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Me thinks media fact checkers protest too much when it comes to wiry Joe

Written By | Oct 1, 2020

WASHINGTON. The fake-news media has its hands full these days. They’ve gone into “fact-checking” overdrive due to right-wing group QAnon. The conspiratorialists claimed on social media platforms that Democratic presidential candidate wiry Joe Biden wore a wire during his Tuesday night debate with President Trump.

The wire, they say, allowed Biden’s handlers to feed the candidate answers to questions posed by debate moderator and Fox News host, Chris Wallace.

Mainstream media conniptions over wiry Joe
  • The Associated Press: “The images viewed up close and from different angles show a crease in Biden’s shirt and rosary beads that he wears to honor his late son.”
  • Detroit Free Press: “Did Biden get help during the debate? No – the posts are baseless, and other fact-checkers have debunked them. But they quickly took off on social media.”
  • Forbes: Far-right social media accounts and users with a reputation for promoting QAnon spread a baseless conspiracy theory on social media early Wednesday that Joe Biden was wearing a wire – and social media companies, including Twitter, which said it would provide ‘context’ to its trends following the debate – left the theory to disseminate widely unchecked.”

A headline in the Washington Post reads: “Right-wing voices are dominating Facebook after the first presidential debate.”

Free speech is such a bother.

Chris Wallace a bronc buster in wild Trump, Biden presidential debate.

A failure to fact-check

The news organizations in question never did much in the way of “fact-checking” when it came to wild claims presidential candidate Donald Trump and members of his campaign worked hand-in-hand with Vladimir Putin’s Russia in 2016.

That story still has legs.

Declassified FBI document. CBS News screen capture.

This despite the recent declassification of FBI documents showing the Christopher Steele anti-Trump dossier, whose claims the bureau used as “evidence” to launch its Crossfire Hurricane spy caper against Trump, are lies. The Steele dossier turned out to be a product of Russian disinformation provided the author by a source the FBI knew had “documented contacts with suspected Russian intelligence officers.”

British spy Christopher Steele. CBS News screen capture.

The true Russia colluders

The Russia-collusion narrative, we now know, proves the fake-news media worked hand-in-hand with Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

Hillary Clinton gives concession speech after losing to Donald Trump. NBC News screen capture.

And these Christopher Steele-like Russian propagandists have the audacity to call themselves “fact-checkers,” besmirching the theories of those diametrically opposed to the ambitions of Russia, China, and their gullible, feebleminded dupe – Joe Biden.

If the mainstream media is concerned by QAnon, it’s likely because the group’s conspiracy theories are viewed as more credible by a growing number of Americans. More than the anti-Trump conspiracy theories of unnamed sources advanced by The New York Times, CBS, NBC, and ABC News.

And who’s fault is that?

Who’s fact-checking the fact-checkers?

Media fact-checkers have reason to worry. Despite attempts by social media sites to suppress pro-Trump opinions, they describe as “hate speech” or “conspiratorial,” freethinkers still manage to run the gauntlet of Internet censorship. And this allows the “pro-Trump viral delusion,” as Time magazine described QAnon, “to infect ordinary voters in the suburbs.”

And there lies the rub. Fact-checker conniptions over QAnon’s claim that Biden used technology to help him through last Tuesday’s debate, true or not, counters the media narrative that Biden is mentally and physically fit to lead the nation.

The narrative is the message

You see, the struggle between the fake-news media and QAnon is not over the truth but who controls the narrative.

The media narrative in 2016 said Hillary Clinton’s election as president was certain. The media narrative in 2020 is that Joe Biden’s election as president is, well, you know.

When a CNN reporter mistakenly asked a post-debate group of undecided Ohio voters, “Raise your hand if you thought Joe Biden won the debate,” the response was devastating. Only one hand reached for the sky as nearby crickets chirped sweetly.

Further proof fake-news narratives no longer “infect ordinary voters in the suburbs.”


Top Image: President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden
in the first presidential debate. C-SPAN screen capture.

Steven M. Lopez

Originally from Los Angeles, Steven M. Lopez has been in the news business for more than thirty years. He made his way around the country: Arizona, the Bay Area and now resides in South Florida.