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The Trump Dilemma

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2020 becomes 1984: Trump, Twitter and the Ministry of Truth

Prologue: Trump as Big Brother  

You do not need me to tell you that Donald Trump has a distant relationship with the truth. The man says what he needs to say at that particular moment as if nothing he said in the past ever happened. The truth is what he says it is on any given day and we have always been at war with East Asia. Well, the social media machine fought back. Some context first, then I want to look at Twitter’s response: the fact check. This is a serious Pandora’s Box. But some background first.

Background: Trump as Liar in Chief

Trump posted a Tweet stating that mail-in ballots will be ‘substantially fraudulent’. Two points here: first there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are any more or less fraudulent than in-person voting. Second, the last time an election used mail-in ballots for a special election, the Republican won. It truly is remarkable how quickly Trump can utterly contradict himself. Vote by mail is totally fraudulent but the Republican won. Amazing. This is analogous to his 2016 claims that the electoral college was a disaster for democracy – when it looked like he would lose.

He is such a child, turning on a dime for purely selfish motives. He truly has the mentality of a toddler: all he can see is his own desires. Anyone who meets his demands is his best friend (for now) and anyone who stymies him in any way is the worst person in the history of the world. He is a pathological liar: a glance at anything he has said in any forum since his time in office will reveal at least one exaggeration, misleading statement or outright lie. Anyone with the gall to call him on his lies is ‘fake news’, best understood as any coverage that is unfavourable.

A Look at Trump’s Lies: The Gish Gallop

Now you might say all politicians lie, and that is true. But there is a dimension to Trump’s lies that is unique. His claims are so outrageous that any attempt to fact check him would require so much effort and resources that it is counterproductive. This Presidency is a Gish Gallop. That term comes from a religious apologist debater named Dwayne Gish who would say so many things that were so wrong that the opponent would spend all their time correcting him and not be able to make their own case. Trump revels in this: he sets the narrative (or has it set) through his symbiotic relationship with Fox Noise and dismisses any criticism as Fake News. To return to the toddler analogy, this is the equivalent of fingers in the ears ‘la la la la la la’ nonsense; from a 73-year-old man. Seriously

Twitter Responds: The Fact Check 

In a recent article, The New York Times discussed the introduction of the Fact Check. Twitter introduced it following Tweets from Trump implicating former Florida Congressman Joe Scarborough in the accidental death of an employee in his office. She died of natural causes related to an undiagnosed heart condition, but Trump never let the facts get in the way of a good vendetta. Her family was, as we might expect, outraged and appealed to Twitter. The company would not remove the Tweets but did apologise. When Trump tweeted about the mail-in ballots, the rationale was that misinformation about voting could cause confusion and thus warranted a correction.

Naturally, Trump and his campaign were outraged at someone stymying Trump’s ongoing campaign of BSing the electorate. Trump himself went so far as to accuse Twitter of interfering in the election and of ‘stifling FREE SPEECH’. A Fact Check of my own, if I may: the First Amendment prevents the government from restricting freedom of speech.

The issue for the rest of this piece (and possibly others to come) is this: Does Trump have a point?

Publisher or Platform: What is Twitter?

In a recent segment on Rising, Saagar Enjeti raised the fundamental question of What is Twitter. If it is a publisher, there are certain restrictions on what it can put into the public domain. If, however, it is merely a platform, a sort of ‘bathroom wall’ where anyone can write as they please, then the situation is different. Is it the place of Twitter or any other social media site to ‘fact check’ the posts that are made? Who is qualified to make such judgements? And who watches the watchers?

Do you hire a physician to fact check anti-vaxxer claims? A climate scientist to fact check climate-deniers? An actual economist to debunk trickle-down? This gets very close to what Saagar called Technocratic Oligarchy, that is the rule by a few experts. Even if I think that claim is somewhat exaggerated, I can see the point. In particular, Saagar notes the presence of an openly anti-Trump ‘fact-checker’ on Twitter. This clown actually said that states that voted for Trump are called ‘flyover country’ for a reason. He also compared the Trump Administration to ‘ACTUAL NAZIS’ – which, for all their flaws, they are not.

Who are The Fact Checkers?

Who is qualified to check facts as I asked above? No matter who is chosen, whether a left-leaning outlet like Kyle Kulinski, TYT, Sam Seder, or a right-leaning outlet like Ben Shapiro or Rush Limbaugh, all of these people have their bias. But they would not even be considered as potential fact-checkers since they are not ‘authoritative’, a term best understood as the establishment. An example of a fact-checking piece is this one from CNN on Trump’s claims about mail-voting. Keep in mind this is the same CNN who peddled the Russia-Gate nonsense for four years. This is the same mainstream media that quite openly does establishment propaganda. Are these the people we wish to have as ‘fact-checkers’? Do we really want Bernie Sanders or AOC’s claims about M4A to be ‘fact-checked’ by CNN and MSNBC, networks openly hostile to the idea? This is not about checking facts, this is about control of information.

