One of the worst things Donald Trump has done -- one of the worst things he's done as both a candidate and especially as president, has been to demonize the press as "fake news." Granted, there's never been a presidential administration of any party that's enjoyed a love affair with the White House press corps. Trump, however, has co-opted a real thing, the existence of fake news sites, and turned it into a fake attack.
In other words, there's a well known and legitimate phenomenon out there known as fake news. Trump has borrowed that title and applied it to the actual news, forcing some of us to talk about this gibberish by differentiating between Trump's fake news and actual fake news. The ultimate irony, though, is that Trump absolutely deals in fake news all the time and, we could argue, Trump is president partly due to the existence of fake news -- again, not Trump's version of fake news, the actual fake news we used to see on Facebook all the time.
Speaking of Facebook and fake news, conspiracy theorist and professional throat polyp Alex Jones just received an enormous pass from the rapidly unraveling social media giant and its leader, Mark Zuckerberg. Turns out, while the podcast platform Stitcher announced today that it's dropping Alex Jones' show from its app, Facebook continues to give Jones a forum for his wildly slanderous accusations.
The last paragraph of this report from Buzzfeed will blow your mind:
On Facebook, Jones continues to have a platform in spite of criticism. In a recent video on his verified page, which has 1.7 million likes, Jones accused special counsel Robert Mueller of raping children and pantomimed shooting him. A Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that video did not violate its terms of service.
Essentially, Facebook is allowing Jones to spread outright lies about Robert Mueller while simultaneously encouraging Jones' disciples to assassinate the special counsel. Facebook is okay with this. No wonder it's falling apart. Also, note the "raping children" accusation and remember that the horrendous QAnon collective is actively attacking its enemies (normal people) by accusing them of pedophilia. So it went with director James Gunn, Rick & Morty creator Dan Harmon, comedian Sarah Silverman, comic actor Michael Ian Black, and even the legendary Tom Hanks.
Think of QAnon as a more unhinged and militant version of Alex Jones' community of lunatics and weirdos. Put another way: Infowars is to al-Qaeda as QAnon is to ISIS. If I had to define QAnon, I'd describe it as a minuscule gathering of mentally ill people with way too much free time. They're Trumpers with an agenda beyond that of their leader. Their goal is to destroy by fiction. Naturally, it's not fiction to them -- nope, they appear believe every nonsensical theory that pops up in their Reddit, 4chan and 8chan threads, including something about the CIA "weaponizing the news media." CNN reported:
It was just a month ago when five journalists in Maryland were executed by a psychopath. Yet Trump continues to define the news media as the "enemy of the people." He's all at once attacking the press for reporting about his criminality while stoking the anti-press paranoia of the QAnon crackpots. To repeat: these people don't know that Trump is merely demonizing the press for the sake of wiggling out of legal jeopardy. They believe Trump is 100 percent accurate with this assessment, and they have enough time on their hands to endlessly plot and strategize online how best to eliminate the problem.
While it's easy to stop Alex Jones from continuing to incite violence against people who see through his bullshit, it's not as easy to weed out a completely de-centralized vane of creeps, idiots and mentally unstable people from the vast sewers of the dark web. Indeed, I'd wager Trump is completely unaware of these people, but if he knew, I'm sure he'd encourage them with the same vigor he encouraged Wikileaks when it was working in his favor. Either way, it's growing increasingly clear that the political fight on our hands is one between Normals and the Abnormals.
You could say Trump, Jones and QAnon are the "Axis of Abnormals."
The problem is this: how to put-down a political trend peopled entirely by Abnormals before it gets more people killed. Don't count on Facebook's help.