Showing posts with label President Trump. Show all posts
Showing posts with label President Trump. Show all posts

Friday, January 15, 2021

True news is good news

 “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” ― Karl Rove

Mainstream news sources and some politicians are calling it “the big lie.” By this they refer to a phrase that Adolf Hitler used in “Mein Kampf” to describe an untruth so enormous that no one would dare to question it. This time around, the lie under discussion is President Trump’s preemptive claim that if he lost the election, it would be due to voter fraud, and his follow-up claim that voter fraud cost him the election.

The mainstream news cites court rulings and election officials to defend its claim that the 2020 election was  fair. Those who claim it was stolen typically consider mainstream news to be fake. In some of their minds a cabal of leftist pedophiles has infiltrated powerful institutions and gained control. Less than five percent of men are estimated to be pedophiles. No matter how perverse lefties might be, it’s likely that fewer than one in 20 is a pedo. How did so few pedos manage to gain control of everything?

Regardless, both sides can’t be right. One side must be lying. The First Amendment, of course, guarantees Americans’ right to lie their asses off. Or does it? Actually, telling some types of lies can bring legal problems. But many other types of lies are legally bullet proof. Perhaps it’s time to change that up a bit.

Between the years 1949 and 1987, TV and radio stations were bound by the “Fairness Doctrine.” This policy required broadcasters to devote a portion of their programing to issues in the public interest. It also required them to air opposing views.

With no policy like the Fairness Doctrine to restrain them, some broadcasters now freely spew bullshit. With no rules at all, bullshit rules the internet. Take “likes.” When a user likes a  Facebook post, that signals Facebook to feed the user other posts offering the same viewpoint. Social scientists say many innate biases influence our behavior. One of these is called “confirmation bias.” This bias describes a human tendency to look for information that confirms what one already believes. Facebook willingly feeds us what we already believe. When we don't consider other viewpoints we cannot grow. 

When Russia tries to influence our votes and when its users make hateful statements, Facebook responds with too little too late and promises to do better next time. Suppose instead, Facebook stopped manipulating its feeds and provided its users a stream of mixed viewpoints? That might work somewhat like a Fairness Doctrine. This alone wouldn’t restore a common, more-or-less factual news narrative, but along with fresh, well-conceived laws, Americans might once again share the same reality.

Friday, January 08, 2021

Bumper crop


Poor Donny Two Peaches. All at once he lost his Twitter account, his Facebook account, Cabinet members, the respect of many supporters, and now he might be forced into early retirement. Perhaps even prison.

His good buddy Mike is so upset that he hasn't been answering his phone.

Nancy and Chuck no longer want to play with him. Even his buddy Mitch doesn't want to hang out with him anymore.

When will this sad story end? Perhaps on January 20. Perhaps somewhat sooner. Another bad boy, Tricky Dick, got asked to leave. And he did. But this time it's different. Only the other team is saying he should leave. The teammates of Donny Two Peaches haven't asked him to leave the game because they've lost their balls. Only Lisa found her balls. None of the boys. Isn't that silly? Bye-bye balls. Bye-bye integrity.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Divided by lies


Politicians lie. In that, they are all the same. They differ only in the outrageousness of their untruths. Some politicians lie unintentionally with issue summaries that exclude, misrepresent, or exaggerate information. In these cases, there remains at least a basis in facts. Other politicians lie intentionally. That’s a problem in a representative democracy, but merely a control method in an oligarchy.

 The Republican Convention this week has been a fibbers festival. You needn’t take my word for it however. News organizations including the New York Times, The Washington Post, and NPR are saying so. I don’t remember any news organization ever calling a president a liar before the current one took office. But there you go. It’s the new normal. Consider the words of U.S. Rep Matt Gaetz who said Democrats would try to, “disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home, and invite MS-13 to live next door.” Gee, I don’t remember the last Democratic president doing those things.

 I want to focus on one Big Lie. Trump says he’s a “law and order” president, but that doesn’t mean what one might think. In this case, “law and order” is code for preserving a status quo that keeps a Jim Crow legacy alive. Protests against police victimizing and killing blacks have continued for several months. During daylight hours, these protests have been largely peaceful. During the nights, some of those in much smaller gatherings have acted criminally. These people are not necessarily the same ones who protest peacefully. The Washington Post reports that most of those responsible for deaths related to the protests have not been protesters themselves. Some were white members of the far right.

 Since the protests began, the president has lumped peaceful protesters with rioters, ignoring the fact that peaceful protest is a right, rather than a crime. This is dangerous. Once peaceful protest becomes identified with criminal behavior, Americans’ right to free speech will end. The cause is just. The protest is needed. Untruths have no place in democracies.