Pizzagate & the American Right Wing

Discussion in 'Politics' started by joepistole, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Over the weekend a man took a rifle into a Washington Pizza restaurant in search of the Clinton sex trafficking operations which he thought were taking place on the premise, because, you know, he read about it on the internet.

    Unfortunately, this is just one of many popular right wing fake news stories. Pizzagate as this particular fake news story is referred to is popular even with Trump's national security adviser. Now that should be of concern. Trump's national security adviser is getting his news from fake news sites. That's deeply disturbing.
    "Lt. Gen. Flynn himself tweeted a link to a story that helped fuel and generate the theories about the Clintons, which again contained no credible evidence, days before the election. According to Buzzfeed, that discredited story was part of what spurred the invention of the pizza restaurant theory.

    How far does this go and what can be done about it? This is a very real and present danger, not only to the US but to the world at large. When the guys who advise the POTUS get their information from fake news sources, that should deeply disturb everyone.
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  3. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

    It seems my country is being overrun by gullible half-wits.
    New bumper sticker; I'm a Gullible Half-wit and I Vote
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  5. Bells Staff Member

    Which can also be broken down to "I voted 4 Trump" or "I vote GOP"..

    Just saying..
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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Tinfoil Revolution

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    Craig Silverman↱ of BuzzFeed offers a glimpse into the workings of a right-wing conspiracy theory:

    The unhinged conspiracy theory now known as “Pizzagate” has resulted in a man bringing an assault rifle to the DC bar named in the theory, according to local police.

    “Pizzagate” claims that Democratic operatives placing orders at Comet Ping Pong were actually using code to talk about underage prostitutes.

    This strange and convoluted conspiracy theory, which also involves allegations of occult rituals, has its origins in false accusations about the Clintons that began spreading in late October. The original theory claimed that the Clintons and other government figures were involved in a global human trafficking and pedophilia ring.

    This one example shows how Trump supporters, members of 4chan and Reddit, and right-wing blogs in the US and in other countries combined to create and spread viral misinformation during the election season.

    Here’s what happened ....

    What we have is a New York Lawyer, on 30 October, tweeting a Facebook message from someone in Missouri claiming inside sources at NYPD; neither lawyer nor source wanted to talk to BuzzFeed about their posts. Shortly thereafter, an accusation was posted to a group called Godlike Productions. The next day a known conspiracy theorist claims an FBI contact said the evidence was in Anthony Weiner's computer. Silverman notes: "Where did this this new FBI source come from? Adl-Tabatabai cited a thread on a 4chan message board from back in July." Or:

    OK, let’s do a quick recap. At this point we have:

    • One random account on Twitter and a woman in Missouri claiming that NYPD sources are telling them the Clintons are about to be brought down by a massive child trafficking/sex scandal.

    • An anonymous person in a 4chan thread who claimed to work in law enforcement and who said something similar a few months ago — before news of the FBI looking into emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop broke.

    • A conspiracy theorist who pulled these things into a post and used them to claim “evidence has emerged from the Clinton email investigation that a massive child trafficking and pedophile sex ring operates in Washington.”​

    What don’t we have? Any actual evidence of any of the above, or information from the FBI, NYPD, or any other officials.

    From there it was just a matter of leaving it to the echo chamber:

    For example, one site plagiarized the text from Adl-Tabatabai’s post and their version has racked up over 85,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook. (Adl-Tabatabai’s post has just over 23,000 Facebook interactions to date.)

    The claims were also soon picked up by at least two (1,2) pro-Trump websites run by young men in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. As detailed in a recent BuzzFeed News report, there are more than 100 of these websites operating in one small town. They aggregate sensationalized and often false pro-Trump content from US conservative sites in order to attract a US audience and earn money from ads.

    While many sites simply repeated the details from Adl-Tabatabai, others introduced new, baseless claims. ran a story with the headline “IT’S OVER: NYPD Just Raided Hillary’s Property! What They Found Will RUIN HER LIFE.” Er no, the NYPD did *not* raid property belonging to Hillary Clinton.

    And I don't really know quite how to describe the disparity, but in my own life I know someone who generally claims adherence to the scientific method, though we all recognize that's a strange formulation. But here's the catch: He likes to say it that way because he has something against non-scientific information. That is to say, falsehood is fine, as long as it's not "science". Romanticizing white supremacism? Why not, since it doesn't actually say "white supremacism"? (Try the same trick with "creationism" and "intelligent design", and he'll notice.) And while his particular information filter is distinct, I don't think his general phenomenon is rare. Despite his belief in math and science, truth is what he wants it to be, and even when he knows it's not true he thinks it has a place in the discussion because, you know, it's not math. It's a manner of excluding and invalidating records he doesn't want to deal with; as I said, not rare. Thus, a Hillary child sex ring? Why not?

