Social media and the invasion of ignorance

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So earlier today I engaged in a small social media debate with a gaggle of folks from my (jarringly conservative and blindly pro-Trump) hometown. It went back and forth, and then someone wrote this:

Hiring actors at rallies, bussing in paid followers, smearing the life of a 12 year old rape victim, lying to dead marines mothers, selling favors from her position as secretary, Clinton foundation, TPP, un vested refugees, opening the borders, new world order, etc. and you think a big mouthed billionaire is a more dangerous option? SMH… as the pied piper played her tune, the blind followers followed!

And I thought to myself—fuck. Just, fuck. Because, truly, we as a society are fucked. We’ve become these creatures who no longer seek truth, and then verification of said truth. In other words, we are believers of the written word. Every written word. Which, perhaps, would be OK were said written word being printed in the news sections of the Wall Street Journal or New York Times or Washington Post or Financial Times. But now we gather much of our information from (wait for it … wait for it) Twitter! And Facebook! Not merely Twitter and Facebook, either—our friend’s friend’s friend’s crazy uncle’s sister’s brother’s cousin’s co-worker’s post. Then we cite the information as fact. As do others.

For example, if you read the above paragraph and take it as pure truth, you’d likely think, “Jesus Christ, Hillary Clinton is the worst evil villain ever.” But then you use this thing—called The Google. Like so …

Point 1: Hillary Clinton paid actors at rallies: Turns out to be false.

Point 2: Hillary Clinton smeared a 12-year-old rape victim: Turns out to be false.

Point 3: Hillary Clinton lied to the mothers of dead marines: This is, at best, debatable.

Point 4: Hillary Clinton sold favors as Secretary of State: This is, perhaps, a possibility. But there’s not even close to enough evidence to say, factually, this happened.

Point 5: Clinton foundation: This one is weird, especially because it’s uttered repeatedly by Trump supporters. Why? Because, factually, Donald Trump hasn’t put any money into his foundation for years, and has used donations to both pay his legal fees and make purchases. The Clinton Foundation, meanwhile, is one of the world’s highest rated non-profit operations.

Point 6: “un vested refugees”: I don’t know what the hell this means.

Point 7: Opening the borders: Has Hillary Clinton called for opening the borders? Really? That’s her stance—that the borders should be wide open and everyone can cross in from Mexico? Oh, wait—she’s horrible. We need someone who’s going to use his voodoo power to make Mexico pay for a wall.

Point 8: New World Order: I’m actually embarrassed being here. Because, as a Jew, I must lead a movement of the New World Order taking over the planet. Someone call Steve Carlton! Quick!

•••

My point here isn’t that the man who wrote that paragraph is stupid. I don’t know him, or his background. My point, truly, is that he’s uninformed, misguided, easily fooled. He’s believing fringe websites without checking facts. Then (and I’m taking an educated guess here) when someone does check the facts, he cries, “Bullshit liberal media!”

I weep for this country.

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