Now that I have your attention…
Decades have spent studying the role of the media on right wing politics and its effect on the Republican Party and voters. Many conservative commentators have been pilloried in the press and one supposes the Left felt a certain glee in seeing the likes of Bill O’Reilly drummed off the airwaves.
Meanwhile, some of the more sane conservatives had been distancing themselves from the commentators on the fringe of conservatism and today comments from the likes of a Hannity or Coulter are met with a “meh…” But just recently, there has been some attention paid to the burgeoning blogosphere on the Left.
One supposes that this can be traced back to the early years of George W. Bush’s administration when a young Markos Moulitsas founded Daily Kos. Although the blog does contain some insightful information (I go there for electoral statistics), it is generally an online community of over 250,000 registered users bitching about all things conservative and how great liberalism is if only us rubes on the Right would see the light. Of particular hilarious interest is their online petition action with the usual calls to abolish the Electoral College and, of course, impeach Trump.
However, sites like TalkingPointsMemo, Daily Kos and Alternet are more mainstream, as is Huffington Post where they delude even their own. Remember Seth Abramson who used his post at Huffington to, despite mathematical reality to the contrary, convince the Berniebros looking for good news that Sanders was going to win the nomination? In what has got to be the longest excuse with most nonsensical words to describe [email protected]!#, he said when all was over: it was “…all a form of experimental journalism” that “embraced the multi-dimensionality of metanarrative.” A simple “I’m sorry for deluding you,” would have sufficed. But, that is how the Left thinks and works.
Today, the tinfoil-hat wearing contingent of the Left occupies Twitter and Facebook. People like Louise Mensch, Claude Taylor, Andrea Chalupa, and Leah McElrath have a huge following. Reacting to the allegations of “golden showers” in the now largely-debunked Steele dossier, McElrath has since taken it further suggesting that any day now a videotape of Trump having sex with an 11-year-old will surface.
Golden showers and pedophilia are the outer fringes since most of the commentary focuses on Russia. “The Palmer Report” seems almost dedicated to this infatuation. Their front page is loaded with innuendo and just plain fake news that it boggles the mind. Without outright accusing him, they suggested that Vladimir Putin had alleged GOP operative Peter W. Smith killed. It does not dawn on them that dying of natural causes at the age of 81 is not out of the realm of probabilities. But if your compatriots are going to suggest lurid sex tapes, what is a bit of Kremlin murder?
Not to be outdone, Mensch’s outlet is something called “Patribotics.” Mensch apparently is privy to signals intelligence that no one else is aware of that proves Trump not only colluded with the Russians, he is guilty of treason. In one stellar scoop, the site said that Carter Page went to Moscow with a recorded tape of Trump promising more favorable treatment of Russia if elected IF Russia would share information on hacked DNC and Clinton e-mails with the campaign. Of course, no such tape has shown up and it boggles the imagination, not to mention logic, that a tape of Donald Trump would be used to relay a message of treason.
They even claim to have recorded conversations of Paul Ryan laying out an elaborate money-laundering scheme with Russian operatives. Supposedly, Ryan needed the help of the Russians in his own campaign. But, according to Mensch, at least we now why Trump won Wisconsin: Paul Ryan illegally had the DNC voter database hacked and fake news was targeted at those voters.
Getting back to “The Palmer Report,” to claim credibility, they note that such luminaries as Ted Lieu, Jennifer Granholm, Howard Dean, Mark Ruffalo, and Debra Messing have shared their stories. Even Lawrence Tribe contributes to the site with unverified stories about Trump and re-Tweets “Palmer Report” content. Support from that group of misfits should say it all.
Two cautionary tales regarding sharing this information. They reported that Utah Congressman was retiring because he was being blackmailed by the Kremlin (quoting unnamed sources, naturally). Despite nary a shred of evidence, Obama’s former special assistant Ned Price shared the nonsense. US Senator Ed Markey told CNN that a grand jury was impaneled in New York to investigate Trump’s collusion with Russia. Again, this originated with “The Palmer Report.” Again, it was false since no such grand jury exists.
So while the Left rants on about Russian propaganda and collusion while calling out conservatives for falling for fake news, there is ample evidence that the Left is an equally gullible consumer of fake news. Jeff Green, an internet advertising CEO states: “So the stereotypes of it (fake news) being simply right wing and simply uneducated are 100% not true.” His studies have shown that if you are on the Left and a consumer of fake news, you are 34 times more likely than the general population to be college educated. If you a Right wing consumer of fake news, you are 18 times more likely than the general population to be in the top 20% of wage earners.
Most ominously, his studies have also indicated that if you are a consumer of fake news, no matter your political streak, you are more likely to vote than the general population. He conducted the study by planting fake news stories- one from the Right and one from the Left- on social media sites and then tracking the data. Another interesting tidbit from his study: those on the Left are more click-happy and more likely to “Like” or “Share” a story on Facebook.
Lest we forget, about 28% of Americans believe 9/11 was an inside job and the assassination of John Kennedy and the surrounding conspiracy theories are rehashed annually in late November. Americans love conspiracy theories and who wears the tinfoil hat is not unique to any political party or ideology. However, whereas the Right holds people like Alex Jones at a long arm’s length, Democratic US Senators, members of Congress and former presidential assistant counsels embrace the paranoid delusions.
If Howard Dean, Mark Ruffalo and Lawrence Tribe lend you “credibility,” then this writer suggests one rethinks their definition of “credibility.”