Being Fake is a Real Problem
or (Not funny anymore, Jeffrey Marty. Never was.)
Have you heard of:
A) The Russian propaganda campaign to undermine our democracy?
B) The guy who started out making clickbait money on stories about gay zombies or the world’s first head transplant, and now claims to be unintentionally complicit in turning the 2016 Presidential Election?
Ring any bells? A little? Not really? Then how about:
C) Wikileaks and the Podesta emails?
I am not trying to shame anyone (okay, one person, later on). We click what we click, watch and listen what we are comfortable with, and we all just do the best we can. And Facebook itself is finally trying to reduce the, uh . . . well, the crap that is already out there. With our help, of course.
Look, I am not a “better” internet user than anyone else, I assure you. We all use the same QWERTY keyboards, have similar smart phones, and connect at equally high speeds these days, more or less.
But I may be more careful than some. Not because I read the “right” things, or frequent sites that contain more “truth” than others. Or decry the Post-Truth era, whatever that means. Nope.
If anything, it is because I click on everything I can find (that is safe to click). And then . . .
Consider. The. Source.
Simple, right? Much easier said than done, apparently. To be continued.
First? Let’s tally those quiz results!
If you had heard about A and B before, and know less of C and D — then you probably consider yourself a Democrat. Or were, until you had to write in Bernie Sanders. Or not vote at all.
If you instantly recognize C and D, but raised a suspicious eyebrow at A and B . . . congratulations, you are a Republican. Or were, until you were forced to vote for Gary Johnson. Or not vote at all.
Am I close?
Please: take no offense. I do not intend to insult, and heaven knows we need to come together as a nation and do whatever is in our power to recognize the good in all those family members, neighbors and fellow Americans that appear as if on the “other side” in the New World Order of 2016.
Nor do I look to generalize or paint us all either blue or red. My ‘quiz results’ are in jest; people are too complicated and thoughtful and interesting to be lumped together so crudely, no matter the election or context or argument at hand. I truly believe that.
Plus, we all are pretty raw with untold emotions. And the holidays are barely getting started. Yikes.
How is it possible, with the limitless resources at our fingertips, that we all have become outraged, incensed like never before? Sometimes by the same catalyst, but in such wildly disparate ways? Some talking about Standing Rock. Some still want Hillary in jail. A lot of people all worked up about anthems. Symbols desecrated or defended; sometimes the very same flag — both sides furthering ever-conflicting conclusions?
Why does it feel the entire world is on two separate crazy trains right now? Heading full speed in opposite directions?
Or, even worse . . . going toward one another on the same track? Nearing a head-on collision of some kind?
There are so many theories and opinions about the mess we are in. Too many. Some have actual merit, but amidst all the static, who can tell? How do we sort out this mess?
I cannot possibly have all the answers, much less a single smoking gun. And, even if I did, I am just another unpaid blogger speaking his mind. No one is listening anyway.
What many of us have determined, though, is kind of scary — some are not just passengers riding boxcars of lunacy toward potential catastrophe and further division.
Some of us are the engineers and drivers of our collective predicament. Or the stokers, feeding the fiery engines of these locomotives with hateful opinions and indiscriminate vitriol. [I am done with that tired metaphor now, I swear.]
Naming all who foment our current chaos is impossible. And we have all become party to it, anyway. So let me just present one example, that has produced violent, dangerous ends.
I think everyone — from whatever angle — has heard of this one by now, right? Though maybe not the latest chapter or aftermath:
Guy from North Carolina reads that a pizza restaurant is a cover for a sex slave ring run by Hillary Clinton. He grabs his assault rifle and shotgun. And a handgun for good measure. Then drives six hours to Washington D.C. Aims a gun at an employee, and shoots open a locked room, thinking he would rescue trapped, abused children chained up inside.
All he found was pizza. Pizza, and ping pong. Exactly what its website states: “Comet Ping Pong is a fun, kid-friendly neighborhood pizza restaurant that has outdoor seating, bands, and of course, ping pong.”
