We already know of Trump’s penchant for conspiracy theories. InfoWars and Breitbart are his go-to sites, so we know he’s not that serious about keeping up with legitimate news.
It’s gotten to the point where members of the incoming administration are compelled to throw penalty flags in regards to those other members who are making it harder for Trump’s name not to become enmeshed with conspiracy nonsense.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said on CNN Tuesday that tweets from retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect Trump’s incoming national security adviser, and his son Michael G. Flynn, are troublesome because they promoted debunked conspiracy theories. The younger Flynn, who is his father’s chief of staff, in particular has promoted the “Pizzagate” story.
That story purports the Clintons and top Democrats ran a child sex ring out of a Washington, D.C. pizzeria. A man was arrested after bringing multiple guns to that restaurant on Sunday and firing a shot.
I wrote about that this weekend, and it really is a serious problem.
There’s a Mark Twain quote that reads: A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.
This was before the internet and social media, so it’s even more true, now.
“When you get a government position — whether it’s a U.S. congressman, whether it’s national security adviser or anything — you now have a different level of commitment to the truth that you have to hold onto because people are going to take your words and take them literally,” Kinzinger said.
THAT. Exactly THAT.
Kinzinger went on to point out that with the flood of fake news sites – some of which only appeared during this election cycle, for the sole purpose of promoting Trump, I must add – readers have to become more than casual browsers of headlines. They have to vet the sites and the content.
“That’s really incumbent on the end user, and the person using Facebook, to find out if that story that sounds pretty outrageous actually is,” Kinzinger said. “Nine times out of 10, if that story sounds crazy, it usually is.”
Kinzinger said Flynn’s appointment as national security adviser is one of the few selections President-elect Trump has made to his Cabinet that he’s troubled by. The congressman said Flynn’s sympathetic statements about Russia give him pause, though he is enthused by the former intelligence official’s tough talk on terror.
And tough talk is good, under the right circumstances, but when the talk turns to conspiracy theories and things that will actually endanger the lives of citizens, such as the incident at the restaurant at the center of the Pizzagate hoax this weekend, then you’ve crossed into untenable irresponsibility.