Tuesday, December 06, 2016


Mass Delusion Comes to the Pizzeria

In case you missed the story (probably because, like me, you live outside of the DC area), there was a bizarre fake-news-driven event there centered on a pizzeria called "Comet Ping-Pong." The fake news was that Hillary Clinton led a child sex ring centered at the pizza shop, and a guy from North Carolina came up to "investigate" with assault rifle in hand.  Here is how CNN described it:

A suspect arrested Sunday with an assault rifle at a Washington, DC pizzeria admitted he had come to investigate an online conspiracy theory, Washington's Metropolitan Police Department said Sunday evening in a statement.

Police have identified him as 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch of Salisbury, North Carolina.

"During a post arrest interview this evening, the suspect revealed that he came to the establishment to self-investigate 'Pizza Gate' (a fictitious online conspiracy theory)," the police department said in a statement.
"Pizza Gate" is a name given to the online false news stories begun last month that charged the Comet Ping Pong restaurant and its owner were involved in a child sex operation. The owner has vehemently denied the charges, but they continued to proliferate online. The owner and employees said they were repeatedly threatened on social media.

When Welch entered the restaurant he allegedly pointed the rifle in the direction of an employee who police said was able to flee and notify police. Patrons inside the restaurant had rushed out of the building.

Police said Welch has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. Two firearms were recovered inside the restaurant, and an additional weapon was recovered from the suspect's vehicle police said.

How did we get to this? 

"Pizza Gate" is fantasy. It is available on the internet and it is not real.
I am free to publish anything I want on the internet, but if I want my content to go viral I will have to make up the most incinerating story on a subject that people want to hear about. And so it goes and here we are.
Freedom of speech and a responsible press have coexisted pretty well for most of my life. We had more responsible speech and a more free press.

We now have a Republican party swept into office behind its popular candidate who doesn't acknowledge a free press or responsible speech. The Republican president elect has declared that his words don't matter, that truth and honesty don't matter, that compassion doesn't matter and people who are different don't matter. He firmly believes that only winning matters.

The Republican president elect said in his campaign that he gets his information from the internet and he just repeats it. This had great appeal to those who get their information from, often skewed to their interest, irresponsible internet sources.

Telling I think is the fact that when foreign fake news sites trying to make a buck made up pro Hillary crap they couldn't get an audience. Online anti Hillary crap was welcome when directed at the Republican base and became their mother lode. These stories was profitably repeated in the mainstream press into a crapstream that led to chants of "lock her up' and a future where the things that matter to me just don't matter to the general voting public.

General Flynn twitted that the story behind 'Pizza Gate" is true until we get facts that prove otherwise. Yes Mark, "How did we get here". I believe is has been done with a lot of political deliberation and forethought. A corrupt but winning strategy.

In a way the Republican populist victory may inspire older citizens like me to hang in there in order to witness the backlash to this new order. Maybe we will get to see our country return to a place where one's words matter, where facts matter, where our neighbors matter and where winning doesn't matter so much. We can hope.

Remember when Trump said "I love the poorly educated!"? Now we know why.
Isn't it sad that we have fellow citizens that believe this bs... I am only thankful that he didn't start shooting as a result of the falsely published garbage.

Scary and sad. I've been there. The only scandal is that its popular and you have to wait for a table.
Brian Williams is now condemning "fake news." Is it me?
Comet is my neghborhood pizza place... it's a block away from where I live in DC. I'm m living overseas this fall, so I was all the more shocked to see my neighborhood on CNN on Monday! And the other businesses on the same block have received threats, and lost business, so it has gone beyond Comet Pizza. The whole neighborhood is shaken up and will continue to be. Multiply that by the potential effect of all the fake news and conspiracy theories, especially with the apparent approval of Trump, and it's impossible to predict what can happen.
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