TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2022
Here's what the goblins have said: The ghosts and goblins were out in force last night.
That said, for several days, they had been active on Twitter.
By Sunday afternoon, the Washington Post was reporting what the goblins had been saying. As reported by Isaac Stanley-Becker, here's part of what the goblins have said about the apparent / alleged / reported attack on Paul Pelosi:
STANLEY-BECKER (10/30/22): [Elon] Musk, who calls himself “Chief Twit,” also appeared unconvinced by the official story forming in the days after the attack. In response to a tweet from Hillary Clinton condemning the attack and claiming it resulted from “hate and deranged conspiracy theories” spread by Republican politicians, he pointed instead to a story in the Santa Monica Observer claiming without evidence that Paul Pelosi was drunk at the time of the assault and “in a dispute with a male prostitute.” Musk, who later deleted the tweet, did not respond to an email seeking comment.
The website of the Santa Monica Observer, described by fact-checkers as a low-credibility source favoring the extreme right, was offline Sunday morning. But an archived version of the story promised to explain “what really happened early Friday morning in San Francisco.”
It unspooled a lurid tale about nudists and a tryst gone terribly wrong. It also speculated about Pelosi’s medical condition and the security at the home he shares with the House speaker in San Francisco’s tony Pacific Heights neighborhood...
The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times has called the site “notorious for publishing false news,” highlighting its fantastical claim, in 2016, that [Hillary] Clinton had died and been replaced by a body double.
Similarly deluded claims filled social media over the weekend in response to the attack on Pelosi.
As of Sunday afternoon, the lengthy report by Stanley-Becker was providing important information about what was being said.
We'll guess that very few people saw the report. (We ourselves did not.)
You see, the online Post is now cluttered with braindead pseudo-reports from such key departments as ADVICE, WELL + BEING, LIFESTYLE and HELP DESK. To appearances, the inanity is general over the online Post as owner Jeff Bezos seeks profits.
Something else is true, of course:
For better or worse, news orgs are inclined to avoid reporting about apparent disinformation. For better or worse, and not without reason, they're inclined to fear that such reporting will only spread false, unfounded or crazy claims even further.
Those journalistic scruples make a definite type of sense. They also help create a system in which crazy claims make their way around the world before official reports can get their pants on—also, before the bulk of the population knows what else is being said.
We'll note an important point about Stanley-Becker's report. (In our view, this brings a variant of Arnold's "eternal note of sadness" in.)
The important point is this:
In the end, Stanley-Becker can't actually prove that the "lurid tale" being shopped on the web is "deluded." Indeed, he can't even prove that it's wrong!
In the end, proof comes close to being impossible. In the end, it all depends on who you choose to believe.
On this morning's Morning Joe, Mika and her guests were beginning to acknowledge the existence of this widespread lurid tale. They sought to undermine the claims by referring to the official FBI report about the attack on Pelosi.
That said, alas! For many Americans, the FBI has long since been abandoned as a reliable source of information about alleged attacks.
In recent years, the organization has been fashioned as part of the "Deep State." For many Americans, the fact that the FBI says that Paul Pelosi was attacked now means that he surely wasn't.
Sad but true! In the end, this is the way information works:
We weren't there to see what happened that night. You're weren't present on the evening in question either.
For that reason, we're forced to rely on official reports to let us form our idea of what happened. But in a form of silent secession, many Americans—we have no idea how many—have long since stopped placing their trust in "official reports."
Those official reports come from the Deep State. Those reports are laughed at, disregarded.
Instead, many Americans get their ideas from people like Tucker Carlson. Carlson was playing the Disbelief Card as he opened his program last night.
Carlson was actively sowing doubt, perhaps in a rather selective fashion. For transcript and tape, just click here.
Last evening, the insinuations were general over Tucker Carlson Tonight. In the end, it always comes down to a matter of trust as to whose account of some event a citizen will assume to be accurate.
We're speaking here of a silent secession—of a cleaving of a very large nation in two. Stanley-Becker's report describes the way that process has worked in the current circumstance, but it's going to be extremely hard to find our way back from this place.
The goblins have been general over Twitter in recent days. As always, responses from our blue tribe's tribunes haven't been especially timely, potent, intelligent, insightful, helpful or wise.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but the goblins have been out in force. In reply, our tribe has offered a tiny, tinny children's crusade, run by media personalities who just aren't especially impressive.
This sort of thing has been going on ever since Jerry Falwell toured the country with the Clinton Chronicles tape in the 1990s. Our self-impressed tribe slept through that era, and our corporate tribal leadership is still rather hapless today.
We've shown you what is being said. How strong is our own tribe's human discernment as we respond to this news?
This afternoon: When Mika threw to George [Conway]. Also, what Bret Stephens said