Former President Barack Obama visited Stanford University on Friday to deliver a profound and timely address on the dangers of disinformation. He warned that “Once [people] lose trust in their leaders, the mainstream media, in political institutions, in each other, in the possibility of truth, the game is won.” It was a compelling discourse on the precarious state of modern communications and propaganda.
Naturally, whenever Obama appears in public to remind everyone what an intelligent and articulate leader sounds like, Fox News needs to start flinging feces at him in a desperate effort to deflect from his pertinent and persuasive message. And on Friday that assignment was given to Fox’s Senior White Nationalist, Tucker Carlson. Carlson began his harangue by flagrantly misrepresenting Obama’s words. Carlson said that…
“Obama argued that only his political opponents lie, and they must be stopped immediately.”
Of course, Obama didn’t say either of those things. Carlson is simply making stuff up so that he can subsequently condemn it in his typically pretentious and whiny voice. This is, after all, the same cretinous cream puff who recently declared that “The End of Men” was imminent and that the only salvation was a program of therapeutic testicle tanning.
Carlson followed his opening lie with a video of Obama that actually proved that Carlson was lying. In the video Obama said that…
“People like Putin, and Steve Bannon for that matter, understand it’s not necessary for people to believe this information in order to weaken democratic institutions. You just have to flood a country’s public square with enough raw sewage. You just have to raise enough questions, spread enough dirt, plant enough conspiracy theorizing, that citizens no longer know what to believe.”
“People like Putin, and Steve Bannon for that matter, understand it’s not necessary for people to believe disinformation … You just have to flood a country’s public square with enough raw sewage.”
— President Obama on how disinformation leads to people losing faith in democracy pic.twitter.com/mZvidysEB9
— The Recount (@therecount) April 21, 2022
Whereupon Carlson proceeded to excrete some more misrepresentations of what Obama had said. Carlson raged…
“Oh. So people who disagree with Barack Obama aren’t just saying things that are wrong, They’re flooding raw sewage into our country.”
Once again, not only did Obama never say that people who disagree with him are wrong, his reference to “flooding raw sewage into our country” was taken directly from remarks made by Steve Bannon, who stirred up his seditionist audience by saying that “The Democrats don’t matter. The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit.” Carlson not only neglects to mention that, but he has clearly taken it to heart, as evidenced by his body of work.
“So this guy is not just liberal. In fact, he’s not liberal at all. He’s a full-blown fascist who hates you and wants to keep you from talking, or else. He wants censorship of anyone who disagrees with him, and now he just comes out and says it.”
Really? Where Carlson gets that “fascist” business from is a mystery. It certainly isn’t from anything that Obama said. It’s most likely projection, wherein Carlson is just observing what he sees in himself and projecting it onto his foe. Carlson then plays another video that proves, again, that he’s lying.
“While content moderation can limit the distribution of clearly dangerous content, it doesn’t go far enough. Users who want to spread disinformation have become experts at pushing right up to the line of what, at least, published company policies allow. And at those margins social media platforms tend not to want to do anything. Not just because they don’t want to be accused of censorship, but because they still have a financial incentive to keep as many users engaged as possible.”
Exactly! Ultra-rightist Republicans like Carlson repeatedly misconstrue the Constitution’s First Amendment. As Obama noted, it is a check on government overreach, and does not apply to private companies. It is not a violation of anyone’s rights if CNN or Fox News or the New York Times or Twitter declines to disseminate commentaries that are false, abusive, or otherwise harmful or unlawful or merely violate the company’s terms of service. It’s called free speech. Nevertheless, Carlson persists in his ignorance to say…
“So me and my friends at the Aspen Institute need to be in complete control of every word uttered or else it’s not democracy. That’s the case he’s making. That’s the case their all making.”
No, Tucker. That’s not the case that Obama, or anyone else, is making. It’s just the mischaracterization that you’re making to deliberately deceive your already dimwitted viewers. Which you are doing quite well. And it’s why President Biden observed accurately that Fox News is “one of the most destructive forces in the United States.”
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