We the media have “fact-checked” President Trump like we have fact-checked no other human being on the planet, and he’s certainly given us plenty to write about. That’s probably why it’s so easy to find lists enumerating and examining his mistakes, missteps and “lies.” But as self-appointed arbiters of truth, we’ve largely excused our own unprecedented string of fact-challenged reporting. The truth is, formerly well-respected, top news organizations are making repeat, unforced errors in numbers that were unheard of just a couple of years ago. Our repeat mistakes involve declaring that Trump’s claims are “lies” when they are matters of opinion, or when the truth between conflicting sources is unknowable; taking Trump’s statements and events out of context; reporting secondhand accounts against Trump without attribution as if they’re established fact; relying on untruthful, conflicted sources; and presenting reporter opinions in news stories,without labeling them as opinions.
I want to fight. I want to be positive. But every once in a while I swallow the dreaded “Black Pill” (the belief that all is lost and there’s really no sense in moving on). What I’m about to write may sound as if I have swallowed the whole bottle, but I need to present a commentary on what I’ve been seeing for the past 10 months, and especially the last eight days.
The terms “insurrection,” “sedition,” and “treason” are being shouted by politicians and the corporate press (CP) like a 4-year-old the first time they discover the “F-word.” And their main target has been Donald Trump. If those terms were being associated with just the president, it would have most likely elicited a response from me. However, that’s not the point of this missive. Although the House voted to impeach Trump, the CP, and certain politicians, are not stopping at punishing only him, they are attempting to connect Trump’s most ardent supporters with voting for, and supporting, one they claim is guilty of treason. The way I interpret this is, the CP is saying voters and Trump factions have given “support” to an enemy of the State in order to punish them as well. The CP is asking regular people to identify anyone they can who was at, in or near the Capitol on 1/6/2021 and the arrests have started. Why would this concern me?
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) told her social media followers earlier this week that Democrats in Congress might respond to the Capitol riot with some sort of “media literacy” initiative.
The phrase media literacy ordinarily implies helping individuals make sense of the media landscape, but AOC seems to have more in mind than that: She suggested “we’re going to have to figure out how we rein in our media environment so that you can’t just spew disinformation and misinformation.”
It’s true that both traditional media and social media sometimes spread “disinformation and misinformation.” But the federal government has no formal role to play in suppressing its spread. The First Amendment explicitly bars Congress from infringing on freedom of the press or freedom of speech, and the Supreme Court has recognized no exceptions for disinformation. If the government could ban disinformation, after all, it could use that as a cover for banning speech that is not actually false but merely critical of the government, or of specific politicians. Recall that Democrats swiftly denounced The New York Post‘s report on Hunter Biden’s foreign connections as “disinformation,” even though many underlying aspects of the story have since been confirmed.
CNN anchor Don Lemon said Wednesday night on his show that Americans who voted for President Donald Trump were on the side of “the Klan” and “Nazis.”
Lemon said, “We’ve got to get down to the nitty-gritty of what this is. And it is about what I said, and I standby it, preserving whiteness in the worst possible way. If you find yourself, Chris, in a crowd and the person next to you is carrying a Confederate battle flag or the person next to you has on a neo-Nazi symbol of some type or has on a ‘Camp Auschwitz’ then in your mind wouldn’t you say my goodness, I have made the wrong decision I need to get out of here?”
Fellow network anchor Chris Cuomo said, “Now what you hear is, ‘Well, you can’t say that everybody who voted for Trump is like the people who went into the Capitol. Response?”
Lemon said, “If you are on that side, you need to think about the side you are on. I am never on the side of the Klan. Principled people, conservative or liberal, never on the Klan’s side. Principled people, conservative or liberal, never on the Nazi’s side. Principled people, conservative or liberal, never on the side that treats their fellow Americans as less than, that says that your fellow Americans should not exist. That says your fellow Americans should be in a concentration camp, or sides with slavery, or sides with any sort of bigotry.”
Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Tuesday that Congress is looking into reining in “our media environment” to prevent the spread of disinformation.
Ocasio-Cortez discussed how she feared for her life during last week’s Capitol Riot in a live stream on Instagram Tuesday evening, Fox News reported. A viewer asked Ocasio-Cortez if Congress is discussing “truth and reconciliation or media literacy initiatives” to help with healing following the turbulent events of the past few weeks, the publication reported.
“I can say, there is absolutely a commission being discussed but it seems to be more investigatory in style rather than truth and reconciliation, so I think that’s an interesting concept for us to explore,” Ocasio-Cortez said.