There’s Something Worse Than Fake News


There’s Something Worse Than Fake News


All of us are bound to feel offended from time to time. It’s part of being human. What happens, though, when being offended is a permanent or chronic condition? We’ve heard a lot about fake news in recent days, but I’ve noticed something that concerns me at least as much if not more: fake controversies.

If fake news pollutes the public discourse with falsehoods and confusion, fake controversies pollute it by manipulating emotions and fanning the flame of people’s offendedness.

Maybe you’ve heard, for example, about NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice’s commercial for Popeye’s Chicken? In it he wore a “taste-mask” comprised partly of a drumstick rotating in front of his mouth. Along came the headlines inciting people to be offended. “Jerry just set black people back 437 years,” wrote one man in response. “Thanks, Jerry. We’re slaves again.”

Then there was the tweet by Jerry Seinfeld, giving a quick shout-out for an upcoming episode of his internet series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Seinfeld made a pun on the name of his guest Lewis Black by tweeting “Black’s life matters.” Another headline was born, with purportedly outraged readers calling it “offensive” and “lame.”

I’m not suggesting that legitimate controversies don’t exist, or that there is nothing to which a person might rightly take offense. I am distinguishing real controversies from fake ones. In a certain context, a black man wearing a fried-chicken-enhanced helmet could certainly be seen as a mean-spirited kind of stereotyping. But that is clearly not the case with the Popeye’s advertisement. Popeye’s just happens to specialize in fried chicken, and their celebrity pitchman happens to be black.

This is non-controversial, unless you are searching diligently for material from which you can craft an inflammatory headline.

These fake controversies can be worse than fake news partly because they are more insulting to our intelligence. Their headlines are sensationalized to lead you to believe that somebody must have really “stepped in it.” Typically, however — if I may pay homage to the aforementioned Mr. Seinfeld — the story turns out a controversy about nothing.

It isn’t hard to figure out what’s behind this trend. These stories are click-bait to lure readers to a website. Anything salacious enough to catch the eye will do. People can’t resist reading about what famous personalities have done to get in trouble.

These stories do not need fact-checkers, for the facts are not at issue. Fake controversies are not a matter of false information. Their manipulations are more sinister and subtle. The writers want to persuade you that you ought to take offense at what you’re reading.

Purveyors of fake controversy are shameless enough to exploit any situation. Just after the death of actress Carrie Fisher, a writer for the Huffington Post invented a controversy about a tweet by actor Steve Martin. He had written, “When I was a young man, Carrie Fisher was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. She turned out to be witty and bright as well.” The article’s subheading called this a “sexist tweet,” and Martin soon deleted it.

The game is so easy, even the most untalented and unoriginal writers can play. Famous tweeters supply enough material to work with every day. All you need is to isolate one that could have the slightest potential to offend. In such a huge population of followers it is statistically likely you’ll find someone taking offense. This allows you to talk about there being a “backlash” or “controversy.”

The famous targets or victims of fake controversies are partly their enablers. Fear of political incorrectness robs them of the fortitude to stand up to those pretending to be offended. It’s easier to match fake outrage with fake apologies. Once you appease the petty gods, you hope quietly to move on.

What a strange ritual. We build offensive straw men so that the public can experience the brief emotional high of pretended outrage. This is unhealthy for the public mind. It skews our perspective by tempting us to waste emotional energy on fake controversies. It can blind us to more substantive matters, or make us fail to notice and address genuinely terrible offenses against humanity taking place in the world.

We should stand up to this and call it what it is. We should identify it as shallow, petty, banal and manipulative. We can and must be better than the manufacturers of fake controversies think we are. (For more from the author of “There’s Something Worse Than Fake  please click HERE) http://joemiller.us/2017/03/theres-something-worse-fake-news/

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LIGHTER SIDE

 

Political Cartoons by AF Branco

Political Cartoons by AF Branco

ALERT ALERT

ALERT --> Minnesota Elects First Muslim Congresswoman In US History!!!

Minnesota voters sent Somali immigrant Ilhan Omar of the DFL party to Congress on Tuesday night after she defeated Republican candidate Jennifer Zielinski by a 78-22% margin.

Omar and Michigan House candidate Rashida Tlaib (D) both became the first two Muslim-American women to serve in Congress after their election victories on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

View image on Twitter
Laura Loomer@LauraLoomer

Yesterday Ilhan Omar won her election in Minnesota, becoming the first Muslim woman elected to Congress.

Today, she had to appear before a judge for her hearing regarding ethics violations.

It’s been less than 24 hrs since she won and she’s already in court for her corruption.

2,159 people are talking about this

Omar, along with being the first Muslim women elected to Congress is also the first Somali-American member of Congress, a seat in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional district which was previously held by Keith Ellison, who was the first Muslim ever elected to US Congress. Minnesota’s 5th Congressional district has not elected a Republican to Congress since 1962. The district includes Minneapolis and its surrounding suburbs.

The Minnesota state congresswoman ran a progressive platform which included “Medicare for all,” criminal justice reform and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Omar, a Somali refugee, came to the U.S. at 12 years old, which is why she often attacks President Trump‘s travel ban against a number of Muslim-majority countries which happen to be terror hotbeds.

In August, Investigative Journalist Laura Loomer confronted both Ilhan and Tlaib, who have both expressed hatred for Jewish people and who are campaigning with pro-HAMAS Linda Sarsour and CAIR, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

When Loomer confronted Tlaib at one of Ilhan’s campaign events, Tlaib assaulted Loomer, and a police report was filed.

Omar’s campaign and election, however, are still clouded in controversy. Omar has been accused of marrying her brother and committing immigration fraud.

The day after her victory, Omar appeared in court to face a judge about the campaign finance violations she has been accused of.

Ilhan Omar was also arrested in 2013 for trespassing.

View image on Twitter
Laura Loomer@LauraLoomer

This is Ilhan Omar.

She won an election last night & is now the first Somali woman elected to US Congress.

This is her mug shot.

Along w/ being a criminal, as you can see, she committed immigration fraud by marrying her brother so he could get a green card.

Good riddance.

Laura Loomer@LauraLoomer

Yesterday Ilhan Omar won her election in Minnesota, becoming the first Muslim woman elected to Congress.

Today, she had to appear before a judge for her hearing regarding ethics violations.

It’s been less than 24 hrs since she won and she’s already in court for her corruption.

Omar has also faced criticism for her ties to CAIR, campaigning with jihadi activist Linda Sarsour, Keith Ellison, who has been accused of domestic violence, and her public display of anti-Semitism, all of which has been either under-reported and ignored by the local Minnesota media.

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