Trump Hoisted With His Own Petard

BuzzFeed and Fake News Show We’re Not Ready to Decide for Ourselves

Back in February, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Donald Trump about a video the President-Elect retweeted which claimed Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were ineligible for the presidency. This was Trump’s response:

Let people make their own determination. I’ve never looked at [the video], George. I honestly have never looked at it. As somebody said, he’s not [eligible]. And I retweeted it. I have 14 million people between Twitter and Facebook and Instagram, and I retweet things and we start dialogue and it’s very interesting.

Very interesting indeed.

This week, BuzzFeed published an unsubstantiated pile of intelligence indicating Russia was blackmailing and colluding with Trump. The editors said the report was unsubstantiated and, in some respects unverifiable, but wanted to let their readers make their own determination.

Maybe there is a time when we’re all capable of being our own journalists. Hell, if I have to be my own travel agent and grocery clerk now, anything is possible. But, we’re not there yet and until we are, those who we rely on must keep one fact in mind.

We cannot decide for ourselves. Period.

Those who claim otherwise are trying to convince you the conclusions they are leading you to are somehow your own. We don’t have the connections or contacts to find corroborating sources. We don’t have time to do our own research and find our own facts.

So we cut corners, trading critical thought for confirmation bias.

If you think Trump is the devil, then of course you’ll believe this report — and quickly forget all about that last time we followed agreeable albeit unsubstantiated intelligence into Iraq. If you think the mainstream media is lying and corrupt, you’ll find truth in social media, precisely because it’s not the establishment.

It’s not that we don’t need truth anymore, we need it more than ever. We need politicians who disagree on positions, but agree on facts. We need journalists who don’t give us what we want (splashy breaking news) but what we need (thorough research and responsible reporting).

We need something to save us from ourselves (like the Electoral College, but not that).

This was originally published as part of Second Crack, French Press Theory’s weekly recap delivered every Friday. Subscribe here to get your copy.

Like what you read? Give Tim Snyder a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.