‘Fake News’ Didn’t Do Anything To You

Rich Republicans did: 

The same qualities that bind the townspeople together can, in turn, be alienating to newcomers. The refugee community has begun to experience this effect as its demographic makeup has changed. Over the past decade and a half, as conflict spread across North Africa and the Middle East, Twin Falls started to resettle larger numbers of refugees with darker skin who follow an unfamiliar religion — two things that make it difficult to blend into a town that is 80 percent white.

On a national scale, an ascendant network of anti-Muslim activists and provocateurs has exploited the fears brought on by these changes, finding a platform and a receptive audience online. The narrative they espouse — on blogs with names like Jihad Watch — is that America, currently 1 percent Muslim, is in the midst of an Islamic invasion. Central to the worldview of these bloggers, some of whom have celebrity-size social-media followings, is that Muslims have a propensity toward sexual violence. They seize on any news item that bolsters this notion.

This piece made the rounds and the framing of it makes me insane. This shit isn’t the fault of Facebook (though that company is on top of the Not Helping list right now) and it’s not the fault of the Internet. It’s the fault of rich asshole Republicans who used Facebook and the Internet to spew the same anti-Islam haterade they’ve been pumping out since the Iran hostage crisis to the detriment of literally everyone on earth.

This story delves into what happens when a town believes a bunch of bullshit instead of their generally reasonable authorities, but doesn’t once mention the funders of that bullshit: 

A similarly funded and probably even more conservative nonprofit, Young America’s Foundation, works to direct “public education on the ideas of individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise [and] traditional values and leadership,” according to its most recent publicly available tax form. YAF spent roughly half of its 2015 budget of $17.7 million on conference and lecture programs including “lectures on college campuses” and student chapters.

[snip]

A similarly funded and probably even more conservative nonprofit, Young America’s Foundation, works to direct “public education on the ideas of individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise [and] traditional values and leadership,” according to its most recent publicly available tax form. YAF spent roughly half of its 2015 budget of $17.7 million on conference and lecture programs including “lectures on college campuses” and student chapters.

I’m getting real damn tired of looking at the landscape of “fake news” and inciteful social media movements and shaking our heads like it’s just all so terrible and sad when we never even once acknowledge that A POLITICAL MOVEMENT DID THIS FOR ITS OWN GAIN. They did this on purpose and they paid for it, and they’re not even all that secretive about it:

The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation is by far the biggest donor to YAF, and the Donors Capital Fund and its affiliate, Donors Trust, are also big contributors. The Bradley Foundation, three Koch family foundations and a foundation of the wealthy Mercer family have also given large donations.

It’s almost like nothing happens in the world without somebody getting paid so maybe instead of pretending this is just the world we live in now and it’s too bad — the optimist who jumped off a building, saying “so far, so good” every floor down — we start exploring where the money goes.

Or — AND THIS IS A CRAZY IDEA — using our own to build something that works like this, but isn’t terrible, and serves the ends of community and strength instead of hate and fear and greed.

A.

One thought on “‘Fake News’ Didn’t Do Anything To You

  1. vertalio says:

    I’m reading “Democracy In Chains” now, by Nancy MacLean, about how the Kochs et al have absorbed the teachings of John C. Calhoun, via James McGill Buchanan and are implementing them nationwide. Basically, they intend to hollow out democracy and replace it with feudalism, with the economic elite as lords.
    So it’s either fight back hard, or lose it all. They’ll take prisoners, but would prefer slaves.

    Like

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