Be careful what you read. Just because it’s on the internet on what’s supposed to be a “trusted site” doesn’t make it true.
The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation is the most contentious battle for the Supreme Court in our nation’s history. It has more combatants than any before it; thanks to social media, it seems everyone has an opinion that’s predictably divided along party lines. For this reason, it’s one of the easiest “click-bait” stories of the day. All an unscrupulous media outlet needs is a hint of a controversial scoop to manipulate in order to draw in the masses who want something, anything onto which they can latch.
Both sides of the political aisle have been pulling out all stops for these stories. I’ve seen headlines that range from clearly and blatantly false to subtly contrived. A quick scan of Twitter or Reddit can reveal the fake stories that are getting the most traction.
For the pro-Kavanaugh folks, the most widely spread disinformation the last two days has been a report that Christine Blasey Ford’s parents lost their house to foreclosure. Who was the judge? Yep, it was Kavanaugh’s mother.
The ALL-CAPS, exclamation-pointed headlines started popping up on right-leaning “news” sites with official documents from official sources pointing to the bombshell revelation that told a story of revenge being served gloriously cold. Ford has a score to settle…
…except she doesn’t, at least not one that pertains to her parent’s home. As it turns out, the elder Judge Kavanaugh did indeed rule on foreclosure proceedings for the Ford house. She ruled in their favor. And as far as actual investigative reporters can tell, they never lost their home. So yes, this was fake news.
But this story wasn’t the most widespread (though nearly every mainstream media site lambasted the devious righties for spreading it). The story that got the most steam was a report that 63 of the 65 women who initially supported Kavanaugh in a letter had renounced their support following the release of Ford’s story.
It was a major GOTCHA moment that proved how disingenuous their support really was. Some of the comments I read suggested most of these women were begged, conned, or otherwise coerced by Republicans to put their names behind Kavanaugh. This was another victory for the #MeToo movement that united women against another manifestation of toxic masculinity…
…except is wasn’t. The truth was only two of the 65 women chose to reply to the question in the short time period given to them. Many indicated later they simply didn’t bother. Some said they were never contacted. None of them renounced their support.
Conspicuously, no mainstream news sites I have been watching mentioned this blatant attempt to mislead people. They were less enthusiastic about debunking an anti-Kavanaugh story than they were about debunking an anti-Ford story.
Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford represent variations of boogeymen to the sides that oppose them. Some are willing to lie to discredit them. Be careful what you’re reading. Better yet, stop reading until they testify.
Image via Hewlett.