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The face of fake news

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Megyn Kelly took on more than just Alex Jones in her NBC “Sunday Night” interview. She took on fake news. I’m glad she did.

Honestly, I was very worried that Kelly would equivocate and underperform like she did with Russian President Vladimir Putin. I was worried that Jones would get a pass and use the performance to pick up even more viewers–and believers.

It turns out I was wrong, as were others who believed the interview was a bad idea.

It was important to expose the abhorrent conspiracies and ideals that Jones represents.

But motivations are really key here. I have to believe that Jones’ motivations are personal. He suffers from the same need for importance and recognition that the other main topic of Kelly’s piece–President Trump–succumbs to. Jones simply wants the clicks, the influence, and the power.

There are plenty of Twitter, Facebook, and web-based Jones wannabes, and some in the main stream media. The New York Times and the Washington Post are not immune from what Kelly termed “reckless accusation, followed by equivocations and excuses.” The MSM simply couches their version in “bombshell” headlines, unnamed sources and back-of-the-paper retractions.

There’s nothing inherently wrong, or un-American, about people like Jones. They’ve been around since before Erwin Wardman coined the term “yellow journalism” in 1998.

But there’s a more pernicious motive floating out there: foreign governments using people like Jones, and teenagers in Eastern European basements, to float their own anti-U.S. propaganda. The Russians are experts at disinformation–they call it “Dezinformatsiya.”

The Washington Post delved deep into the history of Russian fake news right after the election. In 2015, Adrian Chen published a chilling New York Times Magazine piece titled “The Agency” about Russian efforts to create fake news events and use social media “trolls” to promote their own interests.

Russia’s information war might be thought of as the biggest trolling operation in history, and its target is nothing less than the utility of the Internet as a democratic space. In the midst of such a war, the Runet (as the Russian Internet is often called) can be an unpleasant place for anyone caught in the crossfire. Soon after I met Leonid Volkov, he wrote a post on his Facebook wall about our interview, saying that he had spoken with someone from The New York Times. A former pro-Kremlin blogger later warned me about this. Kremlin allies, he explained, monitored Volkov’s page, and now they would be on guard. “That was not smart,” he said.

The fact that President Trump relies on the very same social media tools that the Russians have thoroughly infiltrated and corrupted in order to make his points and win political power–that translates to actual government power–is more than troubling.

It means that Alex Jones, President Trump, and the Russians are all feeding the same cancer of fake news.

I submit there’s very little difference in Trump claiming he’s the victim of a “Witch Hunt” by “deep state” operatives (or hinting at “tapes” of conversations with James Comey), Alex Jones claims that Sandy Hook was a hoax, and the “Internet Research Agency” creating a fake story about a chemical disaster in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. They are all set ups not in service of truth, but in service of other motives.

But when we can’t tell the difference between real Russian interference and the president’s tweetstorms and Jones’ conspiracies, in a culture where these events lead to political violence, injury and death, someone’s got to call foul.

Kelly took the opportunity to call foul on Jones. I applaud that she did. If the main stream media, including her employer, NBC, would take the hint and back off from their one-sided attacks on Trump, conservatives, and Republicans, maybe her message would begin to spread.

If the media itself doesn’t take the high road in combatting fake news, not leaping to conclusions, burying stories that offend their own world view, and projecting pure opinion as objective fact, then how can we expect anyone to believe them?

Culture and Religion

Elizabeth Warren releases DNA proof that she’s at least 1/1024th Native American. Twitter responds appropriately.

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Elizabeth Warren releases DNA proof that shes at least 11024th Native American Twitter responds appr

There’s a strategist in Senator Elizabeth Warren’s ear who thought it was a good idea to release results of a DNA test showing a likelihood that one of her very distant descendants was Native American. The advice taken. The results were predictable.

The test shows she is at most 1/32nd Native American if she is six generations from her Native American ancestor. That’s her best-case scenario. At worst, her ancestor was as far back as ten generations which would make her 1/1024th Native American. To put that into perspective, if she were to honor her heritage by engaging in 1/1024th of a four-hour Native American Sweat, she’d be in and out of the lodge in 14 seconds.

Elizabeth Warren releases results of DNA test on Native American ancesty

https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2018/10/15/warren-addresses-native-american-issue/YEUaGzsefB0gPBe2AbmSVO/story.htmlThe inherent imprecision of the six-page DNA analysis could provide fodder for Warren’s critics. If her great-great-great-grandmother was Native American, that puts her at 1/32nd American Indian. But the report includes the possibility that she’s just 1/1024th Native American if the ancestor is 10 generations back.

Undergoing the test and releasing the results reveal how seriously Warren is taking the attacks from Trump, who has been able to effectively caricature and diminish his national foes via nicknames and conspiracy theories. Trump pushed then President Barack Obama into releasing the long form of his birth certificate to prove what most knew was already true: He was born in America.

This publicity stunt was designed to let everyone know she’s serious about running for President in 2020. She wanted to be able to call out President Trump on his promise to give $1,000,000 to charity if she could prove Native American heritage. He won’t pay, of course, which will get plenty of headlines calling him a deal-breaking scoundrel, but was it really if for her to be the focus of even more jokes on social media?

Here are some of the reactions on Twitter. You decide:

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Culture and Religion

Katherine Timpf on fighting political correctness

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Katherine Timpf on fighting political correctness

National Review reporter and Fox News contributor Katherine Timpf often discusses political correctness. She talks about it so often that one might think it’s a subject she enjoys, but in reality it’s simply a problem she passionately wants to solve.