No coded messages, no conspiracy, no sex trafficking.
The only good part — no one was hurt.
Not yet. However, even nearby businesses were harassed with phone threats and more trolling; officers of law enforcement were put in harm’s way for no good reason; the poor guy that owns the restaurant is now repairing damage from a ricocheted bullet, and continue to un-smear his reputation and his business, as he has been trying to do without success for the past month.
Even Fox News describes this as “troubling”, so no liberal media bias is pushing this narrative. It should be over, right? Debunked? Forgotten?
Not so fast. Even while police are writing “fictitious online conspiracy theory” in official reports, many are keeping the bullshit alive and well.
Other than anonymous 4chan users who are thought to have started the mess — who would do such a thing, publicly? Give it more oxygen, even after near-tragedy?
Enter: Attorney Jeffrey fucking Marty.
Pardon my impropriety. But who is he, right? Wikipedia does not even have an entry on him.
He is a bullshit artiste extraordinaire.
Buzzfeed contributor Molly Taft said he is a former Wisconsin Democrat turned Rush Limbaugh listener, “increasingly annoyed with the elitism” of liberals. Well, that, and he was adopted at birth by a Republican family.
[My man. You studied Poli-Sci in Madison, Wisconsin? That is the hippy Valhalla of the tri-state area. What were you expecting? Professor Glenn Beck?]
He lives in Florida, went from insurance lawyer to public defender, and now works from home near his ex-wife and kids. He claimed to have begun his farce as a tribute to a deceased (liberal) friend, and intended to “expose liberal bias towards conservatives while gently ribbing the GOP establishment,” according to Taft.
Isn’t he something.
The problem is, his little game had run amok long ago; still, he refuses to end the charade. And he compounds the problem further by believing “most” of his 24,000 followers are “in on the joke.”
Say what now? Edgar Welch, in shackles and a jumpsuit after storming an unassuming pizza joint, is not “in” on the joke. Or he followed your lead and took your joke too far. Way. Way too far.
Even if that were true —and to be clear, he is really giving the benefit of the doubt to many of his flock that absolutely feast on tales of left-wing conspiracy, criminal-grade libel, and unsubstantiated headlines that can be shared instantly (which in turn creates an even larger diaspora of disinformation agents on Facebook and Reddit threads) — Jeffrey Marty is not the Stephen Colbert of the internet. Not even close.
Nor is he Sacha Baron Cohen (whom he admires, apparently).
Nah, dude! Sacha Baron Cohen played satirical Ali G in person. Even while mocking his interview subjects, he was playing his character so well that everyone from Noam Chomsky to Newt Gingrich did not smell a rat. Sacha Baron had huge amounts of chutzpah and courage because he was performing his anarchic brand of satire— say it with me — in person. Face-to-face with the butt of his joke.
Not in his pajamas, on a laptop.
Most importantly? Ali G was funny. He was hilarious. It was actual comedy.
Jeffrey Marty? Your shit-show?
Is. Not. Funny. No one is laughing with you. If anything, I am laughing AT you. At the absurdity of your hypocrisy and misguided crusade.
You are like the KGB. That’s right — the Commies! They have done it for decades, but even they did not have the gall to pass it off as harmless comedy.
You are like Ignatius Jacques Reilly of Confederacy of Dunces come to life. Only, instead of eating all the hotdogs in the French Quarter, and being a charming rascal — you are contributing to the assault on common sense, undermining the constitution you purport to defend, and somehow making the internet and social media even more confounding and muckraking and ludicrous than ever.
[At least you cannot win a Pulitzer Prize for your efforts, not in this life or the next. You are no Jonathan Kennedy. A Toole of sorts, maybe.]
The internet is like the Force, after all. It is imbued with both good and bad. What matters is how you use it.
Whew! This is getting me fired up. Hopping aboard the crazy — oh, sorry.
And sorry for the wait. At long last — Let me show you what he is doing. Hear me out another moment; then you can shout about liberals doing the same thing (?), or provide some sort of counter-example. I will listen intently, I promise you.
