When Democrats lose big, one thing is for sure—the pitchforks and hangin’ ropes are coming out. Using lynchings to deal with defeat is as old as, well, how old is the Democratic Party? And so it is now. The Dems were pantsed by a vulgar, obnoxious, politically inexperienced reality-show pussygrabber. They lost the thing they were “sure” to win. So somebody’s gotta swing. The only question is, who?
Of course, it’s not just going to be one person. Expect strange fruit to be this winter’s bumper crop, because the Democrats are only beginning their search for a scapegoat. They can’t blame Hillary. No, not after pushing the line that criticism of Hillary is pure-grain misogyny. Huma? Not likely; blaming her is Islamophobic! Comey? Yeah, to a point. Comey might make a decent goat on paper, but it’s impossible to bring him up without reminding the public of the email scandal, and Dems certainly don’t want to keep that in the headlines.
There will be time aplenty for the sore-assed Dems to come up with more suitable scapegoats, but at the moment, there is a sense of urgency, because the left’s blood is up, and a good lynching always requires frenzy. As I wrote on my site following my own metaphorical lynching in 2013, “The enemy of a good lynching is introspection. The lyncher’s motto is, ‘allow your adrenaline and righteous anger to guide you.’” So, bottom line, someone’s gotta pay now. Facebook is filled with weepy leftists looking for somebody or something to retaliate against, and as much as they may want, first and foremost, to hit back at Trump himself, the Big Man has made it quite clear—pretty much from the start of election season—that he is unmoved by the tears of his adversaries.
So, who is the devil du jour? Who’s to blame for the fact that the expected win unexpectedly failed to materialize? Well, the mainstream media has found the culprit, and it is (and here’s where you can visualize the Scooby-Doo gang pulling the mask from the “Creature From the Haunted Amusement Park”)...fake news sites! Yes, the left is claiming that fake news is what tipped the scales on Election Day. As summarized by Nancy Scola at Politico:
Critics on the left say false headlines on Facebook harmed Hillary Clinton and helped swing the election to Donald Trump. One fake news story titled “FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead” from sources like The Denver Guardian, The Free Patriot and Red Flag News circulated on the social network prior to the election. Another, under the headline “Michelle Obama Deletes Hillary Clinton From Twitter,” was picked up by conservative radio host Sean Hannity, who later apologized for spreading the lie.
In response to the existential threat posed by fake news sites, Democrats have pledged to take action!
The Clinton campaign’s chief digital strategist [Teddy Goff] on Monday blamed Facebook for enabling the spread of misinformation about the Democratic nominee—and said Democrats in and out of government have been looking at how to tackle the “big problem” of fake news on the social network…. “This is something we were very aware of, saw zero percent chance Facebook was going to be compliant or work with us during the election, but wanted to take on post-election.” Goff declined to shed light on the strategy he says is in the works, other than to say that it would target “one or two people” at the company, including Zuckerberg.
Go get ’em, Klancy. Hang ’em high—it’s the Democrat way.
To be fair, the idea that fake news sites contributed to the fact that every newspaper in the world had to scrap its “You’re Fired!” postelection “Donald Trump loses” page 1 headline isn’t just being promoted by the Democrats and their lapdogs in the press. At least one actual (and prolific) purveyor of fake news, Paul Horner, told The Washington Post that he agrees with the notion. After bitching to the Post about how much he “hates Trump,” how stupid Trump supporters are, and how he purposely targeted them with fake anti-Clinton stories in order to demonstrate their gullibility, Horner lamented the fact that he may very well have had an effect on the election’s outcome. “I think Trump is in the White House because of me,” he mournfully admitted. He explained that his strategy of floating viral anti-Clinton stories in order to harm the Trump camp may have backfired. “Looking back, instead of hurting the campaign, I think I helped it. And that feels [bad].”
So, are Horner, the Democrats, and the press correct regarding the malevolent, electoral-vote-influencing power of fake news? Well, yes and no. Horner is 100 percent correct when he claims that Trump supporters are more likely to pass along stories from obviously fake news sites. I hate to say it, but had Trump lost, I had a column ready to go in which I scolded and hectored Trumpers for sharing fake stories on social media. During the election, there was not one day that went by in which I didn’t see at least one Trump-supporting Facebook friend share an obvious fake, from the “Hillary smells like boiled cabbage” phony Podesta email to the “Clinton Foundation paid $333,000 to the Black Panthers” fake WikiLeaks doc to the “FBI agent investigating Hillary’s emails dies in a murder-suicide” story by a nonexistent Denver newspaper. You guys loved your fake news stories.
Hell, even when appearing on a podcast mere days after the election, joining in the post-victory celebration with several alt-righters who had backed Trump from the start, I found one of my fellow guests boasting about a pro-Trump tweet from Clint Eastwood. As I bit my tongue trying to be polite, my suggestion that the tweet was from a bogus account (as it was) fell on deaf ears.
Yay, fake news!
