As Jane’s Law Turns

For the last eight years, you may have heard, the Right Wing has been crazy. At least, that’s what the media assured us. And to be fair, there was some craziness out there: conspiracy theories about Obama, the tendency to infer nefarious motives to Democrats, etc. But I saw this less as a manifestation of Right Wing insanity and more of a manifestation of Jane’s Law:

The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane.

You see, I’ve been blogging a long time, since Bush’s first term. And I remember how crazy the Left was when Bush was in power. I remember a plurality of Democrats thinking Bush had prior knowledge of 9/11. I remember them saying we invaded Iraq to enrich Hailburton. I remember the Bushitler signs. I remember the claims that Bush was “gutting” spending he was massively increasing. And I especially remember that the only e-mail threat I’ve ever gotten was from a liberal angry at something I’d written on Moorewatch.

Right now, the media is all up in arms about “fake news”, the supposed apotheosis of Right Wing insanity. I find this concern utterly hilarious from a movement that made fakes news shows like The Daily Show their standard bearers. I find it hypocritical from the people who made serial confabulator Michael Moore the most successful documentary filmmaker in history. I find it bizarre coming from the likes of Vox, which frequently writes factually challenged articles that play to their liberal biases. There was an NPR article that said that fake news sites don’t do as well with liberals (hello? The Onion?). But even if that’s true, it’s mainly because liberals have been in power for eight years, at least at the Presidential level.

So I’ve been wondering since the election: how long would it take for the Left to go nuts, now that they’re out of power? How long before Jane’s Law is applied in the other direction? The answer is: not long.

My canary in the coal mine is Snopes, whose debunkings have slowly been shifting toward debunking nonsense and fake news about Donald Trump (e.g., Ivanka said she’d mace him if he wasn’t her father). But the real manifestation is in the current push for electoral recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. We’ve gone through several stages here of increasing insanity and hypocrisy:

  • Before the election, Trump complained that the system was rigged. Many left-wing sites did sterling work debunking this. They also mocked Trump as a sore loser and castigating him for questioning the integrity of the election and endangering democracy.
  • Then, last weak, based on poor analysis of election returns, a computer scientist started claiming that the election may have been hacked by Russia. He’s since backed off a bit since people who actually know stuff about elections pointed out that the “discrepancies” in the election returns were actually differences in demographics.
  • At first, this was ignored. Clinton didn’t touch it. Some said it probably wasn’t hacked but maybe we should recount just to be sure. But over the Thanksgiving break, the roof caved in. Jill Stein called for a recount in Wisconsin and raised $7 million from Democrats to … well, it’s not really clear what that charlatan is using the money for. But Democrats sure gave her a hell of a lot of it. Now the Clinton camp is joining in, kinda, and many Democrats are openly saying the election might have been hacked.
  • Of course, this is not portrayed in the same way Trump’s ramblings were. Suddenly, calling an election rigged isn’t threatening our democracy; it’s strengthening it! Calling for a recount in a state decided by 60,000 votes or more isn’t being a sore loser; it’s testing the system!
  • The hypocrisy reached full circle today. Trump responded to the recount requests by tweeting out quotes from Clinton criticizing his complaints about a rigged election. He then tweeted that he would have won the popular vote had not three million illegal aliens voted for Clinton. There is zero evidence to supports his allegation. It appears to have originated in a few random tweets. But suddenly, the same commentators who were solemnly calling for a recount started blasting Trump for having the temerity to question the election. How dare he!

Here’s but one example of the response picked almost at random:

Krugman, BTW, went on a multi-tweet rant the other night about how important it was that we do a recount to insure the integrity of the election.

The lack of self-awareness here is simply stunning.

Look, I don’t like Trump either. And I’ll admit that, on election night, I entertained the idea that a Russian hack was responsible for the surprising result. But by the next morning, I realized that I’d spent the last few weeks reading up on just how hard it would be to do that. Not impossible, but very hard. But even if you think a Russian hack were possible, how you can you go, in the span of a couple of days, from promulgating conspiracy theories to denouncing them? It’s madness.

Look, maybe the Russians did hack the election. And maybe millions of illegal aliens voted. But without evidence — not speculation, not random blips on maps, not random tweets — real, solid evidence, I’m not going to proclaim the election results to be a fraud. Prove either assertion beyond a reasonable doubt and I’ll happily eat some crow and then join the pitchfork parade.

But please don’t sit there and tell me how reasonable and rational you are when you embrace one conspiracy theory while swatting down another. And please don’t tell me how reasonable and rational you are when you give $7 million to a grifter like Jill Stein on the desperate hope that your conspiracy theory is real. Maybe there’s something to it. But you’re not carefully and calmly considering the evidence. You’re going down a rabbit hole into madness.

Comments are closed.

  1. West Virginia Rebel

    Jill Stein is a loon. She got less than one per cent of the vote. It’s a money grab. I’d be more inclined to believe that illegal aliens and zombies got Hillary her votes than the Russians did Trump’s. The good news is, the Left is out of power, and they can’t act on their McCarthyism fantasies. The bad news is, what’s left of authentic mainstream journalism is getting caught up in their insanity. You pretty much have to take everything you read or see these days with a grain of salt.

    Thumb up 0

  2. stogy

    Wow… well Krugman for one missed the point a couple of light years. Did nobody else realize that Trump was using an argument alleging fraud to argue against recount that is being undertaken because of um…. alleged fraud?

    I mean, seriously? Can politics at the moment get any dumber?

    I can almost see Vlad Putin rubbing his hands together right now at the thought of the rings he is going to run around the incoming administration.

    Fuck!