In American society, it is way too easy to offend. People do not want to hear that their perspectives are wrong. That’s apparently some form of violence. They don’t want to hear an opposing viewpoint. That’s allegedly a form of oppression. Many on the left feel entitled to express their opinions in any way they see fit and also to prevent others from sharing their opinions if there’s a difference in worldviews.

The hypocrisy of political correctness is thick.

As Timpf recently pointed out on National Review, it’s a problem that doesn’t have an easy solution, but trends are pointing to positive movement against the specter of political correctness.

Political Correctness: Study Finds 80 Percent of Americans Think It’s a Problem

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/10/political-correctness-problem-according-to-80-percent-of-people/I could go on for pages and pages, but you get the point: Writing about political correctness sometimes makes me feel as if everyone has gone mad, and I’m very glad to see that this doesn’t seem to be the case. Instead, a strong majority of people apparently agrees with me. A strong majority believes that political correctness has gone too far, and probably would agree that we need to be careful to protect our ability to speak freely in this country.

That’s certainly encouraging, but it still doesn’t make me feel entirely better. After all, the small, PC-obsessed mob can sometimes be very powerful. Once it decides that someone or something is racist or sexist, that conclusion can carry a lot of weight. It can ruin careers and lives. It can remove perfectly good, innocuous words from acceptable speech, because even the people who might not see a problem with those words don’t want to risk being accused of racism or sexism for using them. The only answer is to keep fighting, to keep exposing and mocking such overreach when it occurs — and to take solace in the fact that so many people have awoken to its dangers.

Keep fighting the good fight, Ms. Timpf.

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Culture and Religion

Reason: Socialism fails every time

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Reason Socialism fails every time

If Socialism Actually Worked, the Left wouldn’t have to Lie about it.

John Stossel has a new video featuring Gloria Álvarez who knows the truth about Socialism. She passionately decimates all of the Left’s lies about what is truly organised evil.

Socialism has become cool in America, under the nice name “democratic socialism”.

Gloria Álvarez knows better, because she’s from Latin America and studied socialism there. She says: watch out! Socialism has a clear track record of wrecking every country that implements it.

Cuba tried socialism. Things got so bad that tens of thousands fled the island on dangerous, makeshift rafts. Others paid lots of money to be allowed to leave.

After Cuba, the next Latin American country to get totally immersed in socialism was Venezuela. For a while, things seemed to work okay thanks to the country’s oil wealth; Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world, and used to be the richest country in Latin America.

Celebrities like Michael Moore and Sean Penn visited Hugo Chavez and praised his socialism.

Venezuelans were happy, too. A former mayor in Venezuela’s capital city told Álvarez: “People were clapping so hard. They were like, ‘Oh, finally there is somebody here making social justice.'”

But eventually socialism led to a mismanagement of the economy that was so bad that money started to run out. The government just printed more, so much more that it led to million-percent inflation.

But some still defend socialism, saying that what happened there “isn’t real socialism.” Bernie Sanders says: “when I talk about Socialism I am not looking at Venezuela, I’m not looking at Cuba. I’m looking at countries like Denmark, like Sweden.”

But Denmark’s prime minister says that’s a mistake: “Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy,” he clarified.

In Scandinavian countries, government regulates business less than America’s government does. Scandinavian countries don’t even have a minimum wage.

Real socialism looks more like Cuba and Venezuela.

Álvarez hopes people look at socialism’s track record before implementing it anywhere else.

If the stakes weren’t so deadly serious, the Left’s absurd contradictions on this subject would be quite amusing. The video had several celebrities trying to claim that normal government functions are somehow ‘socialism’, without explaining how this is the case. Other Leftists will claim that certain socialist regimes weren’t actually socialist, but were really ‘Right-Wing’, again without explaining how this is the case. However, those supposedly non-socialist, ‘Right-Wing’ regimes had normal government functions – road, liberties etc. So by the lights of the first contention, wouldn’t they be socialist?

But let us put this as succinctly as possible:

If Socialism Actually worked:

The Left wouldn’t have to falsely claim that normal government functions are ‘socialism’.
The Left wouldn’t have to Lie about the definition of the word.
The Left wouldn’t have to pretend that Scandinavian countries are socialist.
The Left wouldn’t have to lie, claiming that totalitarian Socialist regimes are supposedly ‘rightwing’.
If Socialism Actually worked, they wouldn’t need ‘revolutionary terror’.
If Socialism Actually worked, they wouldn’t need Tanquetas’ or ‘Ballenas’ to keep the people in line.
If Socialism Actually worked, they wouldn’t need secret police and torture to suppress dissent.
If Socialism Actually worked, they wouldn’t need barbed wire or mine fields to keep people from leaving.
If Socialism Actually worked, they wouldn’t need concentration camps, gulags or ‘re-education’ camps.
If Socialism Actually worked, they wouldn’t need firing squads or as ‘Che Guevara’ put it, the ‘pedagogy of the wall’.

The Takeaway.

If the organised evil that is socialism [Or it’s 40+ alternative labels] didn’t defy basic human nature, being a functional system, there would be no reason for the nation’s Socialist-Left to Lie about it. If it had actually accomplished something useful – aside from 100+ Million dead – it’s proponents could simply sell it without all of the falsehoods and outright lies. Those who advocate for that collectivist system – while claiming they aren’t it’s advocates – could simply be honest about what they want to impose on the rest of us.

Compare this to the entirely workable – but never claiming to be perfect – system of economic Liberty.
Those of us who are advocates for freedom have no need to pretend that systems of economic Liberty are something else. We have no need to make false claims or pretend it something that it is not. We only need to sell it on it’s great achievements, something the advocates of socialism can never do.

 

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