dear auntie – updated

by ibull

chapter 2

2 days later

Hi auntie, I thought you might be interested in this interview with the guy who authored the fake news story about people paid to protest: 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/11/17/facebook-fake-news-writer-i-think-donald-trump-is-in-the-white-house-because-of-me/?tid=sm_tw 

He says in the interview, “My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time. I think Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist.” When he refers to his ‘sites’ he is referring to abcnews.com.co—but he has many other such sites. 

When he was asked why he wrote fake news he says, “Just ’cause his supporters were under the belief that people were getting paid to protest at their rallies, and that’s just insane. I’ve gone to Trump protests — trust me, no one needs to get paid to protest Trump. I just wanted to make fun of that insane belief, but it took off. They actually believed it. I thought they’d fact-check it, and it’d make them look worse. I mean that’s how this always works: Someone posts something I write, then they find out it’s false, then they look like idiots. But Trump supporters — they just keep running with it! They never fact-check anything! Now he’s in the White House. Looking back, instead of hurting the campaign, I think I helped it. And that feels [bad].”

I admit that by sharing this, I am implicitly trusting the Washington Post to deliver the truth on this matter. But I don’t want you to think that I’m using this as a ‘got ya’ moment or anything like that. I don’t think this is a game. I don’t think that the truth should be so difficult to know that we have to guess every time we read something new. 

So let’s talk strategy. I trust the Washington Post because they have a history of reporting on topics that they research well, and that are corroborated and verified by other sources time and time again. 

I know that other people in the family—from a variety of different political viewpoints—post articles and news that aren’t fact-checked. I try to call it out when I see it, but it’s hard to see it when Facebook filters it out of my feed. Just because other people do circulate that kind of information does not make it okay, in my mind, to do so. I personally do not share or circulate information that I myself cannot verify with other credible sources. 

For example, two nights ago I was tempted to share this story from The London Economic about how the election was rigged: http://www.thelondoneconomic.com/uncategorised/donald-trump-was-right-the-election-was-rigged-in-his-favour/15/11/ 

I chose not to share this information because (1) I had never heard of the London Economic as a publication before, (2) I could not verify the source with other credible sources, and (3) even though the author claimed to present verifiable evidence, I myself could not verify their analysis to confirm their conclusion that the election was rigged by Russian hackers. 

Since then, however, other people have reviewed the analysis. Other news agencies are starting to report on this story. The story is being heard by elected officials—Democrats, yes, AND Republicans like Lindsey Graham: 

http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-trailguide-updates-gop-sen-lindsey-graham-wants-congress-1479254194-htmlstory.html 

This doesn’t mean that the election was rigged; this just means that there is credible evidence suggesting that an investigation is warranted. As Americans we should all be deeply concerned by the possibility that Putin determined the outcome of our election, not The People. As Americans, despite our personal investment in the outcome, we should all advocate for the investigation and a recount of the results. 

If it turns out to be the case that wealthy billionaires are paying protestors to show up in the streets, I also think that is something we should be concerned about. But until we can find verifiable evidence to that fact, we should not take these accusations seriously. We should assume that all protestors are there because they want to be. We should assume they are all sacrificing something to be there. And, we should both listen and ensure their personal safety—that’s what American freedom is all about. 

Continue Reading –>

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