Conclusion: He Who Controls the Past Controls the Future

The year 2020 has officially turned into 1984, with Twitter as the Ministry of Truth. Anyone on the ‘resistance left’ supporting this has a severe case of shortsightedness. Such a policy can easily be turned against any group when Wrongthink becomes the order of the day. The original purpose of Twitter was as a platform. Now I am as pro-fact as the next person, but until First Contact with the Vulcans is made, pure impartiality is not possible.

Twitter needs to abandon this policy quickly. Not because Trump is the President subject to a different set of rules, but because a platform is just that. A blank canvas onto which people put their ideas. The response to factual errors is to have the media (laugh along with me) point them out and put correct information (facts) in place of the erroneous statements. Twitter fact-checkers set a dangerous precedent and should be abandoned quickly.

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6 comments

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  1. andy56

    I think this is a cop out. Trump is a habitual lier so should just be chucked off Twitter. No need for fact checks, we know hes out there already. Twitter should come out and say it. Sometimes in life you got to let the truth speak to power. Letting him have his merry way has led to 100,000 deaths already in america. I say he is a DANGEROUS FOOL. who doesnt need a platform. I mean, how much leeway do you give a potential despot? Its not like he has no outlet for his stupid remarks as it is. Its not censorship, its being rational.

  2. mark delmege

    Mail-in ballots look pretty suss to me but then their whole voting system is rotten to the core.

  3. B Sullivan

    Twitter is a platform. More precisely, Twitter is a mining platform. A data mining platform. They mine that data by connecting people who wish to communicate with other people and then they collect the meta data that records all the clicks or swipes that people make while using the platform.

    They sell that data to advertisers and profilers like Cambridge Analytica who use it to create remarkably accurate profiles of everyone who inputs enough data. With just 60 or so clicks or swipes profiling algorithms can deduce a user’s sex, sexual preferences, religious and political leanings, financial status and a whole lot more. The profilers sell the profiles to their clients who can then individually target people with advertisements individually tailored to fit their likes and dislikes.

    If I’ve got any of that wrong perhaps former Senator Brandis can put me right.

  4. Sunshine

    Old Psychopath Trump is started to look very dangerous.

  5. New England Cocky

    The current President of the United States of America (United States of Apartheid) is exactly the ideal leader for the BIG MONEY financiers who are benefitting from additional tax relief measures for corporations. Trumpery is a media distraction drawing public attention away from the machinations in government behind the scenes that is destroying American democratic principles as the BIG MONEY players establish their fascost state to protect themselves and their wealth from circulating within the national and world economy.

    Find the book, available on the Internet, by Gary Allen, (1971) None Dare Call it Conspiracy, written during the Vietnam War and simultaneous Cold War, that relies upon Caroll Quigley’s (1968) work, Tragedy & Hope; a History of the United States, and discover how the past 50 years of history ….. was planned by executives of international corporations. Read the 1970 Club of Rome Report that too briefly designated Australia as a third world mining pit for minerals shipped overseas for processing and manufacturing in European countries.

    Now look at Australia since News Ltd intervened in Australian politics in 2013 to frustrate the will of Australin voters and install a succession of psychopathological misfits as the RAbbott Turdball Scummo-Sacked-from-Marketing COALition misgovernments, realise that Murdoch is reported as being in daily contact with Trumpery, and ask yourself “How did Allen and Quigley dream up this long running scenario”?

    The Late Professor Waterhouse & Crough (Sydney University) in the 1970s spotted the beginnings of this matter when they identified politicians enthusiastically embracing foreign development loans rather local financing of major infrastructure projects. But few listened. The Late Old Queen of Samoa, saw the dangers of foreign loans and rejected them, only to be black-listed by US bankers wanting to install loan slavery. But why have a war to take over natural resources in other countries when you can bribe the officials of political parties and politicians to gift you those same resources with full tax minimisation benefits and no interest payments on a war fund to the banking fraternity to erode your overall profits?

  6. DrakeN

    NEC

    “Those that have eyes to see, let them see…” But – “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”

    That people cannot see the dangers of both loan and wage slavery are seriously at a disadvantage, but there are also so many who are electively blind to the machinations of the corporate, financial, political and religious bodies which control our lives.
    The latter chose to be gulled and decieved because of their own inabilitities, fundamental and acquired, to see reason and logic; much of it founded on the Dunning-Kruger effect as well as hypersensitive egos.
    For them, truth hurts.

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