Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Left Wing Fake News?

I think we need to talk about a phenomenon that I have noticed with increasing frequency the last few months- purportedly left wing sites promoting outrageous or easily disproved claims about Trump, the Republicans and right wingers.  In the last week or two, these sites have started to attract some mainstream attention, such as this article from the Atlantic, which correctly observes:

"there’s no equivalence between the falsehoods coming from the American left and the right in the past two weeks. Individual Democrats on Facebook may cling to pleasant stories and wishful thinking, but the Republican White House press secretary spouts off lies beneath the presidential seal. On Thursday, Kellyanne Conway, a senior advisor to the president, referenced a terrorist attack that never happened.

But a preponderance of fake information ultimately harms the political cause that absorbs it."

I think I can see at least three strains in this sort of website.

First of all, there are ones that are a result of wishful thinking and inadequate fact checking by liberals desperate to believe that our national nightmare is about to end.  Typical of this is Bill Palmer and his site, The Palmer Report.  Palmer appears to me to be a well-intentioned person who has just gotten carried away with what he wishes to be true.  This is the least troubling type of these sites, but still it doesn't do us any good.

Second is a more malignant strain, typified by sites such as The Bipartisan Report, or Addicting Information.  I believe the operators of these sites, seeing the tremendous success that right wing websites have had at manipulating money out of their loyal suckers, have decided to try the same thing on the left.  It's a harder sell because, well, left wingers are not as stupid and ignorant as right wingers, but obviously it is worth a try to the con men who are behind these sites.

And finally, the most contemptible of all are certain sites that I believe are financed and operated by the usual right wing liars and their backers, which are designed to make the left look like a bunch of crazed loons.  This is just one more face of the standard Republican practice of blaming the left for being guilty of all the right's sins.

Well, at this point, I do not have much more to say about this phenomenon, except to encourage people to remain in the standard left wing reality-based world, and avoid falling for these scams.  I think this problem is only going to grow worse, as right wing sociopaths pump more money into this malicious activity, so it will be best to be on guard.

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