JUST IN CASE YOU HADN'T CONSIDERED THIS
WHY KELLYANNE CONWAY'S ALTERNATE "FACTS" SCENARIO PLAYS SO WELL AMONG THE TRUMP SUPPORTERS
Since the election of Donald Trump, I’ve posted a few pieces about my personal views on how he got elected, why there will be no “coming together” around Trump and why it is that we liberals are not going to convince the Trump voters of the error of their ways. Actually, thinking, in reality. For me there is a single answer to each of these propositions and it has to do with the erosion of trust, of trust in facts and factual information. This trend, the dismissal of what is true as seen with one’s eyes, isn’t a new phenomenon but it seems to have taken on a dangerous primacy in our society most profoundly with the election of Barack Obama in 2008. You’ll recall that our current President waged a highly public and highly publicized campaign of delegitimizing Obama and his Presidency and Republicans in Congress, the Tea Party, Fox News, and all the conservative, right wing pundits and internet sites gleefully hitched a ride on Trump’s bandwagon.
Nothing illustrates this distrust of what we see in reality more perfectly than the substitution of the Administration’s “facts” about the number of people in attendance at Trump’s inauguration (thanks to Trump Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, if you can believe it) and Trump’s own substitution for a freshly baked cake of falsehoods surrounding his prior denigration of the CIA as employing Nazi tactics. (And now Trump expects to work with these guys?) We are asked to believe these baseless “facts” even though we saw with our own eyes and heard with our own ears the truth. In this case, no matter how hard Kellyanne Conway attempts to spin alternate “facts” about these two incidents, there is no denying the truth. There is no alternate set of facts. No alternate reality.
Or is there? You would know that indeed there is so long as you also know what has lately been tagged as the “alt.right” universe. It’s here in this insular world where 9-11 was done by the U.S. Government and the Sandy Hook Elementary School slaughter was a staged event. Given that these two memes (there are literally thousands of other equally ludicrous fantasies) are firmly believed by the followers of Alex Jones and other right wing conspiracy advocates, facts are simply stories made up by one side to counter the other side’s equally fact-less story. In this age of digital imagery, photo shopping, "anyone can be a news reporter" and the millions of web sites espousing every theme, every meme, every cockamamy conspiracy imaginable, this result is not all that surprising. We’ve been headed down this road for a long, long time and it looks as if our press might have finally caught onto the notion that yes, Susie, facts really do matter.
Don’t think for a moment that stupid, foolish, crazy alt.right conspiracies and false memes are harmless blatherings of the brainless with no impact on the rest of us. Case in point: Hillary Clinton. The former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State was targeted by the right wing nearly thirty years ago. Nothing that we saw or read or heard over the past year was anything that those of us who were conscious during her husband’s administration, hadn’t seen, read or heard in one form or another since the late 1990’s. She was slimed to a fare-the-well during her campaign and just like Trump’s birther movement, the press did not find it useful (read “ratings-wise”) to call out the bullshit that emerged from the alt.right sewers that populate the internet and flooded the mainstream media. The result? Even though Hillary Clinton has NEVER been charged with a crime, much less ever been convicted of one, she could not overcome the relentless falsities thrown against her by the likes of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones. Many people voted against her for this very reason: that she is a criminal. When you think about all the people at Trump’s rallies shouting “Lock Her Up” and displaying placards with the same message, what we were witnessing was the success of a fact-less, baseless, conspiratorial campaign of right wing lies against her. Just like Benghazi, none of it was real. But the fake news, the falsehoods, the "stories" did her tremendous damage so much so that it most likely caused her to lose the election. The alt.right universe is a very powerful force in our society.
Now you might think that the size of Trump’s inaugural crowd is peanuts and not worth the bits and bytes of a Politico comment, but what’s startlingly frightening is that this is the President of the United States’ Press Secretary – someone speaking for the President – making shit up. We’re not talking here about the Iran nuclear treaty or some other world shaking event of ultimate importance to the continuation of the Republic. No. We are talking about how many people showed up on the Mall to see Trump being sworn in. This is not exactly a controversy over how many nuclear missiles North Korea possesses for Christ’s sake. Yet this is pure Trump. He has exhibited the same lack of maturity and good sense during the campaign and so far it seems to be continuing. Early on Trump courted the alt.right world, the Alex Jones’s of this world, even appearing on his show. Muslims celebrating after 9-11, Mexican rapists and murderers crossing the border, illegals causing increasing crime, each of these fake “news” items has its origins on the alt.right internet. Take note, however, they are among the mildest of fantasies one will find there. But in case you did not realize just how much such “stories” have appealed to a swath of Americans who can’t accept real reasons for their plight or the problems America faces, here’s where they find solace in “stories” that provide meaning to the otherwise inexplicable.
Just like the low attendance figures at Trump’s inauguration. To Trump supporters it cannot be that folks did not show up because they don’t like Trump or don’t consider him their President. How could this be the reason? After all they elected him President. So there must be an alternate reason. And this is exactly what the President’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, provided them. Do they 100% believe that it was the press who manipulated the shots on the Mall? Maybe not. But at least this reason is much more palatable, much more acceptable and much more in line with their thinking than the real reason. Although you and I might dismiss the conspiracies, fake news, made up scandals and stories by the alt.right news reporters and pundits as idiocies of the highest order, there are a whole swath of people who don’t. A whole bunch of folks out there who actually give credence to the alternate realities these fake news mongers provide. Make no mistake about it, it’s not only that this world derailed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, they powered the election of Donald Trump.
The Kellayanne Conway clip at the top of this post? Don't forget folks, this happened on MSNBC and MSNBC is by far the leftist leaning outlet in the lamestream media and in the alt.right world they simply wanted to embarrass Kellyanne and dishonor Trump. Nothing more. Nothing less. In alt.right world there are no such things as "facts" only information used by the other side to demean, disrespect, embarrass and lie about the other side. So "making shit up" as Press Secretary Spicer and Conway did, is no big deal. It's just a part of what happens in the world. That's all there is to it.