    Thumb up 1

  3. InsipiD

    Is Hillary “horrified” at what she’s doing?

     

    The only ones who seem to have been anywhere close to correct were the producers of House of Cards.  Time and time again when watching that show, I’d shake my head and think “that couldn’t happen.”  Later, it turned into “that couldn’t happen here.”  Now I watch it and think about how it happened.  Now that the memorably awful 2016 election is over, could we all at least try to respect the process a little more again?

    Thumb up 0

  4. Christopher

    If it was true that millions of undocumented immigrants did vote for Hillary Clinton, then I think that that’s an argument against the alleged necessity of the plans that Trump and the Republicans have on that subject, since Hillary still lost the election despite that.

    Thumb up 0

  5. richtaylor365

    I can almost see Vlad Putin rubbing his hands together right now at the thought of the rings he is going to run around the incoming administration.

    You mean like he has done for the last 8 years? The people’s of Crimea, Ukraine, Syria, Georgia,  Moldova, they are all laughing (nervously, of course) at your level of obtuseness.

    Again, for the 100th time,  you can poo-poo Trump’s win all you want, you can Chicken Little your ass off, Obama had his chance and failed miserably, an honest man would at least give the new guy a chance with a clean slate, but clearly you do not have that in you.

    Thumb up 0

  6. stogy

    That’s not fair Rich. When Trump does something not stupid or corrupt, he’ll get the credit for it.

    He already gets the credit for making me laugh this morning. It was a classic own goal.

    And do honestly expect me to believe that you wouldn’t be doing the same thing now over Hillary’s picks?

    Thumb up 2

  7. richtaylor365

    Believe me, I probably get just as much comedic relief from Trump as you do, but here is the difference, Obama’s record is an open book, he had his shot and we have all seen the results. Trump has said some really dopey things, but until this nutery translates into actual policy, I am prepared to keep an open mind and to see what happens.

    Thumb up 0

  8. ilovecress

    On the fake news thing. It’s not about being crazy, it’s about being false. This is a new thing. (or perhaps an old thing that’s got more traction via social media)

    Huffpo, and Vox for example, do news. They report on things that have happened, albeit distorted to fit an agenda. Ditto Breitbart, or Fox. they may be misleading, but they rely on some degree of believability for respect (and therefore ratings).  Comms professionals know how to deal with these media outlets to try and manage the narrative to their side.

    Daily Show and the Onion try and be funny (else no one would watch) and perhaps there’s an agenda there too, but funny is what pays the bills. My first comms job was working for a (UK) Government Department, ensuring that Have I Got New For You and Private Eye were taking the piss out our Minister for reasons that we wanted them to.

    Fake news is different. Their stock in trade is people simply clicking on a headline. if you get there and find it’s garbage – doesn’t matter. They’ve got their click. It’s not fake news that’s the problem – it’s fake headlines. They target things that they know will get people outraged, and play the Facebook algorithm to get those headlines in front of the people most likely to click it. For comms people, they confuse the popular narrative, and make it harder to talk about the things you want to talk about. (I’m dealing with these on both sides right now,  so I’m in the weeds with it a little!) It’s not really fake news, it”s clickbait.

    I don’t think it swayed the election though. By definition, they target people who already believe something (Trump is a nightmare, Hillary is a crook etc etc). So it may have made peoples minds a bit harder to change, but I don’t think that accounts for Clinton losing her firewall or anything.

    By the way – the people who run these sites have stated that liberals are less susceptible to the fake new clickbait. But that’s only because if you want to get outraged by Trump, there are already a billion places to go rather than some weird Macedonian website.

     

    Thumb up 1

  9. richtaylor365

    Good comment, cress.

    I can’t speak for the left leaning sites, for the obvious reasons, but I have noticed that on many mid level right leaning sites, a provocative headline (Hillary said such and such) gets my click. So I eagerly read, feeding into my preconceived idea that she is a scumbag anyway so this would be par for the course, only to find out that she didn’t say that at all, that her statement was taken so far out of context, the inference is meaningless, then I leave disappointed, but you are right, they got my click so mission accomplished.

    What you left out of your comment was this, granted they get many things wrong, but the right wing blogs do serve a purpose, they report stuff the MSM totally ignores. Yes, you have to dig deeper to see if there is validity in the report, but much like the 6 months leading up to the election where the major networks would run 10 negative Trump stories to one for Hillary. They ignored the email scandal, the Wikileaks revelations, all the foreign donations for favors, the double talk (You have to have a political position and then a real position), and all the lies she told to the American people about her server, the MSM was MIA on most of this.

    Thumb up 1

  10. ilovecress

    They ignored the email scandal, the Wikileaks revelations, all the foreign donations for favors, the double talk (You have to have a political position and then a real position), and all the lies she told to the American people about her server, the MSM was MIA on most of this.

    Can we agree to disagree on this lest we fall down a rathole.

    But I do want to emphasise that ‘Fake News’ doesn’t refer to right leaning blogs. These are specific websites set up with the sole purpose of spreading things on social media for clicks. Right wing blogs (or left wing ones for that matter) may take things out of context – these sites just full on make up headlines that will get you to click. I wouldn’t count ‘infowars’ as a fake news site, or Daily Kos. They have a batshit insane spin on things, and make connections that aren’t there, but they’re biased news. What the media hasn’t learned to deal with is people putting out facts and quotes out there that are just not true.

    To give you an example – for a couple of days after the election, there was a Donald Trump quote going around which was :

    “If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican,they’re the dumbest group of voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could lie and they’d still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific.”

    Completely fake. But once it’s out there, it’s out there.

    Thumb up 0