Friday, June 19, 2020

Credulity


“If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country…” Donald Trump, interview in People Magazine, 1998.  
Credulity. It wouldn’t be credible to argue it only infects Trumpofoxians. Nevertheless, one sees far fewer obvious falsehoods coming from the online left than from the right. Cultivated credulity has created such a hermetic barrier between left and right that it looks impossible ever to find a way back. And whether or not it’s equally distributed (it’s not), the deliberate nurturing and propagation of it comes mainly from one side. 
Among liberal cable news partisans, there aren’t intentional liars like the stars of Fox “news” and the screamers of Limbaughland. Or Trump. Or foreign-based, online efforts to divide Americans and bring down our democracy by reelecting Trump; or, if it fails, to discredit the election.  
Last week’s column addressing Trump’s and Fox’s lies about antifa fell on deaf eyes, as usual. One Trumpist responded with pictures of so-called antifa members arrested in recent riots. He declined to supply the source, but I found it, and, surprise, it was a compendium of people charged in a Portland uprising a couple years ago, not a single one of whom was identified as antifa.  
Next came a link to an end-times website, posting about Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, CHAZ. Complete with mischaracterized pictures, it claimed “Antifa soldiers” had beat up a sidewalk preacher there, choked him as he cried out “I can’t breathe,” while onlookers jeered. Amazingly, it included video which showed he was being hugged, not choked or beaten. 
How credulous must one be to believe, despite evidence of the opposite? How mushy is the mind that accepts the horrifying but fabricated descriptions of CHAZ Fox “news” offloads, and not actual live feeds from local sources?  
Then, as darkness follows night, came assertions about George Soros funding antifa, and the tired claim that he collaborated with Nazis in WWII, and is now working to destroy democracy. Which, as one can learn from a moment’s searching of responsible sources, makes Trump’s coronavirus lies seem positively Socratic. 
Why and how Soros became bogeyman #1 for Trumpists isn’t mysterious, but given who he is and what he actually does to support democracy around the world, it’s credulity to the ninety-ninth power.  
In Trump’s greatened America, fifty-three Qanon believers are running for Congress: paranoid people who accept the stupefying conspiracy that Satan-worshipping pedophiles rule the world, possibly from pizza parlors.  
There’s more, like video of people screaming at city council meetings, convinced that wearing masks dangerously raises blood CO2 levels. Masked for hours almost daily, as a surgeon for decades, I … disagree. While cases surge, mask-eschewing Trump just announced the virus is “fading away.” What does it say if he believes that? What does it say if he doesn’t?  
“The breakup of the United States of America is already under way,” brayed a member of the Russian Duma recently, thus illuminating the real significance of America’s credulity problem: it serves the enemies of democracy, including Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and Trump. When Americans are unable to separate fact from fiction, those foes win and our republic loses. (tinyurl.com/2russia4love)  
Spreading disinformation to the credulous isn’t new, but Republicans like Newt Gingrich, Roger Ailes, Karl Rove, Lee Atwater, and now, Trump, weaponized it, flooding the zone with so many lies that people gave up calling them out. So successful is it that those adversaries recognized its potential to further their aims. Not only have they exploited widespread credulity to influence our elections, aided by Trump and his Congressional co-conspirators, they’ve convinced millions they haven’t. That’s meta-credulity. (tinyurl.com/fake2u)  
Education, to which Republicans refer as brainwashing, is a powerful antidote to credulity. Equally potent are the workings of a free and skeptical press, which is why Trump calls it “fake news.” For too many currently in power, too much depends on keeping credulity alive. And too many Trumpophiles welcome the slumber of its comforting embrace.  
Trumpist credulity now faces its biggest challenge. Confirming everything Trump’s impeachment exposed, and more, John Bolton’s book has discharged a Foxotrumpian effluvium, enjoining the credulous to deny or excuse the malversation to which he bears witness. (Which is it? Lies, or classified?) 
During the impeachment trial, Senate Republicans cravenly refused to call Mr. Bolton. Do terminally credulous Trumpists finally understand why?  
Oh. Almost forgot: that Trump quote, still around, is fake. 

