I got back from Luxembourg Friday night to my social media feed bleeding the headline, “Attorney General Lynch ‘Pleads Fifth’ on Secret Iran ‘Ransom’ Payments!”
The stupid came from the Washington Free Bacon, the UK’s Daily Fail, and of course, Trumpbart, which has never met a story it didn’t misinterpret, twist, or outright invent.
For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, “pleading the fifth” is a colloquialism for declining to answer questions where the answers might incriminate the defendant. Basically, the defendant cannot be forced to become a witness at his own trial.
My first reaction was: Lynch has been charged with something? She is being tried? Is she a witness in a trial?
I was confused.
The answer is nope, nope, and nope, but it’s such a cool headline, that every screeching ass monkey on the right ran with it!
In fact, what happened was that Congressman Mike Pompeo and Senator Marco Rubio sent AG Loretta Lynch a series of questions about the Obama Administrations $1.7 billion cash payment to Iran, and Lynch’s office sent back a reply saying, (paraphrasing from the original document here), “We’ve already answered the questions. The information – much of which is classified – has been available to you since September. We don’t want to discuss classified information in public fora. If you have any additional questions, let us know.”
In response Marco Rubio and Mike Pompeo sent back a reply saying the answers were unacceptable, and that Lynch’s office was “essentially pleading the fifth.” This was a metaphor, showing that the Senators were dissatisfied with the replies they got, and yet these “media outlets” screamed that line from the rooftops (especially the Daily Fail, Newsmax, Zerohedge, and the Free Bacon), prompting several friends to share it on social media as if this was fact.
This little incident is part of a bigger problem.
For years, those on the right have accused the media of liberal bias, of twisting or eliminating sources, and of spinning facts to suit their agenda. We all knew the media was far from objective. Media outlets do many times reflect the views of their ownership and their editorial board. Those of you who think Fox News is more objective than, say, CNN should go ahead and pay me for that bridge now.
And yet, during this election year, specifically, I see a lot of people on the right, defending the obvious clown show media outlets on the right have become, because LIBERAL MEDIA!
Look, I get that every story will have a slant. A media outlet will be influenced by the views of its leadership. This is nothing new. But there’s a difference between being influenced by the politics of its ownership (or in Daily Fail’s case, merely posting clickbait to try and get readers) and writing outright lies and misinformation, and abandoning any semblance of integrity.
BUT HEY! THE LIBERAL MEDIA HAS BEEN DOING THIS FOR DECADES! So the fuck what? Does that mean the conservative outlets are justified in becoming liars? Does that mean conservative lies are OK, because the liberals have been doing it for a long time? Does that mean publishing outright disinformation is fine, because it’s time for readers and listeners to hear lies from the right for a change?
Psychologically, some on the right are so desperate to point out the evil on the left, they’ve abandoned any semblance of integrity they may have had. Fact checking falls by the wayside, and gives way to hysterical headlines such as:
IT’S OVER: Huma Abedin Just Flipped! What She Did Minutes Ago Has Hillary In Tears…
This is where I look at the source. Oh… shit… it’s redflagnews/breitbart/conservativetreehouse/*insert retard blog here*.
Google several words in the title. Nothing comes up save for a few additional “conservative” blogs. Damn.
Click the link. Look for sourcing. More “conservative” blogs as sources – nothing actually credible, especially when you click on those sources, and they link to yet more right-leaning blogs as sources, or take you back to the original article.
It’s a right-leaning circle jerk!
If we are not objective or honorable enough to condemn asshattery on the right, we have no business criticizing it on the left. Facts don’t have a political affiliation. They are facts. And if we fail to denounce fraud among our own, we have no standing to denounce it among others.
As I have often said, merely not being Hillary does not qualify Trump for the White House.
Well, merely not being the left does not excuse lying and misinformation on the right.
Failing to decry the bad – whether on our own side, or the other side of the aisle – makes us part of the problem.
By refusing to police and call out our own, we become the bad.