Fake News and Survivalists. I’m Scared.

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

26 January 2017

Fake News and The End of Everything

Survivalists have always seemed on the outside looking in to me.

Fake news and alternative facts never seemed really dangerous to me. But I was listening to Fresh Air last night on NPR. And Terry Gross was interviewing Evan Osnos. Osnos wrote a piece for the New Yorker  titled DOOMSDAY PREP FOR THE SUPER-RICH. Some of the wealthiest people in America—in Silicon Valley, New York, and beyond—are getting ready for the crackup of civilization.

Fake NewsThe interview upset me. Not because of the subject matter, although the idea of survivalism does not appeal to me personally.

It’s not that I don’t want to live past catastrophe. It’s just that I think it is a fool’s wish.

Think about what surviving means.The whole idea of surviving in a sea of global chaos seems like it might not be living. All I can envision are images conjured up in my brain when I read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

Bleak hopelessness is not an aspirational goal of mine. Neither is alternative facts and fake news.

The I never thought of The New Yorker as a news source. 

But great writing is now though of as elitist.

Survivalists plan for their own demise 

Can anyone who claims to be a Christian be comfortable stockpiling guns and ammo for this eventuality? This type of preparedness is not for hunting food. It’s for spraying semi-automatic fire on hopeless people wanting to have some of what you have stockpiled.

But then, survivalists have never been folks who place much value on the Christian hereafter. I’m a Buddhist and I don’t want any part of this either. Go figure.

The idea of global catastrophe has always been a nebulous idea to me. Fake news was just like a blip.

Is everything we value spiraling toward oblivion? I think it’s about as likely as a zombie apocalypse (funny, I wrote a blog about the zombie issue last week).

But back to my point. The tenor of the US bothers me these days. It’s not my place to make this a political piece. At least not on the surface of who you voted for in the last election. That is not the issue. But the issue IS fake news and alternative facts.

“Think for a moment what it means to reject truth. To tolerate even seemingly stupid unimportant claims. If we don’t believe we get the truth from our government then we don’t need to respect the institutions. We don’t need government.”

It feels as if fake news is anything that might be seen as critical.

Is EVERYTHING personal?.

Fake news. It’s about the death of America.

Fake NewsEvan Osnos scared me stiff. He made the argument that the American Century is coming to a screeching halt.

Why? Because we no longer believe the myth that held us all together. The idea that we could trust our government to tell us the truth. That we tolerate claims of fake news and alternative facts undermines why we are here.

Think for a moment what it means to reject truth. To tolerate even seemingly stupid unimportant claims. If we don’t believe we get the truth from our government then we don’t need to respect the institutions. We don’t need government.

No need for the Executive Branch to defer to the Supreme Court. No need for the Courts to respect the pronouncements of the legislature. After all, they all lie.

Can’t trust any of them. Even more scary, what if they ARE creating fake news and we believe them?

What a mess.

But the disrespect for news. Now that bothers me most.

So, what happens when we don’t believe in news? When we label reporting as all fake news? This is personal for me.

Fake NewsThe newspaper business is in my family’s blood. My sister has been a reporter and columnist all her professional life. She started at the Washington Post and now writes a popular column for The Virginia-Pilot in Norfolk. We commiserate all the time about the demise of newspapers. I even wrote an article on trying to save them. (By the way, I have no idea if she agrees with my point of view in this article.) Fake NewsWhat do we have left if we think newspapers are liars?

That they promulgate fake news? Is there anything holding the myth of America together if we don’t reject alternative facts? Is the enemy of democracy the Washington Post, The New York Times and the Virginia-Pilot?

Where will we find hints to truth if all we have left is cable news? Okay… Fox News.

We are screwed when we dismiss truth. And stop holding our institutions responsible for what they claim as truth. We need to pay attention to reporters while we still have a few of them left. I know. I lived through The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, Vietnam, The Pentagon Papers and Nixon.

Did anyone read just a couple of weeks ago about the newspaper report that candidate Richard Nixon scuttled the Vietnam Peace talks for political gains when he ran for president in 1968? Probably not.


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