JUST THE FACTS MAN!
WHY WE ARE IN SUCH DEEP SHIT TROUBLE
We’ve all had a good laugh over the Bowling Green Terrorist Massacre that never happened that Assistant Chief White House Propagandist, Kellyanne Conway, somehow managed to conflate from the arrest of two Iraqi refugees in Kentucky a couple of years ago.
But, of course, this reliance on Alternate Sets of Facts or Fake News or Made Up Shit is really quite un-funny. As I noted in a previous post, it’s for these reasons – and they are all the very same reason – that Trump got elected. Just out from the starting gate in one statement Trump pushed the lie (made up shit) that: 1) illegal Mexicans were responsible for our immigration problems; 2) the Mexican government itself was sending murderers, thugs and rapists across the border; 3) illegal Mexicans were pouring over our southern border; and 4) illegal immigrants were taking all those good paying jobs that should be going to hard working White Americans. Every single one of these statements is simply false. They are not and cannot be backed up with anything even remotely resembling factual information or data. In fact. All three are just outright lies. Sure, call them misstatements (a popular term in the first two weeks of the Trump Administration) if you like or maybe just a bit of electioneering hyperbole if you like as well. Me? I’ll just call them lies. But there is no question that from the moment he announced the building of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, Trump was off and running and keying into a new and fast growing part of the American public, the Fake News Believers. (FNB’s.)
Below is a post from my Facebook page I made yesterday:
I Have "Friended" a Facebook feed called “Right Wing News” just to keep abreast of what's going on in Alternate Set of Facts world. Yesterday's headlines: "Charges Imminent In Comet Pizza Pedophile Case." Fake news, of course. But what followed were hundreds of posts declaring that finally child molester & rapist Hillary Clinton would go to jail, that finally justice was being done, that finally the vile child molester John Podesta would be thrown in jail and other less savory comments. If you recall however, the original Comet Pizzagate creative news story was totally trashed a couple of days after the "news" appeared but not until after that guy drove up from NC and fired off a couple of rounds just to……Well, I don’t know what he was trying to do. I suspect that it's probably his pending charges that might have made the real news and then generated this fake news. So just keep in mind that this is what we're facing. After all this time, after this fake news – and I mean totally made up bullshit news – has been thoroughly debunked and shown to be totally false, there are still people – and apparently a lot of them – who still believe that the Comet Pizza Restaurant in Tenley Town, Washington, D.C. was and is a center for a pedophile ring involving Hillary Clinton. This is how and why Trump was elected President as sad or terrifying as this may sound.
But to continue:
A few hours later received this from a Right Wing News fan by the name of Connie:
Connie Paul: Scott Sorg as soon as Jeff Sessions is sworn in there will be about 70 or more arrests for pedophilia in the government. Pelosi, mCCain, Hillary, schumer and more. They are Satanist. Make fun all you want it will all be out in the open soon. Word is Bill is telling all about Hillary. She tried to go to Baharain because she couldn't be extradicted. FBI is holding her here in USA.
I hate to say this but this is the third exchange with this person. Just nuts.
And by the way, every single one of the dozens of right wing “news” sites say exactly the same thing about this latest Pizzagate pedophile scandal Obviously it has come from a single source.
As far as the “Right Wing News” site, virtually every single post, every single article, is either totally batshit false as this one was or provides some weird slant on a real news story that’s just so whacked as to be no better than a completely fictitious one. But my example above is not unusual. There were several more folks who chimed in on my posts and replies and all were highly dismissive of my conclusions that the article as well as the totally made up child molestation ring crap were simply fake news. I have run into this phenomenon many times in the past. You reach a point after trying a variety of approaches – logic, flattery, friendly persuasion, using facts (never works!) – where you simply run into an impenetrable wall (Much like Trump’s Mexican wall that Mexico is paying for!) that simply cannot be breached. In the years that I have done battle with the on line right wingers, I have never been successful in changing a single person’s mind.
This is, in my view, is our biggest problem. There are too many folks living in America today who weren’t around when Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite were trusted by Americans for their honest reporting. That age has been obliterated by the thousands of cable and internet “news operations” that spew out half-truths, distortions, fake news and outright lies every single day. The people who believe in this junk? I don’t know what to say about them except for the fact that in my experience they simply will not (or maybe it’s cannot) accept facts and truth even when, like in the case of the Comet Pizza Child Molestation Ring, the “news” is undeniably false, whacked out bullshit. For some reason, which is unknown to me, they want to or have to believe that Hillary Clinton is a child molester. Perhaps it’s because in their cocoon of rationalizations for the most atrocious of events – ISIS beheadings on YouTube, the Dylann Roof and Pulse nightclub slaughters – they somehow can’t accept the premise that sometimes people actually perpetrate truly inhuman and unbelievable atrocities. They think that there must be a reason. There must be an explanation. There must be something that makes sense other than the cold, hard truth. Often it’s that they are insane. But we’re not talking about mass murderers here. I think they find comfort in these fake memes because otherwise they feel as if they too are vulnerable to these kinds of horrific, illogical and irrational acts that are perpetrated every single day. This is the very reason that Trump’s Muslim ban is so popular among them – they think the danger from being killed by a terrorist is a reality in their lives. Yes, well so is a piano falling on their heads from a fifth story window.
