MEMORIES PIZZA: WHERE THE TRUMP REVOLUTION BEGAN? “I don’t know that I ever would have recommended watching a Milo video, but this one is genuinely informative, even moving. The interview with owners Kevin O’Connor and his daughter Crystal doesn’t start until the nine-minute mark, so fast-forward. They are gentle, kind, normal, small-town people. This interview really amplifies the horror of what the Social Justice Warrior mob did to them. It’s a relief to see that their business still thrives. Milo points out in the interview that the O’Connors have no problem serving gay clientele — they served him, after all. He also says in the interview that he believes the liberal mob descending on their heads is one of the events that shocked a lot of Americans into voting for Donald Trump. Trump was not a candidate at that point, of course; what he means is that seeing what the left can and will do to the little guy, all in the name of #LoveWins™, helped radicalize a lot of middle-American people towards Trump.”
There’s no way to watch this clip and not detect the taste of sour grapes, just as there’s no way to watch the recent media/left hand-wringing over “fake news” and not see an attempt to explain away Trump’s shocking upset as some sort of grand scam. It must be a comfort to believe that a key reason you lost 300+ electoral votes to a guy who got caught on tape talking about grabbing women by the p***y was because someone in Macedonia wrote a story on Facebook about you eating babies or whatever. I agree that “fake news” has real-world consequences. You know what else has real-world consequences? Not running ads in Wisconsin. Or not running ads anywhere for six months about what you plan to do for the average blue-collar voter.
To be fair, though, I don’t think she means this as a commentary (or mainly as a commentary) on the election. She’s obviously talking about the guy who gorged himself on “Pizzagate” material then thought it’d be a good idea to grab his rifle and head down to Comet Ping Pong to liberate the many child sex slaves supposedly held captive inside. Imagine his surprise when he found no captives there. (“The intel on this wasn’t 100 percent.”) As with all political and media stories now, reaction to the “fake news” panic splits pretty reliably along partisan lines, with the left overly credulous because it wants to believe Trump could only have won because right-wingers are paranoid dupes and the right overly skeptical because it wants to use “fake news” as a cudgel against big media. (Virtually every conservative reflection on “fake news” has boiled down to the idea that mainstream media is the real fake news.) I think the influence of “fake news” is overstated — if you’re inclined to believe a story that Hillary Clinton eats babies, chances are you weren’t voting for her in the first place — but if you missed this piece a few weeks ago, have a look now. There are in fact people out there who are making things up whole cloth, just like The Onion does except without the laughs, because they can make bank on it. One amazing example:
[T]he most successful post BuzzFeed News found from a Macedonian site is based on a story from a fake news website. The headline on the story from ConservativeState.com was “Hillary Clinton In 2013: ‘I Would Like To See People Like Donald Trump Run For Office; They’re Honest And Can’t Be Bought.’” The post is a week old and has racked up an astounding 480,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook. (To put that into perspective, the New York Times’ exclusive story that revealed Donald Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns generated a little more than 175,000 Facebook interactions in a month.)
The viral Clinton story was sourced from TheRightists.com, a site that admits it publishes both real and fake content. According to emails released by WikiLeaks, Clinton said in a private speech to Goldman Sachs that she would like to see more successful business people enter politics. But she did not mention Donald Trump in any way. The quote used in the headline is false.
Some fake-news writers have written pieces for mainstream outlets since the election boasting about how easy it was invent a story and have it catch on online, especially on the right. There’s been enough attention to the phenomenon by now that Sheryl Sandberg had to formally deny responsibility for swinging the election to Trump in an interview on the “Today” show this morning because Facebook hasn’t figured out a way to filter out “fake news” yet. I think you can simultaneously believe that (a) the media sucks, by and large, and (b) people should be far more skeptical about what they read online, especially when what they’re reading flatters their political prejudices. Whether or not “fake news” is really a thing, motivated reasoning is definitely a thing.
Steve Simpson, a constitutional lawyer, and director of Legal Studies at the Ayn Rand Institute has a brilliant op-ed in TheHill on why Free speech is a right, not a political weapon. He makes the case for why free speech “protects the right to take the actions necessary to make one’s speech heard, whether that […]