Fake News? Thou doth protest too much, methinks.
So you are out for a few drinks with friends. Two glasses of wine into the evening and a friend pulls your face in close and says, “Did you know that Elvis is still alive and living in Jean, NV?” A solid response would be along the lines of, “Did you drive here, or should I get you an Uber home?” Now if every time I got together and this same friend went on and on and on about Elvis living in the silver state, a field trip would be in order, or a picture request, or at least something resembling evidence.
So why all of the hoopla over “fake news” of late? Has there suddenly been a dramatic increase of bullshit? I don’t think so. If you think otherwise, please take the floor and illustrate how and from whom?
The other thing that puzzles me is that the fake news cries are also coming from some of those same outfits that had seemingly well put together polls that showed there was almost no universe that Trump could win in:
The Upshot's elections model suggests that Hillary Clinton is favored to win the presidency, based on the latest state…www.nytimes.com
One could argue that there are a multitude of situations that could have influenced the election’s outcome and would or at least could be right in doing so. That is where my disdain for the term “fake news” comes from. If you think something is fake, then you ignore it (like we do most b.s. in life), or you outline why it is fake. Why would one take the time to embark on disproving fake news? I am glad you asked.
Let’s set up a scenario where making an effort to disprove something is a fruitful event. In some universe Mr. X is accused of being a child molester. His reputation is sullied, his business suffers, and socially he is a pariah. Now is it better for him to just shrug it off as “fake,” or would he be better off explaining why these accusations are not true. Some claims deserve to be refuted, and some claims deserve a thorough evisceration.
The fake news meme seemingly popped up shortly after the election. Its focus now is “pizzagate.” Sound like a new pizzeria down the street with a mediocre salad bar, decent pizza, and 27 beers on tap? Well it is not. It is a an outlandish tale surrounding Hillary Clinton campaign chair, John Podesta. The claim is that he and many other powerful people in our nation's capital are tied to a pedofilia ring. I know, I know, I know! CRAZY!
So what gave the 4chan, reddit, Zerohege crowd this ammunition? The Wikileaks emails that were dripped months running up to the election gave the crowd the ammo. Lost yet? Yep, the same emails that were the thorn in Hillary Clinton’s side during the election also gave birth to pizzagate. Was Hillary off base in the last debate when she claimed that the Wikileaks came from a Russian hack? She was not wrong according to James Clapper who happens to be the Director of National Intelligence. He stated that the bulk of the intelligence community at large were confident that Russia was behind the hacks into the political organizations’ emails. His statement also sourced the attacks to the highest levels of the Russian government. He went on to say that they are designed to interfere with the current election.
So what do I think? It sure looks like a hack. So, mission accomplished. Wait a minute. Pump the brakes. Let’s parse what Clapper said. Russia is behind the hacks, and the hacks go up to the highest level of government. If so, is there anything that can be shared in the way of evidence to prove that claim? Ed Snowden weighed in with this tip on Twitter around July 25th:
If your lost like me regarding Snowden’s solution, here is what XKeyscore is — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XKeyscore
Ok, so Henry Clapper does not present evidence. Maybe and most likely it is a situation where they cannot and would not ever share that kind of information. This leads us back to the Wikileaks drip prior to the election. Prior to pizzagate the most damning claims from the dumps where that the Clinton campaign colluded with the DNC to get past Bernie Sanders in the primary. They also painted a picture where on numerous occasions the Clinton campaign or their surrogates worked very closely with the media.
Here are 10 of those claims and their hotlink to the Wikileak email dump:
1. Clinton Staff hosts private “off-the-record cocktail party” with 38 “influential” reporters, journalists, editors, and anchors (from 16 different mainstream media outlets including CNN, NBC, CBS, NYT, MSNBC, & more) with the stated goal of “framing the race.”
2. Donna Brazile (CNN contributor at the time, and current DNC Chairman now) leaked CNN town hall questions to Hillary Clinton’s staff prior to the debate.
