A shared story turned up in WC’s Facebook news feed today, reporting a U.S. soldier had admitted to murdering three Afghan civilians and rhetorically asking if Fox News would cover the story.
It’s fake news. Sure, the incident happened, and was every bit as gruesome as any anti-war protestor could want. But the murders happened in 2010. And the soldier was sentenced to 24 years in prison in 2011. As reported by Fox News.
War is evil. It can bring out the worst in otherwise decent human beings. My Lai in Vietnam wasn’t the first and plainly wasn’t the last example of U.S. soldiers running amok. But, in that case and in this case, the truth came out. It doesn’t serve anyone’s interest to pretend surprise when it happens, or to make it appear it happens more often than it does.
Fox News is appalling. But in 2011, at least, it wasn’t as egregiously partisan as it seems to be today. The more interesting question might be whether Fox would carry the story of the Corporal Jeremy Morlock today, but that’s pure speculation. We don’t need to speculate to demonstrate that Fox News is ridiculously partisan.
Maybe the Facebook post originated with someone ignorant of the facts. Maybe it was someone with an agenda that overwhelmed their moral judgment. Maybe it was a Russian Bot. But sharing or re-postng without confirming it’s accurate is as irresponsible as the Right’s sharing and re-posting its wacky conspiracy theories. If progressives are going to win the struggle to restore America’s culture and politics, it will be by insisting on honesty, accuracy and diligence. That struggle can’t be won playing the Right’s game of appeals to irrationality, fear and despair. Likewise, the only way to defeat the Bots is to untangle their web of deceit every time.
Verify, verify, verify. Call out the lies, distortions, omissions and bots every time. This struggle can’t be won by playing the Right’s game, or playing Russia’s game. It can only be won by insisting on the truth. On diligence. Maybe it’s a little harder. But the struggle cannot be won by playing the Right’s and the Russian’s tricks and deception. That path can only cause us to lose. Which is why getting at the truth and insisting on the truth is so important.
(Yes, Morlock is from Wasilla, Alaska. WC hopes that some day a real Alaska reporter will dig deeper in to Morlock’s story. No, WC won’t be doing a Tales from Wasilla on Morlock.)