For at least three years now, we've been tracking the frustrating rise of liberal misinformation. It began with a sense of legitimacy during the chaotic Summer of 2013, when the reporting surrounding the Edward Snowden story was routinely and deliberately misreported by formerly respected names on the left. The Guardian, in particular, dabbled in complete fiction in some cases, with Glenn Greenwald and others in his sphere exploiting the short-attention-spans of social media readers in order to form a more sensationalistic narrative beyond the cold, hard facts.
Those who know my work also know that I'll never walk past a mention of the Snowden fiction from 2013 without noting how The Guardian almost certainly fibbed about its infamous computer smash-up story, in which the publication alleged that goons from the GCHQ (the British version of the NSA) raided their offices and smashed their MacBooks, each of which contained Snowden's stolen NSA documents -- only for us to discover later that the allegedly smashed computer parts weren't MacBooks at all -- one of several fishy aspects of the story. It was succeeded by another story in The Guardian in which the author claimed his book about Snowden (the basis for Oliver Stone's Snowden hagiography) was being deleted as he typed it.
Fast forward three years and an entire closet industry of fake news has arisen on the left. Some of it is earnestly written, but poorly sourced and highly speculative. You might've seen articles published by outfits like US Uncut or DailyNewsBin throughout the Democratic primary battle. These are joined by entirely fake news sites that, unlike The Onion, don't deal in satire or parody but simply in fake news intended to generate as many shares on Facebook as possible, knowing that too many Facebook users tend to thoughtlessly share without reading.
Perhaps the most recognizable suspect in this trend toward liberal misinformation is H.A. Goodman. Too much time and energy has been spent detailing Goodman's exploits, so I won't waste time reviewing his worst offenses. Suffice to say, Goodman has been misleading his readers for months, insisting that Bernie Sanders will inevitably win the Democratic nomination, without any accountability or retaliation for his obviously false reporting outside of Twitter. Throughout the thick of the primary campaign, Goodman, in the pages of The Huffington Post and Salon.com (full disclosure: I write for both), marketed in the notion that, first, Bernie would overtake Hillary in delegates. Which never happened. Then, when Hillary attained enough delegates to become the nominee, Goodman insisted that she didn't have the required 2,383-plus pledged delegates, even though a majority of pledged delegates was and is 2,026-plus.
And then the indictment articles began. Goodman published dozens of them, each one reporting outright that an FBI source told him that indictments were imminent and that Bernie would become the nominee when Hillary would be forced to step down. In fact, as recently as June 25, Goodman reported that Hillary was prepared to endorse Bernie after the indictments stripped her of the nomination.
None of this ever happened. Exactly none of H.A. Goodman's reporting turned out to be accurate. None of it.
Sure, there's nothing wrong with writing in support of a candidate. It happens all the time in opinion journalism, especially online. But Goodman didn't stop there. He embraced the role of Baghdad Bob for Bernie. He's the Dean Chambers "Unskewed Polls" character of the 2016 campaign. No matter what happened in the news proving that Bernie Sanders wouldn't be the nominee, or, prior to that, that Hillary was winning the race practically from the beginning, Goodman wouldn't have any of it, insisting that everyone was stupid except him. Bernie would inevitably win the nomination -- full stop, he wrote. And he entirely fabricated his facts and his sources in service of that theme. Without conscience and without blinking his wild staring eyes, Goodman published hundreds of articles in which he reported the same unsourced, mendacious claptrap over and over and over.
However, in response to the news that Hillary wouldn't be indicted, Goodman failed to redeem himself by taking it like a man -- he refused to accept the news like a reporter who got it wrong. Stating the obvious: Goodman has no integrity. Zero. In fact, it wouldn't shock me if he went back and scrubbed his headlines or altered his reporting to provide a post hoc escape hatch for himself.
Short of that, Goodman tweeted:
What a complete weasel he is. Okay, look. He's been reporting for months that Hillary will be indicted -- not that he was hoping for an indictment and it didn't happen. He repeatedly published hard news about the inevitability of criminal charges being filed against Hillary. And yet he feels vindicated in the fact that not only will she not face charges, but that Bernie will not be the nominee. Seriously? Vindicated? I don't think he knows what "vindicated" means.
As my friend and Banter colleague Chez Pazienza tweeted on Tuesday, Goodman is incapable of feeling embarrassed and is therefore capable of anything. Nevertheless, it doesn't matter because the people who watch his insufferably awful YouTube videos (22,000 subscribers? Really?) and who read his fake news via his street-corner-wackaloon Twitter feed will continue to inexplicably support this known scammer. He's tapped into his niche and will continue to publish similar falsehoods with impunity. His almost sociopathic disconnect with reality will surely inspire other disaffected Bernie supporters who see Goodman on CNN and MSNBC and assume that he's a legitimate reporter, thus making it acceptable for others to follow in his footsteps. The endgame is, obviously, the slow Fox News-ification of the left. Due to the efforts of Goodman and others, the progressive movement is rapidly losing its credibility and, at the very least, is stripped of its high-road posture.
To those of us who are, in fact, capable of experiencing embarrassment, it's mandatory that propagandists like Goodman become marginalized and disgraced with greater ferocity than we charge against the conservative entertainment complex. Indeed, when both sides become disconnected from reality, we're truly screwed.