I ordinarily don’t let the news bother me personally, but this Comet pizza story is driving me nuts. It’s only a matter of time before someone is killed, if not behind this story, then another one. First, this story:
For some months now, Stefanie MacWilliams, 24, a stay-at-home mother of a 1-year-old boy in Ontario, has written nearly every day, usually about politics, for Planet Free Will, a conservative website based in the United States. Her husband, a mechanic, is the family’s main breadwinner, but MacWilliams has been earning some money, too, writing a lot about how good Trump would be for America, and a fair amount about how bad President Obama was.
Starting in early November, MacWilliams noticed that stories based on the Podesta emails were making waves. A friend “who knows I’m interested in politics and shares conspiracy things with me” sent MacWilliams stories about Comet Ping Pong.
…In the third paragraph of her story, MacWilliams wrote that “we must stress that there is as yet no concrete evidence of any wrongdoing.” She thought she was being quite responsible. She had read Internet chatter about strange happenings and code words, and she thought this needed investigation. She was miffed that Posobiec had been escorted out of Comet when his video tour might have gotten to the bottom of the mystery.
MacWilliams calls herself a journalist, but she does not try to be “100 percent accurate,” either. She believes the beauty of the Internet is that people can crowdsource the truth. Eventually, what is real will emerge, she said.
And sometimes, it emerges in the form of an unbalanced man armed with a powerful rifle, so he can rampage through a restaurant in search of the children he’s been led to believe are being held there as sex slaves.
And sometimes it’s an unbalanced woman:
MIAMI — A Florida woman has been charged with making death threats against the parent of a child who died in the Sandy Hook school shooting massacre because she thought the attack was a hoax, federal authorities announced Wednesday.
…The threats were made in January 2016 — according to authorities — and included messages that said, “you gonna die, death is coming to you real soon,” and “LOOK BEHIND YOU IT IS DEATH.” Court documents added that another threat said, “there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Yes, another big fake-news story, right there.
Finally, we’re into what’s-the-use territory, at least with some people:
The proliferation of fake and hyperpartisan news that has flooded into Americans’ laptops and living rooms has prompted a national soul-searching, with liberals across the country asking how a nation of millions could be marching to such a suspect drumbeat. But while some Americans may take the stories literally — like the North Carolina man who fired his gun in a Washington pizzeria on Sunday trying to investigate a false story spread online of a child-abuse ring led by Hillary Clinton — many do not.
The larger problem, experts say, is less extreme but more insidious. Fake news, and the proliferation of raw opinion that passes for news, is creating confusion, punching holes in what is true, causing a kind of fun-house effect that leaves the reader doubting everything, including real news.
…“Fake news is subjective,” Mr. Laughlin said. “It depends on who’s defining it. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
I’ve been calling out fake news on Facebook since I first joined it, and only occasionally were people surprised to learn something was fake, and/or prompted to take it down. The prevailing attitude was, why you gotta be such a party-pooper? It’s a good story.
No wonder journalists get no respect. We’re always pissing in the whiskey.
Well, Wednesday was better than Tuesday. Perhaps Thursday will really peg the needle. The end of the year is always busy at my shop — performance reviews, book-closing, all that stuff. I never know what I’m doing from one day to the next in the scramble to get it all done, plus getting set up for the new year. I try to walk the dog around 5 most days, and it’s full dark this time of year. Six months ago, it barely counted as late afternoon.
Maybe Icelandic life wouldn’t suit me so well after all. But it’s certainly warmer in Reykjavik today.