There’s no great mystery why Trump supporters are easier marks for fake-news trolls. Trumpers view the entire mainstream media as being allied against them…and on that score, they’re absolutely correct. As a result of this justifiable paranoia, Trump supporters tend to view the alternative press (or, if you prefer, the “new media”) as a counterbalance to the MSM and its biases. To get the “real news,” you have to go to obscure Wordpress sites, or so the theory goes. This too-charitable view of the alternative press does indeed make Trumpers easy targets. One need only register a domain name that sounds appealing to the alt-right, post a few anti-Clinton “satire” pieces, and before you know it, you’re trending on Facebook.
That said, is it possible that these fake news sites helped swing the election? Almost certainly not. Paul Horner admits in his WaPo interview that he purposely targeted die-hard Trump fans and not people who may have been inclined to vote for Clinton. Pretty much all of the fake news sites did the same. In other words, the hoax stories were sent to, and reposted by, people who already had their minds made up, people who were going to vote Trump regardless. There’s zero credible evidence that fake social-media stories helped sway independent voters. These phony news pieces were used in a purely masturbatory way, fetish porn sent to preexisting fetishists. Self-important dime-store agitators like Horner, who actually believe they made a difference, need to get over themselves. They’re pathetic trolls, and nothing more.
In fact, an irony oddly missed in the Washington Post piece is that the millennial “reporter” who conducted the interview with Horner, Caitlin Dewey, herself got hoaxed into writing a piece of fakery back in July, when she claimed that Reddit’s largest pro-Trump subreddit was allied with “neo-Nazis” and “white supremacists.” I wrote about that incident in this column days after it happened. Following her recent interview with Horner, I emailed young Ms. Dewey. I asked her why, in a piece claiming that Trump supporters are more gullible than others when it comes to fakes, she forgot to mention her own rather humiliating brush with gullibility:
I found it interesting that Horner apparently believes that Trump supporters are somehow more inclined to fall for fakes than other folks. Since you fell for a fake earlier this year, I’m interested to know if you are/were a Trump supporter, and—if not—did you call him out on his claim by bringing up your own experience?
No reply from Dewey, of course.
Undaunted, I approached the prankster who helped hoax Ms. Dewey in the first place, my good friend and troll extraordinaire Eugene Nix (real name unknown to pretty much everyone, possibly even himself, considering his fondness for certain smokable plants). I asked him for his thoughts on the “fake news helped swing the election” hysteria, and his take was pretty damn spot-on: “What’s the difference between the outright fakes targeting Trump supporters and the more subtle but just as phony fakes the mainstream news peddles every day?”
Well, that certainly shut me the hell up. There’s no way to argue with that. Every week, every day, the MSM hits us with fakes, from phony racist hate-crime stories to phony anti-Muslim hate-crime stories to phony anti-LGBTXYZ hate-crime stories, etc., etc. “Waitress receives no tip because she’s trans!” “Hate note scrawled on receipt because the waiter was black!” “Sorority girl raped by misogynist frat boys!” “Brick tossed through interracial couple’s window!” The mainstream media is always pushing fakes, but—and this is no small “but”—those fakes are couched in the language of “hey, we’re only reporting what we’ve been told,” and “sorry what we were told turned out to be wrong. Check out the correction we published on page 50 below the crossword puzzle!” These “outs” allow the MSM to continually promote fakes without appearing fake. Internet hoax sites are just more honest about what they do. That isn’t to say that the hoax sites are justified, which they are not, or that there aren’t a lot of truly conscientious and responsible journalists and editors working for the MSM, which there are. But still, the righteous indignation coming from the Democrats, and the left-leaning media organs that routinely fellate them, fail to impress me.
If, the next time a swastika is crudely drawn somewhere in a public place, the members of the MSM pause to say, “hey, this type of thing is often a hoax—maybe we should hold off before splashing it all over the front page in order to get hits and sell papers through fearmongering,” I’ll take their protestations about fake news more seriously. Until then, their whining will continue to ring hollow.
The truth is, I have several Trump-supporting friends who’ve passed along fake stories on social media with full knowledge that the posts they were sharing were fakes. With apologies to Paul Horner, The Washington Post, and the rest of the hypocritical and indignant dolts who sought an easy answer by blaming the “gullibility” of Trumpers, the rightists I know saw fake news not as real but as strategy, as a defense against the other side’s “authentic” fake news. “The New York Times said premiums wouldn’t rise under Obamacare. How can anything I post ever be faker than that?” is the typical response I got when I called my friends out when they shared false news.
Do I agree with that response? No. I don’t support fake news under any circumstances, even as a retaliatory measure against other fake news. But I also don’t support easy answers, and “Trump supporters share fake news because they’re gullible dweebs” is an easy answer. Too easy.
But just as Democrats love lynching, their allies in the media love easy answers. So don’t expect anything more layered or complex from “respectable” journos. And for the love of God, don’t expect introspection.
“Mainstream Press Agrees to Stop Promoting Unverified ‘Hate Crime’ Stories Until All the Facts Are In.” In a year filled with phony news, that headline would be the most obviously phony of all. Not even the world’s most accomplished troll could ever fool anyone into thinking that such a headline could be genuine.
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