(I can’t find a good Latin translation in the fashion of “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?“)
Ah, the early days of the internet, back when I thought it would be a thing that brought people of differing viewpoints together and fostered understanding and open dialog. “Naive” isn’t the word for it. I was about as wrong as a human being can be. Whereas the average nutter might be isolated in their real-world community, or have a thin thread of communication over AM radio and Infowars with others of their ilk, the internet allows them to get together in one place and race to see who can be the most radical.
If you think I’m overstating it, check out The Least Credible Site On the Internet*: Free Republic. This is what happens when a group of like-thinking individuals get together, carefully prune out sources of information that disagree with the things that they all agree are true, and decide that anyone who isn’t 100% with them isn’t with them at all: You get a site where the members call Texas Senator John Cornyn a “liberal.“
If you read the comments, you’ll see that they dismiss Factcheck.Org out of hand as a liberal organization. That’s the bit I want to concentrate on: The outright paranoia that any attempt to actually determine truth that doesn’t agree with them is necessarily not only wrong, but wrong due to bias against the Real Americans of Free Republic. It’s a conspiracy!
Here’s today’s wonderful example: Recently, the nutters excavated the long-debunked idea that Elena Kagan was appointed to the Supreme Court as a quid pro quo for defending Obama against suits that challenged his citizenship, and they’re saying that the bastion of liberalism, Snopes, is wrong to call the claim false. Got it? Snopes says that it’s false that Kagan represented Obama against these suits, the Freepers are saying that Snopes is lying and that they’re secret liberals.
Here’s the article on the “No Compromise” web ring: Snopes NO MORE The Self-proclaimed of Urban Legend has been debunked.
Woo-ee! That looks pretty bad, huh? A bunch of Supreme Court documents with the names “Elena Kagan” and “Barack Obama” on them. How did the comrades at Snopes spin that to make it sound like Kagan hadn’t been defending Obama against citizenship suits?
Well, here’s the article on Snopes. Kaganroo Court.
So…wait. Everything that the nutters cite as evidence is specifically addressed on Snopes and it’s total crap. The “No Compromise” writer apparently has a “No Reading Comprehension” web ring as well, because it’s like he didn’t even read the article. He took all of the evidence that Snopes looked at and simply decided it meant something very different than what it said. Snopes even went to the trouble to debunk the debunkers, which is really further than they needed to go based on the facts of the issue.
It’s like the old Clinton death list all over again. Stupid misinformation keeps getting recycled and reposted as though there are new facts to consider. It’s not only insultingly dumb, it’s really lazy (and don’t get me started on the copious spelling errors). It’s a waste of everyone’s time. Sadly, it doesn’t even serve any real purpose for the Freepers. They already believe what they believe, so new facts-that-ain’t-exactly-true aren’t going to move the needle.
Dear Freepers, please do us all a favor: Please just say “I believe what I believe and the facts be damned.” It would save all of us a lot of time.
* As determined by me. YMMV.