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Amazon’s Fake #ResistanceRadio Becomes a Real Political Battleground on Twitter

To help promote its dystopian thriller The Man in the High Castle, Amazon is touting a new radio stream called Resistance Radio on Twitter and at South by Southwest. The stream is full of melancholy ‘60s-era music and political monologues condemning Nazis and fascism. That’s because in the world of Amazon’s series, based on the novel by Philip K. Dick, the Axis powers won World War II and occupied America, where a scrappy resistance movement is taking shape.

But many listeners and observers have found parallels between Amazon’s fictional world and contemporary politics, and they’re drawing up battle lines on Twitter. Liberals and leftists are using the hashtag #resistanceradio to highlight current Trump controversies.

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Meanwhile, at least some Trump supporters seem unclear about just what Resistance Radio is, mistaking it for real radio programming with a liberal agenda.

For Trump supporters, the optics are inescapably bad—they’re criticizing resistance to (fictional) Nazis.

But not all is quite as it seems. There are several real left-wing internet or radio shows named some variation of Resistance Radio, or which were using the hashtag #resistanceradio before Amazon became involved. For instance, the radical environmental group Deep Green Resistance produces a show under the name. #ResistanceRadio has also been used on Twitter to highlight political music, often with a leftist tinge.

And Amazon’s streaming station, despite being set in a fictional 1960s, draws at least a few explicit connections to contemporary politics. For instance, on-air DJs on the stream (seemingly actors working from scripts) have made reference to “fake news” produced by their universe’s state-run Nazi media.

That could be considered a dig at pro-Trump news outlets like Breitbart. Former Breitbart head and current lead Trump adviser Steve Bannon once declared the outlet a “platform for the alt-right,” which includes white nationalist and neo-Nazi elements.

So Trump supporters aren’t entirely tilting at windmills here. At least on Twitter, #resistanceradio really is a stream of left-wing conversation, and Amazon is at least hinting at parallels between Trump supporters and Nazis. That’s not entirely surprising, considering that Amazon head (and Washington Post owner) Jeff Bezos was one of President Trump’s most persistent and powerful critics during last fall’s campaign.