14 comments:

  1. Hi, Sid: This captures the week credibly except you didn't mention OAN, the true Trump tv station. Saw the horror of Capitol Hill's hippies there. Love your column.

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  2. Thanks. I did mention OANN last week, including the temptation to spell it "ONAN."

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  3. Excellent column, Sid.

    After reading, I searched for "characteristics of trump supporters", similar to other (pretty much useless) searches I had done before to better understand what might drive them. This time it produced a March article describing a January open access paper that showed hostility and vindictiveness being related to support for Trump and supporters' "quest for personal significance". That might help to explain their thirsty credulity.

    All of this would have been interesting to toss in Centerfire's direction in the Herald comments simply because of his constant pounding of his "Trump Haters" drum.

    "New study identifies a psychological factor linked to Trump supporters’ vindictiveness"
    https://www.psypost.org/2020/03/new-study-identifies-a-psychological-factor-linked-to-trump-supporters-vindictiveness-56280

    "Making Americans Feel Great Again? Personal Significance Predicts Political Intentions of Losers and Winners of the 2016 U.S. Election"
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/pops.12647

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  4. Thanks for those links. I've said many times that they love Trump because he hates who they hate. It's about affirming their prejudices, not policy.

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  5. seeker of wisdom and truthJune 19, 2020 at 9:19 AM

    Is everyone prepared to watch the Tulsa rally tomorrow to celebrate the idol worshipping hate-fest. The "cult" is willing to gamble their health in tribute to their King.

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  6. Any network that covers it ought to give the same amount of time to Joe Biden.

    But, in answer to your question, it's at the bottom of my list of things to do; and only because there's no bottom below the bottom.

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  7. Hey Sid,
    Hypercarbia'a my job, you stick to the disemboweling/bloodletting/leaches.
    And did you know the MAC* of CO2 is 200mm Hg? Which means a little higher on the EtCO2(I'd tell you...)and you don't have to use as much of the Purple/Yellow/Nitrous gas.
    It's the Gas passer's version of "Make the Stitches bigger"(HT M*A*S*H).

    Frank "CO2 is free"

    *"Minimum alveolar Concentration" alveolar concentration of anesthetic that prevents response from surgical incision in 1/2 of patients(the other 1/2? tough!) (Movement? that's what the other big syringe is for)

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  8. There certainly isn't a bright side to any of this, but since they don't always wear their MAGA hats, it's now a lot easier to identify and avoid disciples of the Cult of the Bare Faced Liar.

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  9. Just FYI...

    I couldn't tell you offhand how many Americans are dying every day, but I just saw the number in Krugman's column today: about 600.

    The attendance at Trump's rally was 6,200 per the Tulsa Fire Department.

    Every 10 days now we're losing a Trump rally's amount of Americans. Ten days. (I could never use the word 'worth' in reference to a Trump rally.)

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  10. Is centerfire still around? I blasted that fool for nearly a year and all he did in response was threaten me with his Military MOS and how tough and armed he was......I digress the guy is a putz with a macho complex who has NO game short of Trump is Gods gift to the world and you Liberals deserve to die. No game...no facts...nothing...just insults a sycophantic adulation. I shut him up for a while until he got his courage back up or got drunk again and took another run at it. Sad and pathetic.

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  11. He hasn't tried to post here. If he were to, and if it was the same-old, same-old, I'd probably have rejected it, as I have a few other comments.

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  12. Somewhat sad to say, the next place I expect to see CenterFire is in the obits.

    Fake though that Trump quote at the beginning may be, it's quite plausible. I can very easily picture Trump deciding to go GOP after assessing both major parties and deciding that Republicans comprised the more gullible voting bloc.

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  13. Of course how would you know it was him? He refuses to reveal his name because he claims the "Libs" will come after him and kill him. Mr tough guy is afraid of the killer libs so we will never know if he dies in a gun battle or suicide! More sad and sick...but true.

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