Rightwing politics and facts don’t mix well

Oil and water don’t mix. Neither do foxes and chickens. Or rightwing politics and facts.

Lying is so endemic on the political right that you take it for granted what rightwingers say won’t pass a fact-check or truth-check.

Trump’s lies are legion; Washington Post “fact-checkers documented 30,573 false or misleading claims during his presidential term, an average of about 21 per day,” according to Wikipedia (here).

George W. Bush infamously “fixed intelligence and facts to policy,” i.e. relied on forgeries to justify his invasion of Iraq in 2003 (details here and here).

Trump and Bush aside, cranking out false propaganda, fabricating stories, and doctoring videos and images is a busy rightwing industry.

Professionals and academics are careful with facts, meticulously so, because their reputations depend on it. Politics is sometimes considered a profession, but it’s on a totally different level when it comes to taking liberties with facts.

It’s not my intent to write an encyclopedia here, so I’m going to give only one example, taken from today’s “Ashli Babbitt Freedom March” in Washington D.C. (which I wrote about earlier today here, and is still being livestreamed as I write this).

Let’s start with the screen grab below. Before today, I didn’t know how to do YouTube screen grabs, and this is my first-ever one (following the instructions here).

The three posters visible behind the individuals allege that Benjamin Phillips, Kevin Greeson, and Rosemary Boyland were “Murdered by Capitol Police” on January 6, 2021. This may serve somebody’s agenda; but people who care about facts, and look up the truth, will find that all three died from medical emergencies.

Phillips from a heart attack and Greeson from heart failure (as determined by the D.C. medical examiner, and acknowledged by their wives), and Boyland from a drug overdose (read details in story here).

The claim they were “murdered” is false; that police killed them is false; and these claims are hate speech. Ironically, the posters promote a website calling itself, which seems geared to stopping truth.

Is it a big deal? No. They’re talking to each other, and only like-minded people are listening. If the government tried to shut down their B.S. carnival, that would be a big deal, because we treasure free speech in this country. I’ll be among the first to defend their right to do this.

But facts matter, even in politics; and political liars shouldn’t be allowed to peddle their wares unimpeded. Unchallenged lies tend to be believed; so journalists, bloggers like me, and other information gatekeepers and opinion leaders have a duty to call out lies when we run across them.

The lie that Capitol or D.C. police murdered these people, and framing them as martyrs to a cause, furthers an agenda of undermining our democracy. The people in the video image don’t believe you have a right to choose our nation’s leader; they believe in their way or the highway.

They have a constitutional right to peddle their lies. We have a responsibility to each other, and our fellow citizens, to drown them out with the truth, as I just did here.

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