From Niagara Falls to Texas to Gaza, a horrifying look into the abyss of a post-truth future

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“It was true and it was false. Even in all the world, if you stuck to the truth, you would not be mad.” – George Orwell, In 1984

In an increasingly shrinking world of free and fair media, the past few weeks have brought an explosion of lies and a raging war on truth. At a time when democracy is on the verge of collapse both at home and abroad, it is a two-pronged dictatorship of propaganda and censorship. And now that power hacks are coming from both sides of the spectrum, it’s even more of a struggle to hold on to the dream of true-tasting healthiness.

Americans got a scary glimpse of what rising right-wing authoritarianism and quasi-state media can accomplish the day before Thanksgiving. That’s when it happened A tragic, fatal car accident He happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time – the bridge between the US and Canada at the Niagara Falls border. The launch of a big lie The global truth about immigration and terror has circled the world many times before it gets its pants on.

Here What actually happened on Wednesday A 53-year-old couple from Erie County, New York – Monica and Kurt Villani – They were driving a luxury Bentley to a casino in Canada due to a canceled rock concert when something went terribly wrong. Approaching the Rainbow Bridge border, the car was traveling between 80 and 100 miles per hour—perhaps a medical emergency, or a stuck speed bump—and hit a curb, sending the Bentley airborne in a fiery crash and explosion that killed both passengers.

No one can blame the FBI or other agencies for investigating, given the specific nature of the terrorist attack, the location of the incident at a border crossing, the timing—perhaps the busiest travel day of the year—and the dramatic nature. blow out. What is inexcusable is that the most extreme assumptions are so quickly reported as truth, and so many responsible politicians are willing to run with those far-fetched truths.

“That’s what I was told. Attempted terrorist attackEven though it’s a series, right-wing network Fox News reporter Alexis McAdams said. Scandals and offenses It’s still the most-watched cable news channel. Reporting just two and a half hours after the crash, McAdams added that her law enforcement sources believe the drivers — actually, remember, two middle-aged KISS fans — “loaded that car with explosives.”

So, the “popular” Fox News added the meat of confirmation to what a right-wing echo chamber on social media was already announcing: “The explosion” means that a terrorist network is ready to enter America, not just from the South. From the North, thus – in their minds – the inherent weakness of President Joe Biden’s border policies. And it was An army of political emissaries Eager to run with fake memes.

Florida GOP Rep. Anna Palina Luna said: “We need to lock the border immediately Posted on X/Twitter Wednesday. “Evacuation efforts must begin in earnest. The US no longer needs to be the host of the world. Another Florida Republican, Rep. Byron Donalds, wrote in a now-deleted tweet: “Open borders, victim-on-crime policies and bowing to the woke PC mob are an imminent threat to our country and its people. Today’s apparent terrorist attack should be a wake-up call to all Americans.

Meidas Touch website List published More than 30 Republican officials or right-wing pundits tweeted similar sentiments and occasionally embellished their posts with made-up details, such as the discovery of an Iranian passport at the crash site. Few of these posts are still around days after it became clear that the Niagara Falls disaster was a horrific tragedy and not a far-right fever dream for a repressive Islamic Jihad response. Others, including Fox News, tore another page from George Orwell In 1984 – Throwing down their first report Memory hole.

Unfortunately, their mission is already accomplished. For millions of American web surfers and couch potatoes with Biden’s mental connection, the borderline and fiery chaos has already been planted, and remains so when some errant tweets are deleted. And the sense that things are out of control in America is being used to sell against a strongman already in the White House who breaks the law. That was actually used in Trump’s 47th presidency to perform the Lunar Ring on the Moon. To expel more refugees It’s like America needs gulag island camps to hold them.

After all, the shock of Niagara Falls did not occur in a vacuum. It was the same week that Argentina elected a far-right president. Javier Miley, It is a radical anti-immigration party Geert Wilders He won more seats in the Dutch parliament, fueled by false rumors about the immigration status of a stabbing attacker. A destructive riot in Dublin – and the polls show Trump is taking the lead. On Biden before the 2024 election.

