Bias versus facts

Posted on 02 February 2017

It’s so easy to fall into a trap about media bias when discussing news and how it works with friends or people you just feel like arguing with. I tend to do it all the time, despite my own personal insistence to stick to facts as the basis for my arguments instead of going to the opinion well.

Where this has gotten really, really dumb is in the fact that the President’s people have begun to challenge facts in official ways. Sean Spicer is the easy target, but there is nothing about this presidency that makes me think any of it isn’t coming from the top—whether you think that’s Donald Trump (fueled by ego and probably a lust for more power) himself or whoever is pulling the strings. But the top of the administration, which is not where Sean Spicer resides.

The result of this attack on facts can be summed up in one of the most simple ways. The video at this link is fascinating. Jake Tapper mocks Sean Spicer about the use of the word “ban” in regard to Trump’s ill-thought out executive order that bans people from seven countries from entering the United States while also halting the inflow of all refugees for a period of time.

Where the battle over facts comes in is that the administration is attempting to actually deny they ever used the word or even thought the concept applied. But the facts state otherwise. There is more proof, of course. Trump himself calling it that, then pretending that it’s other people that are proliferating the term.

But it’s easy to misspeak, right? Especially when characters are limited and “ban” is so short a word. It’s like it could be shorthand for a term that would take up so many more characters. So, whatever. Defend him if you must. But it’s always been the intention that it wasn’t a ban, hasn’t it? Let’s go to the tape. Yeah, it’s a ban.

Why this is important isn’t just for the purpose of making fun of these assholes. It matters whether you, as a citizen, want to fall on the side of facts and admit, while also calling on them to admit, that they can’t lie about provable facts. No matter what, everyone should fall on that side. If you want to defend the ban, fine. I’ll happily argue with you about the merits of that another time. But defending the White House here and trying to parse some bullshit about [dipshit voice] “well, it’s only temporary and it’s not actually about religion and blah blah blah…” is completely incorrect in both the act and the intent. The videos prove that.

I got off track. Back to the important part. If we let these guys define what is a fact, then we’ll be falling into that place where we have no idea what even matters anymore. Friends have called me out for defending articles that draw parallels to Nazi Germany with these goofs. Obviously, we’re not there. But Nazi Germany did start here. Whether we go farther down that road remains to be seen. I sure as shit hope we don’t. But the incremental steps mean something. Like, we have a White House arguing over what’s fact and also putting a political guy on the National Security Council. A guy that could very easily be described accurately as a propagandist. In fact, I will do that. Steve Bannon is a propagandist. Couple those two things and it’s feasible to see something akin, maybe, to a Gulf of Tonkin situation. Again, we’re not there, but you have to be able to see the path.

So, as Americans, I’d love for us to agree on this. They’re lying about the word “ban” here. You might think that every website and news organization to the left of is lefty pinko biased crap, but facts are facts. If we can agree on that, then we can probably come together to fight bullshit stuff when it comes at us from wherever it starts. I am certainly game to admit to all kinds of things that are actual facts. Let’s argue over the stuff that one side doesn’t win just on account that the other doesn’t understand what is provable and what is not.

Update 2-3-17

  1. Holy shit, right? Already?
  2. This is more sobering, but damn. Twice in the same day.

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