What the 'Fine People' Hoax Means for America

AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

When I first read that Snopes has finally admitted that the “fine people” hoax was, indeed, a hoax, I was a bit surprised, considering that it typically pushes a leftist agenda. The notion that former President Donald Trump referred to neo-Nazis and white supremacists as “fine people” was a lie the left could not resist telling – even though the full clip of Trump’s comments clearly disproved their claim.

Snopes’ decision to correct the record is better late than never. However, the fact that some still believe the hoax highlights a harsh reality: Most media cannot be trusted. If we want the truth in 2024 and beyond, we must work a little harder to get it.

Back in August 2017, some fringe racist folks held a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a white nationalist killed a counterprotester by hitting her with his car. It was a highly controversial event, and Trump was expected to respond. He did so during a press conference in which he referenced those protesting and counterprotesting the removal of Confederate statues. These are the ones who he referred to as “fine people.”

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In fact, during his remarks, he specifically said he was not speaking of white nationalists and neo-Nazis when he used the words “fine people.” He said the racists should be “condemned totally.” Yet, media outlets chose to cut off his comments about the white nationalists deliberately to make it appear as if he made complimentary comments about them. Now, it appears Snopes is coming clean.

We looked into these claims, and found that while Trump did say there were "very fine people on both sides," meaning both the protesters and the counterprotesters, he also condemned neo-Nazis and white nationalists outright and said he was specifically referring to those who were there only to participate in the statue protest.

Of course, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth coming from leftists hoping to keep the lie alive. But while the “fine people” hoax has been repeatedly debunked as a major media lie, the fact that it was believed in the first place illustrates a terrible reality in American society.

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The propagation of the false narrative is a masterclass on how easily falsehoods can be crafted and disseminated to the public. In knowledgeable hands, these narratives can be used to shape public opinion and promote political agendas. Indeed, President Joe Biden cited Trump’s supposed comments about Charlottesville as the reason he ran for office in the first place. Clearly, Team Biden has no problem basing its entire campaign on a lie. Other prominent Democrats have repeated the hoax as if it were fact.

The reality, however, is that we shouldn’t have needed so many prominent people to publicly expose and debunk the lie. It should not have taken such a concerted effort to address such an obvious ploy, one that people still believe today.

All we had to do was watch the entire clip. It was not hard to find online – and that could have easily told us whether we were being fed a bill of goods by an increasingly dishonest media.

But many didn’t, and there are countless numbers of Americans who fell for the lie.

What this tells us is that in 2024, it is up to we the people to ensure that we are getting the truth. We have to work a little bit harder to ensure we are not taken in by propaganda mills fronting as viable news outlets.

It means that when the media makes an incendiary claim about a political figure they do not like, we have to do our due diligence to make sure we are not being conned into believing a hoax. Ultimately, the truth is our responsibility, and the fact that much of America’s media is biased and willing to deceive their consumers means we have to go the extra step to weed out the lies.

Unfortunately, most people do not take the time to verify the information they are being presented with. Most don’t have time to pay close attention to what is happening on the airwaves and interwebs. Others are just intellectually lazy and prefer to have their viewpoints regurgitated to them.

Those seeking to divide and deceive us prey on the fact that most won’t do their own research. When the media propagated the “fine people” hoax, they knew most people would not seek out the full clip of Trump’s comments, so they could literally lie to our faces without having to worry about being discovered on a large scale.

If there is anything the “fine people” hoax — along with the multitude of other lies the media has told us — demonstrates, it is that we cannot afford to take any narrative at face value. Instead, we must train ourselves to look at different angles and sources for the information we receive to verify whether we are being given the truth or a convenient political narrative. Otherwise, there is no telling how many hoaxes we will be deceived by.



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