Jeffrey effing Marty is pretending to be is this guy:
The picture is taken from an ad for a Big and Tall Men’s Apparel store in New Hampshire, suggested Politifact.com . . . over a year ago!
FAKE Rep. Steven Smith has more followers than any real senator or member of Congress in Georgia.
FAKE Rep. Steven Smith has punk’d, catfished and duped celebrities like Harry Shearer and William Shatner. And lots more.
FAKE Rep. Steven Smith has tricked actual politicians like Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill.
FAKE Rep. Steven Smith spouts the same crap tweeted by new (real) National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn, and kept going by his real son, who has just been fired by Trump for tweeting fake news. Without a hint of irony, naturally.
Why couldn’t Flynn the younger let it go? For one, Jeffrey Marty’s direct statements. Per the New York Times:
Mr. Marty, who has tweeted links to fake news stories and repeatedly said the mainstream media needs to investigate Pizzagate, declined to say whether he actually believed the Comet Ping Pong allegations. “I just think you need to investigate. There are clues everywhere,” he said.
(This is how investigation is done, then, for at least one tortured soul. Not with a fact-check or research, but with guns and vigilante justice, like the Wild West.)
FAKE Rep. Steven Smith has tweeted over 81,500 times! Even PEOTUS Trump is an amateur by comparison.
FAKE Rep. Steven Smith still gets comments — every day — from people who think he is real.
FAKE Rep. Steven Smith is real-life asshole Jeffrey Marty.
Real asshole Jeffrey Marty has even created a Twitter account for FAKE Rep. Steven Smith’s fake son. And recruited others to play along, such as a FAKE Chief of Staff.
FAKE Rep. Steven Smith has been shut down by Twitter before, but somehow gets revived time and again by Twitter officials. Twitter has cited its policy on parody in its defense for not putting a stop to this once and for all. And I believe we have just covered the limits of what can be considered comedy.
Please. If you have read this entire rant, and you are a Twitter user, find @RepStevenSmith, click the gear symbol, and “Report @RepStevenSmith”. Then chose exactly how he is being abusive or harmful. Feel free to improvise here.
Get creative. Have fun with it! (Am I being tongue-in-cheek, or serious, Mr. Marty? Am I advocating dissent or worse — or just “being funny”?)
I went with the most verifiable problem — pretending to be someone else. All but ‘self-harm’ would work, in truth. And report @TJMitchJohnson, too, while you’re at it.
What I am doing is not requesting censorship — he has every right to voice even his nuttiest opinion — as himself. But this misleading narration of fake news smacks more of fraud than free speech. He is impersonating a government official; how is that okay? If you see it differently, go ahead: “Follow” such lunacy. Read away. Just DO NOT retweet his brand of irresponsible nonsense.
Please — if you are so inclined— do your part to silence the mouthpiece of one of the more perverse, asinine, immoral and dangerous purveyors of disinformation in the digital universe. Report @RepStevenSmith for being a danger to the public, and maybe Twitter will finally put an end to it.
Meanwhile, #Pizzagate itself simply will not die, and is somehow trending higher than ever. New claims immediately flooded Twitter that the gunman was a paid actor. False new claims. Which must be added. Fake and false are now essential tag ons for even the most ridiculous assertions, to combat more propagation.
It is disheartening. And I admit, looking at how much fake news and balderdash and divisive fear-mongering is out there — plugging just one leak of political fiction? It is not much.
But it’s a start.
The old saying is “loose lips sink ships.” I do not know what the new, updated version is for proper use of the internet.
I just know this has to stop, before someone actually does get shot. Over a bunch of reckless lies. Over nothing.
Over a so-called joke.
Honestly, people are definitely dumber. They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody fact-checks anything anymore — I mean, that’s how Trump got elected. He just said whatever he wanted, and people believed everything, and when the things he said turned out not to be true, people didn’t care because they’d already accepted it. It’s real scary. I’ve never seen anything like it.
— Paul Horner, fake Facebook newswriter
When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.
— Jonathan Swift