A New Low From the Far-Right Lie Factory

Benghazi Stevens

Every day my Facebook wall is bombarded with right wing talking points like this. For the most part I let them go by because there aren’t enough hours in the day to address even a fraction of them. This one, however, crossed a line for me. It’s not that it was filled with lies and hate – that’s not unusual. It wasn’t that it attempted to demonize some political enemy – nothing new there. It was, I think, the crude, raw vulgarity of it. It seemed to reset the bar at what is acceptable from the right-wing lie factory.

Let me get the debunking part out of the way first. The circumstances surrounding Ambassador Stevens’ death are unclear, but the preponderance of the evidence – not right-wing speculation, spin and lies – but real evidence suggests that Stevens was found by American-friendly Libyans unconscious but alive and rushed to the hospital where he died of smoke inhalation. The picture in the post is most definitely not of Stevens since it existed in 2009, three years before the Benghazi attack.

Fact checking. So what! The people who create these things and, to a lesser degree, those who pass them around don’t care about facts. There is no amount of information, evidence or debunking that will keep them from posting and reposting this stuff. What they truly care about is demonizing their enemies whom they see, not as Al Qaeda or militant Muslims, but as ordinary Americans who happen to have a political philosophy different from theirs. The purpose of these posts is to create enough shock, horror and outrage so that their political agenda – whatever it may be – might show a shift in the polls a couple of percentage points.

Folks, please, we’ve got to stop this. It is destroying the country – more than anything Al Qaeda might try, more than entitlements, wars, Obamacare or anything else. By demonizing our political leaders we polarize the electorate to the point that no real discussion of the truly important issues can happen. How can you possibly have an honest, substantive conversation with someone who supports Satan? How can you support a politician who is willing to compromise with someone who gets up every morning thinking of ways to destroy the country?

Maybe I’m overstating this; maybe not. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of articles published in foreign newspapers, and I’m seeing a consistent theme. America is broken, they say. Americans can’t govern themselves. It’s time for a post American world. It’s time for a new reserve currency. Foreign countries, especially China, have been looking at the quagmire in America and are thinking that this may be the time to move their substantial financial muscle and toss America from the top of the world order. If America can’t keep their own government open, how can it respond to the kind of seismic shifts that are happening in the rest of the world?

We are facing some very real problems at home and abroad, and we need to address them in a proactive manner. Spreading lies and misinformation and manufacturing outrage is not helping.

2 thoughts on “A New Low From the Far-Right Lie Factory

  1. Our political dialogue has always been bad. It has always been filled with lies and BS. Always.
    Two historically factual stories… 1) When Sam Houston ran for Senator in the 1850’s, he stated that his “opponent had all the attributes of a dog… Except loyalty.” That’s worse than ANYTHING anyone is saying about their political enemies now. Today, no one takes such a direct shot at their enemies. 2) In the late 1930’s or early 1940’s my cousin, Claude Pepper, was running for the Senate in Florida. HIS opponent “accused” Sen. Pepper’s wife of what was then an unspeakable crime… He said, “The Senator’s wife is a thespian, and doesn’t deny it!” People actually believed, because they didn’t know the difference, that the Senator’s wife was a switch hitter. My cousin was not re-elected btw.
    So the lies and venom and vitriol are not new.
    What IS different now it that the information, the lies, flow freely to every corner of the world without being edited, censored or controlled. THAT is a two edged sword… Facts get out. They are available to be found… The problem is HOW do you know a fact when you see/hear it??? Who it to be a trusted source of information? Who isn’t?
    The Right isn’t wrong. The Left isn’t correct. Both sides of the aisle are disgusting and cancerous and horid. There are no good guys in leadership today… For my money, THAT IS THE PROBLEM…

    • There is a huge qualitative difference in deceiving with the use of a photograph known to not be relevant to the argument presented and hyperbole (likening someone to the bad qualities of a dog) or telling the truth knowing that it will be misunderstood in a pejorative fashion. There is also a huge quantitative (and qualitative) difference in the right wing tea party rhetoric and the liberal rhetoric today (and for about the last 22 years. The tea party trajectory of the GOP has become addicted to it, in fact, and the tolerance for their propaganda requires that they up the dose to the extent that now they malign their own. Republicans of old, including Ronald Reagan, would be called RINO by this group. Here is what really distinguishes them – as the moderator points out, they are not concerned with facts which get in their way. Their ends justify any means.

      Don’t be confident about facts getting out eventually. Facts often get out too late to make a difference. Here is an example of an attack on McCain in the 2000 Republican primary by other Republicans http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_presidential_primaries,_2000:

      In the South Carolina primary, McCain’s momentum was halted by a strongly negative Bush campaign. Although the Bush campaign said it was not behind any attacks (more on this below), locals who supported Bush reportedly handed out fliers and made telephone calls to prospective voters suggesting among other things, that McCain was a “Manchurian candidate” and that he had fathered a child out of wedlock with a black New York-based prostitute (an incorrect reference to a child he and his wife had adopted from Bangladesh).

      I’ve lived long enough and in enough places to see fringe left wingers do some pretty outrageous things. But not within the last 40 years. And nothing like this. Not at all. Decent people, as for example, this Republican county judge in San Antonio, are calling it what it is: hate and bigotry. (See article on his resignation from the Republican party (10/22/2013) http://www.salon.com/2013/10/22/texas_judge_quits_gop_in_disgust_runs_as_democrat/singleton/

      But most Republicans have become so used to the stench of their rhetoric that they are immune to it – like the frog that gets used to the increasingly warm temperature of the water in which he eventually is boiled without ever trying to get out.

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