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Fake News, Part 2 – What’s to be Done?

In my previous post I discussed the main stream media’s complicity in the evolution of “fake news”. In this essay I answer what should be done about it. My answer: absolutely nothing. 

I suppose I should rephrase that. What should be done is ensuring that after the 10 to 16 years that the average American attends school, they are able to tell the difference between reality and fantasy. Let me be frank. Anyone who believes the Sandy Hook massacre never happened or that Hillary Clinton ran a child trafficking ring out of the basement of a pizzeria that had no basement, is a friggin idiot. And let’s be clear: that exemplifies fake news. 

Saying Hillary Clinton endangered national security with a rogue email server is NOT fake news. At worst, it’s partisan opinion but it ain’t fake. Saying Debbie Wasserman Schultz was corrupt as hell isn’t fake news. The fact we learned this from hacked email doesn’t make it fake. 

And that brings me back to my original prescription of doing absolutely nothing. Those who monitor what goes on the internet have no obligation to protect idiots from themselves. Any attempt to do so starts us down a very slippery slope from censoring the totally fabricated (pizza-gate) to censoring information that exposes corruption simply because we don’t like the source of said information. 

Facebook is contemplating a plan to run “news” through a fact checker like Politifact. Problem is many so called fact checkers lean liberal. 

So we’re back where we started. Stop worrying about the purveyors of fake news and start worrying about the consumers. If we’ve got a country full of idiots who believe everything their crazy uncle sends them then Vladimir Putin is the least of our problems. 

What do you think? The bar is open. 

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Let’s Talk Birther

Let me start by saying I am not nor have ever been a birther. With that said there’s a good deal of intellectual dishonesty surrounding coverage of this issue. 

Who Started It

The only TV pundit who has hit the origins of birtherism head on has been MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. Not only did he acknowledge that the movement started in 2008 among Clinton supporters, he went so far as to say this weakens Hillary’s ability to attack Trump on the subject. 

The protests that the Clinton “campaign” did not start birtherism is a distinction without a difference. A low level staffer in Iowa pushed it (and was fired), Clinton strategist Mark Penn toyed with it, and Clinton best bud Sid Blumenthal outright said Obama was born in Kenya. I found no record of Hillary herself actively denouncing it. Furthermore, Hillary famously hinted in a “60 Minutes” interview that Obama might be Muslim – he’s a Christian “as far as I know”. 

Hillary needs to let the media fight this on her behalf and just shut up. Her hands are not clean. 

Chris Matthews Nutty Argument Against Birtherism 

Of all the pundits outraged by Donald’s birther nonsense, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews makes the nuttiest argument by putting preposterous logic behind birtherism that was never there in the first place.  According to Matthews, birthers propose that Ann Dunham gave birth to Barack in Kenya and then conspired to have his birthplace changed to Hawaii so that he could one day run for President some 4 decades later. He goes on to note how utterly ludicrous this is. He’s right. It is ludicrous but it’s ludicrous on HIS part. The central premise of birtherism places no guilt on Ann Dunham, nor does it suggest she had Presidential aspirations for her son way back in 1961.  This is made up out of whole cloth by Matthews himself. 

Birtherism is Racist

This assertion is debatable and I’d like to suggest an alternative. If Jesse Jackson or Jim Clyburn had become President, I seriously doubt anyone would have questioned their birthplace. They have the slave-ancestry identity of many blacks in America. Popular wisdom says that Obama got targeted as the first black President. But Obama was also the first Hawaiian President, born there only shortly after Hawaii’s admission to the US. He was also the first President who spent a lot of his youth outside the US (Indonesia, specifically). So to claim the only thing “different” about Obama was his race is just plain dishonest. 

None of this gets The Donald off the hook for perpetuating this foolishness. I don’t think he’s racist. I think he’s an opportinistic attention whore and birtherism would get him clicks and retweets. I actually found his “backwards extortion” of Obama a few years ago far more offensive. In that incident, Trump offered to donate to the charity of Obama’s choice if Obama produced his college records. Essentially he set up a ransom scenario where the kidnapped baby was a charitable donation. Shame this wasn’t illegal cos I’d have thrown Trumps orange ass right in jail for it. 

Bottom line: birtherism was an ugly mess where no one has clean hands. Drop it and move onto the more pressing issue – our choice between a corrupt liar and a reality TV star. Reject both and VOTE JOHNSON! 

What do you think?  The bar is open. 

Question-Guy

Let’s Argue the Hypothetical

MSNBC truly crossed the Rubicon this week.

In South Carolina, after what should have been a routine traffic stop, a white policeman shot a middle aged black man in the back as he was running away. He fired at the man eight times, hitting him at least five. Our best guess is that prior to this, the two men had scuffled and the cop’s Taser was used. Scott, the middle aged black man, may have tried to grab the Taser. The whole circumstance might have actually gone in the cop’s favor had he not picked up the dropped Taser, yards from the dead suspect, and then dropped (planted) it next to the man’s body.

As luck would have it, a young man walking by caught most of the relevant stuff on video and handed it over to the police. Officer Slager was fired and arrested and charged with murder. Justice served, case closed, right?

Wrong!! Since we can’t get into a huge racist conspiracy stew over what happened, MSNBC (and no doubt other liberal outlets) are getting into a stew over what MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED! Yes folks, the TV is now full of 24 hour conjecture on what might have happened if the video had not come to light. Chris Hayes, who is rapidly becoming a white version of Al Sharpton, rushed down to SC to provide on the ground coverage, backed by MSNBC resident race-baiter and former daytime hostess Joy Reid. At this point, I wouldn’t put it past these pot-stirrers to inspire a riot down there. The rallying cry would be “you didn’t act racist but that’s only cos you got caught on tape. You’re really racist.”

Is it any wonder we have crumbling roads and bridges, thousands born out of wedlock into poverty with little hope of achievement and a dying middle class? We waste our precious time and resources on utter foolishness.

WITH THAT SAID

SC Representative Jim Clyburn has said some slightly nutty stuff over the past 48 hours but I heard one thing from him that did make sense. He wants young folks to have their cell phones with them and at the ready to video anything cockeyed going on with the police. Until cop-cams become mandatory across the country, I do believe it is in the best interests of the citizenry to have their own cam at the ready — and for cops to know they’re never really alone with their suspect, as Slager seemed to think he was.

What do you think? The bar is open.