Donald Trump appears to be a rabid connoisseur of information. Unfortunately, even though he is President of the United States and has access to all of the best information, he chooses to follow sources that can best be described as viral deception–or VD–and drag the whole world along with him via Twitter.
Baseless Claims and Wild Accusations
A few weeks ago he made a baseless claim that there were 3 to 5 million illegal votes cast during the election. He also assumes in this fantasy that all of those fraudulent votes went to Hillary Clinton, and that he actually won the popular election despite losing by nearly 3 million votes in the reality the rest of us live in. The only actual incidents of voter fraud seem to be situations where Trump supporters were arrested for voting more than once.
This past weekend, the national embarrassment who currently occupies the Oval Office shocked the world–including his own cabinet and handlers it seems–by asserting that President Obama had ordered Trump Tower to be tapped and had gotten a FISA warrant approved to eavesdrop on Trump and his people during the campaign.
Although it sounds like it, it’s not that Trump was just on a bad trip and making stuff up. In both cases, Trump was apparently just repeating stories he heard from his VD sources.
We’ve renamed them “viral deception” to differentiate from actual fake news. There’s fake news where someone–either intentionally or inadvertently–gets a story wrong, and there’s fake news that’s satirical, like The Onion. Sources like Breitbart and Infowars are not fake news. They are viral deception. They are propaganda machines inventing and spewing conspiracy theories with no evidence or foundation in reality with the goal of intentionally deceiving and misleading readers.
It’s not just Trump, either. The VD has spread throughout the administration and affects even the Minister of Propaganda…I mean White House Press Secretary.
Sean Spicer made the bizarre claim, “James Rosen [a Fox News reporter] had his phone, multiple phones tapped.”
When James Rosen denied the claim and Spicer was asked to explain or clarify his comment, he responded, “There are multiple reports on this matter.” It seems, though, that when he says “reports”, what he means are baseless assertions from VD sources.
Straight from the Horse’s Mouth
I know that it won’t stop the insanity, but can someone with access to Dear Leader let him know that he actually has what may possibly be the very best sources of information at his disposal as the President. The Intelligence Community knows far more than Breitbart or Infowars can ever dream of.
Imagine an NBA basketball game. The coach sits his team down with time running out and tells the team, “OK. We’ve got this. You guys are doing great. Just keep playing hard.”
One of the players responds, “Um, coach? We’re losing by 35 points with 94 seconds left in the game. We’re getting crushed and there’s no chance of winning.”
And the coach replies, “I’ve seen many tremendous reports that say we’re winning. Twitter says we’re dominating.”
It’s ridiculous, right? I mean, the coach is AT the game. The coach has direct, firsthand knowledge of the current situation in the game.
It’s like a weatherman standing in the rain and saying that it’s sunny because he saw a report online that says so.
Here’s a hint for President Trump: There is virtually zero chance that Breitbart, Infowars, or any other source of VD is going to somehow have better or more accurate information than he has available from his own Intelligence Community. The White House Press Secretary is supposed to SUPPLY accurate and relevant information, not repeat the last stupid thing he saw from a VD source with no journalistic credibility.
When Donald Trump tweets, people listen. It’s sad, but true. That is the world we live in. When he makes a claim or accusation, people assume it–and he–is serious, even when there is absolutely no evidence to support it and the claim or accusation is ludicrous at face value. Investigations are launched and resources are wasted to investigate claims we know up front are false in an attempt to “prove” the unprovable.
You can only prove the existence or presence of something. You can’t absolutely prove the absence or lack of something. Even if we never find any evidence of the insane claims Trump and his surrogates make, the seed of doubt will still exist for the tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists. It won’t mean it didn’t happen, it will just mean that the insidious people involved did a good job of covering their tracks. Trump–and his fans–are already convinced it happened because the VD source said so, and anything short of validation is just more evidence of the conspiracy.
There are only two real options. Either Donald Trump is batshit insane, or Donald Trump is a master of manipulation–creating massive distractions to keep his opponents’ eyes off the ball.
Wait, there’s a third option. All of the above.