In the early morning hours of the day today, I made a post to the Reverb Press Facebook page, of a meme shared from another page, asking readers to fact check it. Here’s what I said in the post:
Crowd Fact Check: Please research this and present your findings in the comments.
PS: Yes, we ARE encouraging people to get used to doing independent fact checking… Why? The only antidote to “alternative facts” is alternative fact CHECKERS. Be one.
I have to admit setting something of a trap, in so doing. You see, we live in an age when information is at our fingertips, and yet the predominant argument of our time is about whose “facts” to trust. Which is asinine! There has only ever been one person any person should trust completely when it comes to checking facts, and that is themselves.
And it seems most in the media are afraid to admit this because it means giving up some of their power, derived from being the arbiters of accepted truth. But contrary to the popular narrative, the REAL problem in this country isn’t that there’s an abundance of “fake news”. The REAL problem is that there’s an abundance of people in this country who are too damn lazy to think or research for themselves, who fall for fake news.
Let’s get something straight, America. Facts are truths, “alternative facts” are lies. And if you’re taking ANYONE’S word for what is true, and what is not, and are not doing the research yourself to find out the real truth even though you live in a time when that’s easier than ever, at the truth is very literally at your fingertips, and the tool to find it is in your pocket, then you ought to be ashamed of yourself for that!
[pullquote align=”right”]Let’s get something straight, America. Facts are truths, “alternative facts” are lies.[/pullquote]For cryin’ out loud, people, at least figure out what’s truly true based on actual, factual facts and not the “alternative”, and figure out whether or not a “news” outlet, whether opinion based or not, tends to uphold those facts, or deny them, before you decide to take their word for it – or not!
Of course, when posting that graphic this morning, and asking people to do their own fact checking, I had already done my own. The graphic was a screenshot of a tweet making an allegation about President Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen’s payoff to Stormy Daniels, that had been shared by another Facebook page. And I knew full well from having bothered to google the amount of the payments cited in the tweet, and in the second page of those results finding the evidence that backed up the allegation, that the allegation was truthful.
The Trump Campaign had, in fact, billed the Trump Organization for all but 28 cents of the full $130,000 amount that Cohen paid to Stormy Daniels. Four out of those 5 charges were billed the same day, October 17th of 2016, that Cohen made the payment to Daniels. The fifth coming on the 25th of that same month. Just days before the election. And in case you’re wondering, which you shouldn’t be if you have any common sense, the odds are that means it was an illegal payoff by the campaign, which they tried to launder through the Trump Organization.
I was pleased to see, when I checked the comments, that several people took that charge seriously, and did the work to check for themselves, and share their findings with the class. But sure enough, there were also those – way too many of those – who didn’t.
And there was one in particular who exemplified exactly everything that is wrong with our country, when it comes to our woefully uninformed, self deluded, populace, often totally convinced of their own rightness, in complete ignorance of the facts. Convinced not only that they were right, but also that finding out the truth was beyond their abilities – even in the age of Google, Bing, OpenSecrets.org, FactCheck.org, Politifact.com, etc. And convinced that we were somehow nefarious for asking the question without just giving them the answer on a silver spoon.
Even this person, who is by all indications a good person who wants to get things right (and knows all too well just how bad President Trump is, and said so) still was not prepared to believe in his own ability to do his own research and find the truth for himself. And so, he made judgments based on what seemed “implausible” to him. And then lashed out at us for “spreading lies”.
“I deleted Reverb Press in the past because they were spreading lies just like the conservative sites do,” this otherwise decent guy who we’ve already established decides what’s “true” and what’s a “lie” based on his own sense of plausibility and not on any kind of research, said. “There is enough bad stuff which is TRUE about Trump – we should not make ourselves lose credibility on the real things by spreading this stupid stuff.”
And in so doing he’s falling for the “hyper-partisan” fallacy being spread by those who would like to paint truth tellers with the same broad brush as conspiracy theorists. This notion that if you don’t treat an evil agenda as being just as valid as the opposing good agenda, then you’re being too “one sided”, and should be censored. Those, who stand to profit by staying on top of the media heap, or by setting themselves up as the censors doing what the government, constrained as it is by the First Amendment, can’t – and taking bribes (ad buys) to bypass the filters they put in place, from anyone who can afford it, truth tellers and liars alike.
And we all know there’s not much money in speaking truth to power…
And, folks, that is what’s being used to silence the truth tellers, as this nation slips into fascism. And that leaves just one option left to Americans who want to know the truth… If you want to know for sure a job is done right, you’ve got to do it yourself. At least enough times to figure out who the truth tellers are. And then, you need to support them, and not expect them to do your work for you, for free.
You can do this, America. The truth is out there, and I want to believe in you. You can find it. You just have to look for it. You just have to not be so cripplingly dependent on others to do your thinking for you that you actually bother to think and research for yourselves. And, I daresay, it’s your patriotic duty to do it.
Featured image by Edar, Pixabay, Public Domain.