© Reuters / Shannon Stapleton; Reuters / Jim Urquhart
The ubiquitous "Epstein didn't kill himself" meme has blue-checks and establishment backers quaking in their boots, supposedly out of fear the "far-right" might use this "dangerous" conspiracy theory as a recruiting tool.

Mainstream journalists and Democratic politicians alike stepped up their opposition to the meme this week, calling it a lure for "fascists" to recruit "anti-system people" and a "far-right conspiracy theory." "We're going to need some thought on how to combat this," one blue-check tweeted.

The "Epstein didn't kill himself" meme exploded into the mainstream on Wednesday when Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) spelled it out with the first letter in a series of 23 tweets doubling as commentary on the first day of public impeachment hearings. The meme was already popular on social media, where the phrase was inserted into unrelated videos as a punchline, and had even filtered into Fox News with the surprising ending of an interview with a man who trains military dogs.

But Gosar's tweets made it impossible for the media establishment to ignore the meme anymore. Sites like Mashable and Gizmodo did their best to pour cold water on the idea that there was anything suspicious about the circumstances of the billionaire pedophile's death in his jail cell in August, trotting out the familiar "tinfoil hat" trope in an effort to conspiracy-shame the meme out of existence even while insisting at the same time that it was just a joke and no meaning should be read into it. Mashable even included a link to a suicide prevention hotline at the end, apparently missing the point of the meme completely.

And the blue-checks picked up where they left off, clutching their pearls over the idea that "far-right" types would weaponize popular dissent via the Epstein meme and take over the country - or worse, "lure many away from real politics," where apparently conspiracies never happen. The Epstein meme is not only "dangerous," a Mediaite article declared, but it "doesn't even make any damn sense."

Some even suggested the Epstein meme was being used to distract from real conspiracies, like...Ukrainegate.

Even Democratic politicians got into the action. Disgraced former congresswoman Katie Hill, who recently resigned amid accusations of carrying on multiple adulterous relationships with men and women on her staff, slammed Gosar for "tweeting out real conspiracy theories. In an acrostic no less." Gosar shot back that Hill had taught the country the word "throuple" and referenced a regrettable tattoo of a symbol used by the Nazis, visible in nude photos of Hill leaked to Republican operatives.