    In my lifetime American society went from tolerating a few bad seeds pushing falsehood in order to cause harm, to trying to find a safe space for them to create danger for others, to electing them a president. When I was young, it was offensive, even anti-American, to describe our society according to certain recent outcomes. If I told a Reagan Republican of the day, as Poppy Bush's presidency waned, what to expect of the GOP over the next quarter-century, not only would they not believe me, the proposition would also have offended. And not just Republican sentiments; their people, also.

    Just try describing Dick Cheney: A vice-president will, upon being known to have met to fashion energy policy with energy brokers who blew up the economy mismanaging their company claim executive privilege to hide the record, but then, when faced with executive orders for archiving his office's work, claim to be part of the legislative branch in order to slip an executive order pertaining to the executive branch. Just tell a 1992 Republican that. Tell a 1988 Republican that Poppy Bush would get one term, and then Republicans would descend into a fever swamp of attacking the children of presidents. Those conservatives and working-class "Reagan Democrats" would have been offended.

    When history pens the tale of how we went from the Party of Reagan↱ to the Party of Trump↱―nor is it easy, right now, to demarcate, except for the declaration that Republicans no longer belong to the Party of Reagan―one of the vital subplot arcs will follow what Michael Lind↱ described, over twenty years ago, as the "collapse of intellectual conservatism". And it will have something to do with the Reagan Awakening of the evangelical vote, because Republicans and the nation alike have been paying for that unfortunate bargain with less than reputable players ever since. A conspiracy theory coming through your ranting uncle is a conspiracy theory. A conspiracy theory coming through the pastor and his conventional quasi-divine authority is more legitimized. And let's face it, the paranoid sectors of Christian faith solely concerned with their own salvation are a fine place to breed all manner of antisocial conspiracy theory. Anti-Catholic, anti-UN, anti-science ... there is even one―I shite thee not―accusing Catholics, Marxists, and Witches of conspiring to bring about George H.W. Bush's New World Order. (It's widely known in Seventh Day-Adventist, i.e., Ben Carson's, circles; cf., Malachi Martin, The Keys of This Blood, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990.) But, yeah, if I had told you the Pope is the Devil because I was a politically passionate teenager who disdained conservative speech codes, conservative conduct codes, and conservative supremacism, all of which we get from the Vatican from time to time, that's beyond the pale. But if I'm a conservative Christian pastor denouncing the devilish Mary cult from my pulpit, well, that's the thing. At what point―and why―would this rhetoric escalate from the feverish nightmares we are to politely ignore to the feverish nightmare we should elect?

    This happened for any number of reasons, and there is irony that, as we now are expected to sublimate white supremacist identity politics as a national economic narrative purportedly having nothing to do with race―once again, we don't address underlying issues until white people say it's okay, and they only seem to say it's okay if everyone else is to remain subordinate to white males―part of how the white working class has arrived in its unfortunate circumstance is that they voted for it.

    And it is the strangest ideological arc, because there is continuity that can only be doubted―well, essentially arbitrarily―because one says so, because it is convenient to do so.


    Silverman, Craig. "How The Bizarre Conspiracy Theory Behind 'Pizzagate' Was Spread". BuzzFeed. 5 December 2016.

    Lind, Michael. "Why Intellectual Conservatism Died". Dissent. Winter, 1995.

    (Edit: Syntax [6 Dec. 2016, 12.51 PT])
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2016
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  8. Kittamaru Never cruel nor cowardly... Staff Member

    This is my life now... God Bless America?

  9. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Liberals like to believe in their own intellectual superiority (which is part of the reason Hillary lost), but I have many otherwise intelligent liberal friends who fell for and re-posted lots of fake news during the election season. And while I don't really know peoples' credentials here, I've seen some real doozies from the liberal side here as well.

    The mainstream media is not doing itself or us any favors by posting large sections of fake news - which is to say advertisements that are made to look like news stories - but the main reason for the proliferation of fake news is social media which has made it easier to promulgate such stories. As a result we get conspiracy theories from all directions that get broader audiences because they are easier to share. But really these stories are not fundamentally different than the wild conspiracy theories go around on the internet and has since its inception. The Pizzagate story is exactly that; a 4chan conspiracy theory.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2016
  10. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    Trump repeatedly seeks to undermine the media. Meaning that no one credible is left to criticize the government. This is deliberate. Polls were wrong, but polls are not liberal.
  11. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Like what? What fake news stories did your "otherwise intelligent liberal friends" fall for? The fact is fake news is primarily, almost exclusively, a right wing phenomena. It began with Faux News, and it gained steam with right wing talk radio, and now it's all over the internet.

