I confess. I’m closed minded. We all know the drill. Somebody makes a claim. We keep an open mind and carefully investigate, research, and analyze before we determine the veracity of the claim. The source of the information isn’t supposed to be an automatic disqualifier. Of course it seldom works that way, and I’m not necessarily better when it comes to all that open minded research and analysis stuff than everybody else. A couple of oddly parallel recent events have illuminated this.
Yet another anti-vaxx article shows up in my Facebook news feed. This one is from NaturalNews dot com. Do I carefully study the claims, research and corroborate the facts, check the sources listed? Nope. It’s an anti-vaxx article from NaturalNews. The worst source of scientific information on the web promoting the cause of one of the biggest threats to human health. I know, without reading the article—much less analyzing it—that the article is a mixture of sciencey-sounding gibberish, ludicrous extrapolations, vague correlations presented as proof of causation, unverifiable anecdotes, paranoid fantasy, and pure unadulterated fiction. Been there, done that. I’ve read enough anti-vaxx drivel and enough NaturalNews twaddle to know this. It’s an anti-vaxx article. It’s from NaturalNews. There’s no doubt to give it the benefit of. I dismiss it out of hand.
A viral video springs to everyone’s attention showing a group of young white MAGA hat-wearing males having an altercation with a Native American. A whole shit-ton of articles immediately appear not only from the usual hard-core conservative sites, but from mainstream ones as well, telling us to not leap to judgement. If you watch hours and hours of handheld cell phone video of the scene and carefully select which moments to consider important, it’s possible to construct a narrative in which the MAGA brats are poor, persecuted little victims being picked on by mean people of color. Oh, for fuck’s sake. Yes, the conservative white males are always always always the victims.
The Atlantic runs a thought provoking article on the subject, “When multiple videos present multiple possible truths, which one is to be believed?”. I reply “Ooh-ooh, I know I know! Call on me! We’re supposed to believe the one that makes the rich white conservative males look like victims.”
This is just like the regularly scheduled news story where white cops murder a young black man for fill-in-the-blanking while black. We’re not supposed to leap to conclusions, just because the whole thing was documented on video. The cops are the real victims, because they really truly sincerely thought that that comb in his hand was a bazooka. He shouldn’t have approached the cops, or he shouldn’t have ran, or he shouldn’t have reached into his pocket when the cops asked for ID, or he shouldn’t have been talking on his phone in his own yard. Besides, the dead guy had pot in his apartment, and he skipped school once ten years ago, so shooting him is OK. The cops feel terrible about the whole thing, and they shouldn’t have their reputations besmirched by this media frenzy of people rushing to judgement.
When it comes to white conservative men claiming victimhood when they’re obviously the instigators, there’s really no doubt to give them the benefit of. I dismiss their claims out of hand.