The War on Information

The War on Information
Nick BrothersThe Free Weekly Managing Editor

Nick Brothers
The Free Weekly Managing Editor

The age of public mistrust of the media and a post-facts society is officially upon us, and our President-Elect is its mascot.

I’m sure you’ve all been like me, repeating the masochistic ritual of browsing through news article after news article where it seems like the world is taking crazy pills, trying to keep your wits together. Just when it seems like it couldn’t get more ridiculous, “Pizzagate” happens.

To the uninitiated, there’s a ridiculous conspiracy theory that Comet Ping Pong pizza parlor in Washington, D.C. is an underground child sex trafficking ring ran by the Clintons and the Democratic Party. In leaked emails, John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager emailed Comet’s owner about doing a fundraiser. Some people thought — or rather, were led to believe by trolls— phrases like “cheese pizza” were code words for “child pornography.”

Because just about everyone didn’t believe pizzagate and it was debunked by “lamestream media”, there in itself existed a slippery slope of denial just thick enough to string along doubt that maybe everyone’s in on it — because of the notion the Clintons are above the law. That little sliver of doubt that you aren’t getting the whole story is all it takes.

So, it came to a head. On Dec. 4, a man came in and fired three shots from an assault rifle in the restaurant during open hours to investigate if there actually was a trafficking ring going on. He promptly surrendered to police after finding no evidence. Gee, mister.

That’s just an example of fake news becoming news. It’s a good primer for the meat of what I’m getting at here.

Just a couple days ago, the CIA formally announced it has evidence to believe Russia hacked and interfered in our election to tip the favor toward Donald Trump. What does Trump do? He scoffs, and straight up says he doesn’t believe it. This is the guy who literally encouraged the Russian government to hack Hillary Clinton at a rally.

In the comment section of the news outlet where I found this story, I saw before me a literal battle for information. One side of the comments claimed with commanding confidence the news outlet was peddling fake, distorted news, while the other side defended the reporting, calling out the deniers. It’s this slippery slope of uncertainty in facts and news nowadays that’s poisoning us.

Now Trump is saying he doesn’t need daily intelligence briefings because he’s “very smart.”

Just… uh… what?

If we were talking face to face right now, you’d see me laugh for a few seconds, sigh, face palm and then enter a temporary unresponsive thousand-yard stare.

Let’s not forget Trump’s Wormtongue—Lord of the Rings fans, where you at—and White House Strategist is Steve Bannon, who runs the unscrupulous Right now, some of the headlines on are as follows: “10 Ways the CIA ‘Russian Hacking’ Story is Left-Wing ‘Fake News’”, “NY Times Hiring Fake Journalist to Cover Trump White House Evokes ‘Fake But Accurate’ History” and the unbelievable “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women In Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews.”

Oh, and let’s not forget Trump has surrounded himself with other swamp monsters who have led him to believe that there’s no such thing as climate change, which is now the official position of the Trump administration. I guess let’s just forget 97 percent of the scientific community agree it’s evident climate change is being caused by human activity. Scientists aren’t to be trusted.

There’s too many angles to discuss about the state of media, our information brokers, today. Maybe it’s a mix of the news-for-profit model we have led to disregarding ethics for dollars (nothing new there), the partisan polarization of media and the increasingly blurring lines of opinion and news from numerous online outlets. It’s gotten so bad I’m not sure where to begin in how it can regain wide public trust again, other than being relentless in truth.

The thing is, there is definitely poor quality, malicious news, and there is still absolutely high quality truth-to-power news out there. Unfortunately, it’s becoming difficult to discern between the two, and facts are suddenly up for debate.

But sheesh. All hail our “very smart” Idiot King.

Thanks for reading.

Categories: Commentary