    The troubling thing is it's not limited to Joe Sixpack. Trump and his advisers consume this fake news crap.

    And what fake news is mainstream media posting exactly? If anything the mainstream media has been extraordinarily slow to recognize the phenomena and draw attention to it.
  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Many fewer, much less significant, and of only recent origin.

    No real doozies, in other words - nothing to compare with the email stuff, or the Benghazi stuff, or the the Acorn stuff, or the Shirley Sherrod stuff, or the Birther stuff, or the climate change denialist stuff, or the Swiftboating stuff, or the Iraq WMD stuff, or the illegal voting stuff, or the various sideline innuendos piggybacked on every single political story of this entire campaign season that addressed anything Democratic in any unfavorable way.
    They haven't been coming from "all directions", though, have they. Not the wild conspiracy stories on the internet, not the new social media presentations. Sure, a couple here or there from here and there - but the dominant bulk of them come from one direction, aimed in one direction.

    And everybody knows that.
  13. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    If you're going to expand the scope of fake news that broad, then you encompass most of the media and the false spins they put on real news. What was unique about Pizzagate is that it was created on a conspiracy theory website out of whole cloth - from nothing. It wasn't created by a mainstream media source like Fox News, CNN, CBS, MSNBC. That is wholly different from what Fox News, CNN, CBS, MSNBC, etc do as a normal course of doing their core business, which is put a slightly fake spin on real news.

    In any case, no, fake news like Pizzagate is not "almost exclusively, a right wing phenomena". Not even close. Here's a good balanced article with several examples:

    Snopes also has a "what's new" page that you can peruse at your leisure:

    Perhaps the funniest/most pathetic example recently wasn't political, it was the story about CNN accidentally airing porn, which even CNN itself didn't realize was fake! That shows that in a broader sense, for just the idea of people believing things that aren't true, that isn't a strictly political phenomena. Examples of conspiracy theories, political and not are legion and diverse.
    [sigh] Again, Joe, reading comprehension. Reread the paragraph you quoted. Maybe try reading slower? Or just read the first sentence over and over until you figure it out. Otherwise you'll need a tutor.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
  14. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    That's not exactly on topic, but it isn't true either in the general or specific sense. A systemic error is by definition a "bias". It's happened multiple times too, so whether it is on purpose or not, it is a reality that broad public opinion polls tend to be liberal biased. That's a reality regardless of whether it is on purpose or not (which is probably more what you were driving at). Indeed, one of the leading theories on why political polls tend to be liberal biased is that it is conservatives' faults due to their lack of trust in the media, which may therefore cause them to avoid polling or answer inaccurately.
  15. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Expand the scope...seriously? That's pathetic.

    Unfortunately, there is nothing unique about Pizzagate, nor is there anything new about Pizzagate. This right wing crap has been going on for decades. In right wing circles it's ubiquitous. This stuff fake news stuff began in the 90s with the Clintons. First it was, White Water. Right wing fake news outlets, including Fox News have been spreading all kinds of misinformation, e.g. Clinton is a serial murder. Right wingers have been creating this shit from nothing for decades now.

    The mainstream media, i.e. CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, New York Times, et al. don't intentionally spread misinformation. Fox News does.

    Did you read your references? Apparently not. Stein did't say the Russian's hacked the election results. She she didn't make any outlandish claims. She nor any of her supporters made any such allegation. They didn't create any fake news stories. What they said, was given the US government has said Russia hacked into a number of state election offices, it would be prudent to check the results. There's no fiction there.

    What you are doing is trying to establish a false equivalence. You and the author of your article are putting your hands on the scales in an attempt to balance the scales.

    Well, that explains it. You believe fake news too.

