Saturday, July 29, 2017

THE FAR RIGHT WAR ON FACTS


If your social media presence is in any way political, you've probably noticed one or more of your "conservative" friends linking to stories trying to push the notion that Snopes.com is nothing more than a hopelessly biased source of left-wing propaganda, and that anyone using their work to debunk lies or correct errors can therefore by justly ignored.

It's bullshit of course. Numerous good faith investigations conducted by a variety of groups using a wide range of metrics have found that Snopes.com is, by every measure, the LEAST biased source of information on the Internet.

But that doesn't stop the site's growing list of detractors, who persist in their attacks in the hopes that pure repetition will succeed where anorexic reasoning, non-existent evidence, and easily debunked lies are bound to fail. Which brings up the question of where all this Snopes hate (and there is an awful lot of it lately) is coming from.

The always entertaining smart-asses at RationalWiki describe the situation thusly:
Anyone who insists that their personal myth is fact, whether that be moonhoaxers, 9/11 truthers, or bigfooters, will insist that Snopes is wrong because everyone but themselves is biased against the "truth". FactCheck.org, a nonprofit website dedicated to, umm, checking facts, reported that Snopes was completely unbiased. This of course proves that FactCheck is also part of the conspiracy.
While the above is a pretty good general explanation of what Snopes is facing these days, it ignores the fact that the louder (and far more effective) attacks aren't coming from "moonhoaxers", Flat Earthers, or other assorted loonies; they're coming from the Far Right. And there's a very big, very important difference between these two cohorts. Because the loonies, while wrong, are at least sincere.

The Far Right's attacks, on the other hand, are purely tactical. They have nothing to do with disagreements over facts. Rather, these attacks are part of a strategy to undo the damage that unbiased fact-checkers are constantly causing to their organized (and often expensive) propaganda campaigns.

Right-wing attacks on fact-checkers like Snopes are a kind of gaslighting, or inoculation against information that comes from "outside" ideologically pre-approved sources. It's a form of applied, learned helplessness, a tactic used by cults large and small to keep their brainwashed subjects in line. For right-wing and conservative propagandists, an ideal paradigm would not include "unbiased" fact-checkers, as they so disingenuously claim, but rather no fact-checkers at all.

Let's look at a recent attack on Snopes by the alt right's (formerly) favorite self-loathing homosexual, Milo Yiannopoulos, entitled Snopes Caught Releasing Fake "Fact-Check" in Defense of Democrats.

The story, which originated with a handful of reactionary Twitter Trolls before Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller and Glenn Beck's The Blaze picked up on it, involves claims that Democrats refused to take part in a standing ovation for the widow of the Navy SEAL who died during Trump's bungled Yemen raid earlier this year. However, while the secondary targets of Milo's article were those Democrats, his main target, for all of the reasons listed above, was Snopes, which he says "pushed misleading facts to cover for Democrats."

Milo's article is short, so I urge you all to read it. Then I urge you to spend a little time in the comments section, beneath the article. Really root around down there... acquaint yourself with your enemy's distinctive aroma. It may come in handy some day.

After you've finished doing that, and have subsequently showered off the residual Garmonbozia, go ahead and read the Snopes article that so many Redcap Trumpnik cultists pretended to find so... problematic.  Go ahead and read the whole thing. I'll wait right here.

Finished? Okay, so here are a few questions I'd like you to ask yourself.

Firstly, do you think Milo's description of what the Snopes entry in question was trying to achieve--including his depiction of the claims made in the articles that the Snopes team was specifically addressing--was fair and accurate?

Second, who do you think comes off better in this face-off? Far Right propagandists Milo, Beck, Carlson and their assorted hangers on, who were trying to push an obvious lie and got caught doing so? Or the team at Snopes, who used perfectly transparent methods to catch said lie, then take it apart and expose it, and those who were pushing it, for all the world to see?

Finally, do you now feel that you are beginning to better understand why the rogue Deep State faction that I call the New Fascist International* is trying to delegitimize Snopes and other such truth-telling entities?

Consider, as a whole, Trump's three recent rallies: the Youngstown 2020 campaign rally where he accused previous administrations of being in cahoots with MS13, his disturbing appearance at the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree, which he treated like a Trump Youth rally, and today's speech in front of an audience of Long Island law enforcement personnel, during which he encouraged police brutality.

To me, these precedent-shattering displays indicate that Trump is reacting to his legislative failures by doubling down on the only area where he's achieved any measurable success: the radicalization of vast segments of the population using a level of racist, divide-and-conquer demagoguery that we haven't experienced in most Americans' lifetimes.

And now we've got to contend with semi-official state propagandists enthusiastically engaging in North Korea style tone policing, monitoring and measuring people's reactions with a fucking stopwatch in order to shame them if they show insufficient levels of enthusiasm during Dear Leader's speeches? No. Fuck that noise.

Folks, we're not in Kansas anymore. And this isn't Oz, either. We're standing at the Gates of Hell, and The Donald is using one of those tiny, vulgarian fingers of his to repeatedly ring the bell. It only remains to be seen if he'll still be around by the time those Gates swing wide open.


*keep watching this space.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent. I love snopes. I loved Dragnet when I was a kid. "Just the facts, mam, just the facts"

    ReplyDelete