Our Side Needs To Stop Falling For Fake News
Posted On May 21, 2021
This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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The left is great at putting the right on the defensive, lumping us all in with a handful of extremists and making us defend them. As I’ve written previously, the left has figured out how to label conservative principles as conspiracy theories, racism, or other distasteful characterizations, making us run from our own views.
Part of the reason they get away with the conspiracy theory label is because we get caught spreading stories that may cross that line, and so the left then lumps in perfectly legitimate suspicions with them. This took place far too often regarding the presidential election.
Studies have shown that the right is more susceptible than the left at falling for fake news. This is because the left is up to so much corruption that gets swept under the rug by the left-leaning legal system and MSM that many of the stories seem plausible. The relatively new conservative satire site Babylon Bee is now almost as popular as The Onion, which has been around for years and likely has a far bigger budget, because there is so much craziness believable about the left.
Finding the Truth
The problem is there is so much information out there now, how do you determine whether something is accurate or not? Legitimate major conservative websites don’t have the time to vet everything. There is no major conservative fact checking site (I have been attempting to start one in order to combat this). So unless you have time to watch an endless stream of 45-minute long videos, what can be done? I am buried with requests from conservatives to watch videos made by people I have never heard of, and cannot keep up with it all. It got worse during the 2020 presidential election, when everyone and their brother made a video about election fraud. COVID-19 compounded things, with all the videos about masks and vaccines.
The fake news videos that tend to get the most steam are ones done by apparent “experts.” You want to believe retired military intelligence and nurses, why would they lie? Well, it’s much more complex than that. Here’s what’s going on. A lot of people take a piece of information and run with it before thoroughly vetting it. Because we’re too overloaded with information, we lack time and become sloppy. We hear something that sounds good, from someone good, and we are wired to want to believe it. We may not spend the full hour watching the entire video before sharing it. Or something halfway through it jumps out as a red flag, but we ignore it because the rest of the video seems so good.
Be a Discriminating News Consumer
Patrick Byrne, the former CEO of Overstock who got involved with President Trump’s legal team challenging the election, revealed in an exposé after the fact on January 27 that Michael Flynn drafted a plan for Trump to bring in the National Guard and U.S. Marshals. None of this ever materialized, of course. But it got leaked at the time to activists who ran with it. They probably only heard hyped-up versions of the plan, which had become distorted being passed person to person, which made it seem likely to happen (if anyone has ever really studied Trump however, they would know such drastic action is not his style). What retired military intelligence officer doesn’t believe Flynn? Flynn comes across as a very honest man. While he probably proposed the plan, it was never under serious consideration.
Another recent example is Mike Lindell’s “Absolute Proof” documentary about election fraud. While much of it seemed plausible, there was one lengthy segment discussing foreign hacking of voting machines that was noticeably lacking in evidence. The movie displayed logs of the alleged hacking, and cited just one person, Mary Fanning, who has little information available about her on the internet. There is no explanation as to how Fanning obtained the logs nor any of the technical details about how it worked. For something that serious, that incredulous, you can’t just expect people to believe some little known woman claiming it’s true. If she didn’t reveal more details because she was afraid for her safety, then why did she reveal her name and as much as she has?
Maybe clear, irrefutable evidence will come out that there was foreign hacking, so the investigations need to continue. But one person saying so with some logs that could have been made up isn’t enough to get anywhere, so it allows the left to pile on and claim the right is making up conspiracy theories.
One more way these types of unproven stories pop up is in a vague, general style. The activist will use a lot of attention getting words, like patriots, terrorism, God bless, prayer, collusion, Russians, hacking, mysterious deaths, the elites, etc. There isn’t any real coherent message, and the dots never connect. It’s just a jumbled mess of hysteria (I know someone semi-famous who does this constantly). While it might sound good at a campaign rally, it serves little purpose other than to waste time and divert people from figuring out what’s really going on.
I believe the vast majority of these people are patriots who think they are doing the right thing. But the left will use their sloppiness to discredit the rest of us. Those of us who are really laboring to get to the bottom of issues like election fraud get lumped in with their efforts, and we end up wasting a lot of time defending them instead of doing the tedious work required to hold up to the Democrats’ intense scrutiny.
They also waste our time watching and then researching all of their ideas. I don’t have time to vet every video out there. The videos usually end up the same; usually a grain of truth stretched to an unrealistic conclusion, with lots of vague, attention-getting words. Stop blindly promoting them; if you don’t have time to vet them, don’t share them.