    LOL...oh back to the ad hominem. Stop obfuscating. The fake news is primarily a right wing issue, and it began decades ago with the rise of right wing entertainment, e.g. Fox News and right wing radio. It's ubiquitous and it is fundamental to right wing ideology; e.g. most Republicans still don't believe Obama is an American.
  16. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Pizzagate is the greatest insane drivel I have ever seen. My arguments with believers of it is identical to arguments with UFO believers, only more stupid somehow. There is no evidence what so ever, merely contrived interpretation of words. And yet how did it get this big?
  17. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    Once one considers polls as lying, why would one support them with answers? So, given the last big failures of polls (brexit as well as Trump), which clearly makes the idea that polls are fakes much more popular, and that the popularity of this thesis is, for obvious reasons, greater among those who see this lie as directed against them, this will become even worse.
  18. Bells Staff Member



    Donald Trump’s incoming national security adviser has been caught spreading incorrect news at least 16 times in the last few months.

    A combing of Michael Flynn's twitter account by Politico shows he has spread conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and their allies. This includes accusing Ms Clinton of being involved with child sex trafficking, "waging a secret war" against the Catholic Church and her campaign manager consuming bodily fluids as part of a "spirit-cooking ritual". Mr Flynn also said president Obama is a "jihadi" who laundered money for Muslim terrorists.


    Mr Flynn has also retweeted stories accusing Ms Clinton of being an "insider threat" and an alleged United Nations one-world-government plot called Agenda 21. He used to be the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Critics have questioned whether Mr Flynn is genuinely able to tell the difference between fake and accurate information.

    Mr Flynn has also been criticised for his anti-Muslim stance. He said fear of Muslims was "rational" and compared Islam to "cancer".

    His anti-Semitic comments include re-tweeting a negative post about CNN and commenting: "Not anymore, Jews". One of his anti-semitic tweets was praised by former Ku Klux Klan imperial wizard David Duke.

    His son, Michael Flynn, continued to push the fake story about the pizza shop child ring on Sunday as police arrested an armed man who said he had come to "investigate".

    "Until #Pizzagate proven to be false, it'll remain a story. The left seems to forget #PodestaEmails and the many 'coincidences' tied to it," the younger Flynn tweeted.

    Michael Flynn has also shared expletive-filled posts and racially insensitive comments on social media. He shared a story that Ms Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, had a link to the Muslim Brotherhood, and that senator Marco Rubio was a closeted homosexual who took cocaine.

    In January, he tweeted "@voxdotcom soooo African Americans can have B.E.T. but whites can't have their own dating site? Hmmm…" The tweet has since been deleted. He shared a fake news item that the president flaunted an erection to female reporters, and said that voters of colour only chose Mr Obama in 2012 due to the colour of his skin.

    Trump's top national security adviser is not "4chan", neither is his son, who helped push the whole 'pizzagate' conspiracy. Those two have engaged in posting conspiracy theories on social media consistently. Even after the man was arrested, Flynn's son, who is also his chief of staff who Trump was attempting to gain national security clearance for until this came out - as reported by right wing media, kept reiterating the conspiracy and enforcing it.

    How many more excuses are you willing to make?
  19. Bells Staff Member

    When Trump's national security adviser (Mike Flynn) and his son (who his also his chief of staff), started tweeting it, it gained traction. This was pushed in right wing social media and Trump's people helped push it along. People believed them, since they are so closely connected to Trump, can't be a lie, can it? So a guy went there to self investigate with his guns.

    When you have a President Elect and a campaign that has fed conspiracies, how can it be surprising that something like this happens?
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  20. Capracus Registered Senior Member

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  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Interesting thing about that article: It's partly fake news itself, in that it misrepresents some aspects of the "liberal" delusions it presents.

    For example, the idea of the Russians having hacked the US vote count itself is not the main motive behind liberals pushing for a recount (Slate misrepresents the recount favorers). And the notion that some voting machines are being tampered with in some way (Sanders's observations of the primaries, and then the common pattern once again visible in the general) is not at all improbable or "fake news" - it is a solidly supported possible explanation of some very strange statistical patterns in the vote counts that have held for five Presidential elections now, and it has both motive and mechanism behind the correlations.

    And the Alex Jones 9/11 stuff was not on the Dem or "left" side, despite its attacks on a Republican administration - it wasn't picked up on much by lefties, and they abandoned it as counter-evidence came in (an important difference in the role of fake news on the "two sides").

    So if that kind of stuff is what we have on the Dem side, for fake news, the statement that fake news is predominantly - overwhelmingly - a Republican propaganda phenomenon, holds. There is nothing like a James O'Keefe video, for example, on the "other side".
  22. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Oh I will give trump credit that he can fire people (and look like he is having a mini-orgasm while doing it "Your *uugh* fired!") but can he hire anyone that is competent and/or sane?
  23. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Aye, that is the question and the answer isn't looking good at this point.

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