3. Clinton campaign and the New York Times coordinating attack strategy against Trump.
4. Glen Thrush, POLITICO’s chief political correspondent and senior staff writer for POLITICO Magazine, sends John Podesta an article for his approval. Writes: “Please don’t share or tell anyone I did this. Tell me if I fucked up anything.”
5. Huffington Post contributor Frank Islam writes to John Podesta in an email titled “My blogs in the Huffington Post”, says “I am committed to make sure she is elected the next president.” “Please let me know if I can be of any service to you.”
6. Clinton staffer “Placing a story” with Politico / New York Times: “place a story with a friendly journalist” “we have a very good relationship with Maggie Haberman of Politico” “we should shape likely leaks in the best light for HRC.”
7. John Podesta receiving drafts of New York Times articles before they’re published.
Clinton staff “placing a story with a friendly at the AP (Matt Lee or Bradley Klapper).”
More media collusion: NYT and AP “helpful” to Clinton campaign.
8. Clinton staff colluding with New York Times and Wall Street Journal to paint Hillary’s economic policies in a “progressive” light.
9. CNBC panelist colluding with John Podesta on what to ask Trump when he calls in for an interview.
10. Clinton staff appearing to control the release times of Associated Press articles.
Before those too eager to BELIEVE jump in and start in with the “lock her up chants,” you have to know that the above claims were made and linked to the Wikileaks dump by The Free Thought Project. They are unabashedly conservative. You can learn more about them right here: thefreethoughtproject.com/about-us/
This is also not to say that any of the above 10 “claims” are true. The claims do not look good to mere mortals, but business and politics are pretty crony these days, and I bet one could find lots of situations where “favors” are exchanged for access on both sides of the isle. In Donald Trump fashion he said the following during the Republican primary regarding buying access, “I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them, and they are there for me.”
So on December 5th why are folks now obsessed over fake news? Maybe because other people are a bit fixated on pizzagate? Don’t believe me. Here is information that Google Trends shows how pizzagate has now surpassed Wikileaks in terms of search interest: https://www.google.com/trends/explore?date=today%203-m&q=Pizzagate,wikileaks
What gives pizzagate any legs other than some people want to believe anything?
Firstly, John Podesta’s emails are littered with references regarding pizza and food items in situations that sometimes do not seem to make sense:
One should still remember that the Director of National Intelligence confirmed that the emails were hacked. Although, he did not weigh in regarding if the the emails are “pristine” (untouched) or not. I would guess that some of our national intel agencies could put this to rest pretty quick.
Secondly, in addition to the emails there are photos and curious hashtags associated with Comet Pizza and its owner (James Alefantis). Comet Pizza was mentioned in John Podesta’s emails and thus tied to pizzagate:
Personally as a skeptic, these claims appear to be over the top. A pedeophilia ring that goes that far up the food chain appears far-fetched and thus rightly deemed “fake news.”
Here is where I have to ask some simple questions.
First, if pizzagate is fake news (as it appears to be), why have none of these news sources taken the time to confirm what is contained in the Wikileak dumps tied to pizzagate? If the emails were confirmed to be fake, this story is dead on arrival.
Second, how does one go about determining what is fake and what is real when what is listed as “facts” are not addressed?
If you are interested in pizzagate or fake news, delve into the stories and look to see if facts are discussed and vetted. Check your sources and look for known contrary sources and see what they have to say about the facts.
While pizzagate seems way, way, way out there in terms of possibly being true, so was the Catholic Church’s abuses for the last few hundred years. Want to see how that turned out? Watch the movie SPOTLIGHT. It is the very true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese. We now know that scandal extended around the globe.
Rather than jump up and down and talk about the integrity of the media and fake news, let’s deal in facts. One of the best ways to shut people up when they are really off base is to slowly and surgically address their beliefs and knock down the dominos one by one. I would like to say that the purveyors of the fake news meme are doing just this. From the stories I have read, their go-to is light on addressing the ideas at hand and more focused on discrediting the people presenting the ideas. Seemingly, it would be much more effective to expose how these claims are false, irrational, and possibly politically motivated. If the claims are proven false, then the need to discredit becomes unnecessary.
Cheers to your life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.