If you’re at all like me, when you are talking with liberal friends and it turns to politics the conversation gets heated. Not from my end, but theirs. They quickly turn emotional, taking everything personally. In the end, I’m left wondering why I engaged, but more importantly, I’m left wonder where they got their information from. It’s just as President Ronald Reagan famously said, “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant, it’s that they know so much that isn’t so.”
In Reagan’s time, liberals got their crazier information from the “rumor mill.” As weird as it is for anyone who grew up in the Internet age, the “rumor mill” existed. It was quite efficient in a time when phones were tethered to walls and were only used for actually talking to people.
False information managed to circumnavigate the globe at a time when it had to travel from person to person verbally. Ask anyone over 35, no matter where they grew up, if they’d heard the story about Rod Stewart needing his stomach pumped or about Richard Gere’s trip to the emergency room. I won’t give you any more details than that, but if you grew up before the Internet was invented you’ve heard the stories.
From Maine to California, those and other lies managed to spread everywhere. They were malicious and inconsequential to anyone’s life, but we all heard them.
Now that the Internet exists, lies can spread faster than a cold on a plane. And each one of them stands a reasonable chance of becoming the truth, at least for those wanting them to be true.
In politics, we have a natural tendency to believe the worst of our opponents. Mostly because individuals aren’t really seen as people, they’re seen as representatives of ideals.
If you tell me something awful about Chris Hayes or Rachel Maddow, I’ll likely give it some credibility. I’ll look into it for myself and figure it out, but if you tell me Maddow is abusive to her maid or Hayes treats his show staff like indentured servant then for a second I’d probably think, “That figures.”
If I looked into it and couldn’t find anything or found it was from some random website or an anonymous tweet, I’d realize how crazy it was and be thankful I’d kept this “information” to myself.
But the initial impulse to believe it would be there. And I know I’m not unique.
Sadly, too many so-called adults involved in politics don’t share my willingness to keep my powder dry until I’ve verified information or at least found it from a credible source. A large portion of those people happen to be on the left. Many have media credentials.
When California Senator Dianne Feinstein spread vicious gossip this week about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh from an anonymous source who won’t come forward and doesn’t want to be identified, it was Gere’s gerbil all over again.
The gossip spread and grew on social media. So-called “news” outlets wrote stories featuring rumors and wild speculation. They filled in the blanks with their own biases because it just HAD TO BE TRUE.
It was a disgusting smear tactic used as a desperate attempt to win a lost battle launched by a desperate politician being challenged from her left. And while conservatives said, “If you have something, show me the proof,” liberals declared there was no need for proof. They wanted it to be true so badly they made it so in their heads.
The Kavanaugh story wasn’t alone. This week saw another fake story about United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and $52,000 taxpayer dollars. The waste was committed by the Obama administration at a time they knew Hillary Clinton was going to win and their extravagance would never be reported. Since Trump won, the New York Times implied it was Haley’s decision, naming her in the headline and burying the truth in paragraph six. Since most people don’t read beyond the headlines, the rumor born by the Times spread quickly.
The Times eventually added a note to the piece clarifying that Haley had nothing to do with the purchase. It didn’t clarify how the “unfair impression,” as they called it, came to be in the first place. But we know how it did – they found a way to write a story that reflected negatively on someone they disagree with politically and they took their shot. Many of the “journalists” who declared Haley a near-criminal didn’t even bother to explain.
The “clarification” came hours later. The lie had already metastasized and now resides in the heads of millions of liberals who “knew” she was corrupt because she wasn’t one of them. If the fact that the Obama administration was the guilty party ever finds its way into their fertile minds it won’t take root, it can’t. It doesn’t fit with what they want to believe.
Once something is on social media it becomes true for those willing to believe it. Whether it is or not isn’t even a secondary consideration. And in the age of President Donald Trump, liberals are willing and wanting to believe anything negative about anyone with an “R” as their political affiliation. This week gave us many examples. Next week is bound to bring more.
I detail this and similar tactics in my book, “Outrage, INC.: How the Liberal Mob Ruined Science, Journalism, and Hollywood.” I discuss my book with conservative icon Brent Bozell from the Media Research Center on CSPAN-2’s Book TV program “After Words”today (Sunday) at 6:00 pm, 9:00 pm, and midnight eastern time. A full hour of me and Brent discussing the book and how progressive liberals have ruined these important institutions. Check it out, and order a copy of the book today. You’ll like both of them. Then tweet me your thoughts at @derekahunter, I’m curious to read them. My wife and I are moving this weekend, we need a little more room before baby number 2 is born next month, and I need the distraction from a life in boxes. Also, check out the interview I conducted with retired Army Ranger and bestselling author of “Outlaw Platoon” Sean Parnell on my podcast. It was a blast. Thanks for reading, back to the boxes for me…