Far-right Republicans turn GOP into cabal built on fake news
In a communication course I took in college, the teacher started out with an old board game. He whispered a story to a student who whispered it to the next classmate and so on. When he reached the last person, the story was completely different. The teacher told us that the exercise provided an important lesson that we should never rely solely on second or third hand information. We always have to check the facts. And always consider the source.
This advice, offered 60 years ago, is still relevant today, as far-right Republicans turn the Grand Old Party into a cabal built on forgery, fantasy, hate and lies. The biggest lie continues to be the democracy-endangering rumor that electoral fraud cost Donald Trump the presidency last November. Even Trump’s attorney general and his then director of electoral cybersecurity admitted that no widespread electoral fraud had occurred. But Trump continues to press this lie on gullible supporters six months after Joe Biden defeated Trump by 7 million popular votes and 74 electoral votes.
While Trump’s big lie is deeply troubling, other recent and wacky cases of twisted facts also show just how desperate Republicans have become and how far they are ready to go. There are other signs that many Republicans, including GOP political leaders, have no qualms about overstepping ethical and moral boundaries under the continued influence of an amoral former president.
Two recent examples would be laughable if the right didn’t pass them off as fact to try to embarrass President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, who are busy showing us how government is supposed to work after four years of incompetence. from Trump.
One example is the false story that Biden’s recently announced climate protection plan includes restrictions on meat consumption. No, Biden isn’t coming for our burgers like the far-right wackos would have us believe. It’s a bunch of nonsense they’re spreading, in part to attack Biden’s plans to aggressively tackle climate change before it’s too late. PolitiFact fact checkers evaluated the story “Pants on fire.”
The genesis of the story was an article in the conservative British tabloid, the Daily Mail. He linked Biden’s climate plan to a 2020 University of Michigan study, which found that if we eat less meat, we could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The study had nothing to do with Biden’s plan. But that hasn’t stopped Fox News and other conservative media from grasping and embellishing the story. It also hasn’t stopped top politicians, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, from spreading the lie.
Another recent example of right-wing deception came when the New York Post (controlled by billionaire Rupert Murdoch, who also controls Fox News) ran an article that claimed migrant children were given “welcome kits” that included copies from a children’s book written by Vice President Harris. . The story sparked outrage from Fox News and GOP politicians, including some who questioned whether Harris was taking advantage of the border crisis.
The story received a rating four Pinocchio the Washington Post fact-checker, who determined it was from a photo of the book lying on a cot at a California shelter. It turns out that someone donated this one book to a local book and toy drive for migrant children. The New York Post reporter who wrote the original article resigned, saying she was instructed to write the incorrect account.
Why do far-right Republicans keep regurgitating this garbage without doing a basic fact-check first? On the one hand, they continue to get away with it. On the other hand, they distract from the fact that they don’t have any positive ideas or policies to come up with. Take a little piece of information and twist it until it turns into a big lie, that’s all they have. My teacher would have missed them all.
McCann is a contributing columnist for The Advertiser. He is a retired journalist and can be reached at [email protected]