on CRT build on well-established narratives about “cultural Marxism.” It further argues that, to attach the antipathy that familiar enemies inspire to new subjects, conservative CRT experts perform hate-reading, a mode of communication that defines messengers and their audiences in contradistinction to the content they reject. Rather than an aberration, I propose that hate-reading is a longstanding communicative practice and urge disinformation scholars to attend to how specific discourses and technologies afford such media affects.


critical race theory, critical theory, conservative media, disinformation, conspiracy theory, media genres, affect, libidinal economy

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