For these rising right-wing regimes, the threat of a free press and factual public information is high on their list of enemies – as it has been for strongmen and dictators for the past century. The alliance between Fox News, Elon Musk X (formerly of Twitter) and right-wing extremists shows how. A strong propaganda regime It has already been established – but what about the censorship side of the sword?

It’s coming.

We saw it last week A wonderful partnership Under the increasingly unmasked mask, the world’s wealthiest and right-wing attorney general, the disgraced-but-still-in-office Ken Paxton of Texas, a media watchdog group seeking legal action aimed at weakening and possibly destroying the left, Media Matters for America. (Full disclosure: Ten years ago, I had a brief relationship with MMFA to support. book I was writing.)

» Read more: With the world on fire, a cowardly, timid news media is a threat to American democracy.

Media issues have moved Explosive report About pro-Nazi hate speech published on X and advertisements for large corporations placed next to such content. Other X users have confirmed the problem, though X CEO Linda Yaccarino says the incidents are rare and unintended. That didn’t stop. Musk threatened a “thermonuclear lawsuit” against MMFA or Paxton to announce a government investigation of the group — a chilling move against a free press that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend its existence.

of Legally Paxton Trump 47 will not be the Attorney General, but someone like him – as a right-wing lawyer Mike Davis“We’re going to put a lot of people in D.C.’s Gulag and Gitmo,” he told a podcast recently — he’ll get the job, Trump announced, which will include the Justice Department’s job investigating journalists.Enemies of the peopleHe said.

A dystopian world is looming in which journalists who don’t toe the party’s propaganda line face dire consequences – perhaps far worse than the plight of the media today. Where do verbal abuse, accusations and harassment begin? If you want to see where the free press is treated as the enemy. Look at Gaza. And not just because he was Minister of Communications in Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government in Israel. He is threatening. Sanctions on that nation’s most critical newspaper, Haaretz—despite this.

As they say, the truth is often the first battle, but in southern Israel and Gaza, the worst casualties are the journalists themselves. After the brutal and senseless killing of four Israeli journalists by a Hamas terror attack on October 7, Israel’s retaliation has left thousands of Palestinian men, women and children dead. He killed journalists at an unprecedented speed In any conflict in decades.

Amazing 53 Palestinian or Lebanese journalists They were killed Since the outbreak of the war, and not least the plight of many journalists and their families who have been destroyed by Israeli drone strikes on their homes or offices, has not silenced suspicions that some members of the media have been deliberately targeted. Indeed, last week, the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders spoke out against Reuters visual journalist Essam Abdellah. He was deliberately attacked. He was killed by shells fired from Israel in southern Lebanon on October 13. The group, known by its French initials RSF, wrote: “Two attacks at the same location in such a short period of time (more than 30 seconds) from the same direction, indicate a fairly accurate aim.” Israel denies targeting journalists.

Major US newsrooms It was mostly warm Condemning these outrageous, violent and attacks on the freedom of the press to the extent that it is mentioned in any way. Ditto the Biden administration, which has made preserving democracy its main argument for a second term and yet seems to view the First Amendment’s real-world implications as an afterthought, if not an obstacle.

Indeed, according to one report, Team Biden agrees with the couple’s ally, the Netanyahu government, in wanting the public to know as little as possible about the destruction and killing in Gaza. Politico reported last week In negotiating a temporary ceasefire, the Biden administration was concerned that it would “allow journalists to have greater access to Gaza to cover more of the devastation there and to influence public opinion against Israel.”

It’s this kind of ownership that scares me the most about our Orwellian times and our increasingly bleak future. Not only are the new generation of chest-shattering 21st-century electronists aloft their modern-day ministry of lies, but the guardians of real truth – the newsroom grand poobas; An American president They are secretly watching it slip away from us – that I am running to save democracy.

After Niagara Falls, and Texas, and Gaza, it’s past time for anyone to think so.It cannot happen here” Because it’s happening now. And the next 12 months may be our last chance to show that we’re not crazy, that the public wants the truth, and that we can stop the Orwellian slide of evidence-based journalism. Memory hole Good.

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