And that’s very sad. But whatever the reasons, we find ourselves in a very treacherous place today as a result of this substitution of facts and data for fakeness, mis- and disinformation. Trump’s campaign was keyed into this phenomenon and his actions during his first two weeks show that he understands how to use his base’s mistrust and rejection of mainstream news and factual information for his benefit but to our detriment. His Muslim ban is simply a reflection of what his supporters believe and I have to say a much too large portion of the American populace. I suspect that after these chaotic first two weeks, both Bannon and Trump are going to be reeled back in a bit. After all, Trump is shredding some very strong, old timey, bedrock Republican principles like free trade. Yet Trump’s reality show presidency has allowed Paul Ryan and the other “If you rely on pubic assistance you are just lazy” conservative cabal in Congress to finally see a way of getting what they have wanted for years. This is true with the repeal of the ACA and with the shredding of the Dodd-Frank protections against Wall Street greed.
I posted a few videos yesterday that basically mock Trump voters. I did so not in a vengeful vein, but to show you just how whacked and perverted are the views, beliefs and “truths” of way too many of these folks. If you ‘ve seen them, you know that these folks aren’t kidding. They firmly and strongly believe the bullshit that is leaving their mouths. I firmly believe that it is because of this jettisoning of facts, data and real information that Trump was able to win the election. His supporters are still gleeful over the chaos he has caused since it proves to them that he is serious about shaking things up and smashing the liberal, effete, elitist establishment. It’s why years ago I came to the conclusion that there was no way to convince these folks that they were wrong. That they were engaging in thought processes that are fundamentally flawed. And by continuing to accept the fakery and disinformation they were actually endangering the entire country.
The rise, or more accurately, the invasion of the public realm of right wing, alt.right, radical conservative fake news site is not benign. While the guy who drove up from North Carolina armed with a couple of guns to take out the pedophiles at the Comet Pizza joint was unsuccessful, it is not exactly comforting to note that he believed that there actually was a pedophile ring operating out of the restaurant’s basement with tunnels connecting to adjacent basements. Comet Pizza, by the way, has no basement. Nor is it a comfort to know that Dylann Roof was reacting to very common right wing fake news theme of a Back Power race war and takeover of America by armed Black Panthers when he killed nine Black parishioners at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. No. The alt.right, fake news, radical right wing “news” operations are not benign. They are dangerous. Trump’s Muslim ban is only one in a long series of actions that have given credence and support to fake news and conspiracy theories and I suspect there will be many more to come from this President and his team.
As a kid, I recall seeing giant billboards along highways down South imploring “IMPEACH EARL WARREN!” Earl Warren was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1953 until 1969. The Warren Court was instrumental in demolishing institutional discrimination and racism with their Brown vs. Board of Education, Loving vs. Virginia and a whole host of other rulings that the South found abhorrent. Conspiracy? The South thought so but not the rest of us. The news reports of the time applauded the Court’s decisions but then we only had three or four news outlets and Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in America.
I can only recall two bonafide conspiracies while I was growing up. One was that the United States had been invaded by space aliens, i.e. visitors from outer space and not raping Mexicans, and that the U.S. Government (natch!) was hiding the evidence (corpses and UFO’s) down in Area 51 in the Nevada Desert. There was a huge amount of publicity attached to this one, particularly in the National Enquirer and other grocery store tabloids. Not a whole lot of folks, me included, gave much credence to these stories even though they were plentiful and went on for years.
The second conspiracy theory I recall was over the Kennedy assassination. These alternate conspiracy stories emerged within weeks of his death and are still around today. This one, I think, probably fits the model that I’ve outlined above – an act so despicable, so irrational, illogical and unthinkable that folks need to have some “reason” why such acts happen when the cold, bare facts simply provide no comfort.
Where do we go from here to rescue the nation from all of this chaos?
While we must continue to resist, continue to protest, the short-term counterweight to Trump’s craziness is the courts. Donate to the ACLU and other civil rights organizations that pursue these kinds of matters. In the short term, also, we must investigate, reveal and expose fake news for what it is. We must insist that facts matter and call out those who traffic in false facts and fake news. But over the longer term it is only by voting out not only Trump, but all of the Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures who have degraded, diminished and insulted America for years. This is the only way that we will have any chance of restoring America to collective sanity. Don’t forget that the Planned Parenthood defunding movement in the Congress of the United States was prompted by fake news. The Trump supporters? They will not get it. Ever. They will come to the 2018 elections and no matter how much Trump has damaged them and the country, they will return all the destructive Republicans to Congress and to their state legislatures. This is where our real fight lies. This is what we must concentrate on. We must ensure that Karl Rove’s goal of perpetual Republican rule is at long last smashed to bits.
Oh, and keep an eye out for impeachable offenses!
And There You Have My Thoughts For Today!
PS: It’s kind of stunning the number of promises that Trump made to his supporters that he’s already broken in only two weeks!