(Via AP News)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — When truck driver Chris Gromek wants to know what’s really going on in Washington, he scans the internet and satellite radio. He no longer flips TV channels because networks such as Fox News and MSNBC deliver conflicting accounts tainted by politics, he says.
“Where is the truth?” asks the 47-year-old North Carolina resident.
Answering that question accurately is a cornerstone of any functioning democracy, according to none other than Thomas Jefferson. But a year into Donald Trump’s fact-bending, media-bashing presidency, Americans are increasingly confused about who can be trusted to tell them reliably what their government and their commander in chief are doing.
Interviews across the polarized country as well as polling from Trump’s first year suggest people seek out various outlets of information, including Trump’s Twitter account, and trust none in particular.
Many say that practice is a new, Trump-era phenomenon in their lives as the president and the media he denigrates as “fake news” fight to be seen as the more credible source.
“It has made me take every story with a large grain, a block of salt,” said Lori Viars, a Christian conservative activist in Lebanon, Ohio, who gets her news from Fox and CNN. “Not just from liberal sources. I’ve seen conservative ‘fake news.’”
Democrat Kathy Tibbits of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, reads lots of news sources as she tries to assess the accuracy of what Trump is reported to have said.
“I kind of think the whole frontier has changed,” said the 60-year-old lawyer and artist. “My degree is in political science, and they never gave us a class on such fiasco politics.”
Though Trump’s habit of warping facts has had an impact, it’s not just him.
Widely shared falsehoods have snagged the attention of world leaders such as Pope Francis and former President Barack Obama. Last year, false conspiracy theories led a North Carolina man to bring a gun into a pizza parlor in the nation’s capital, convinced that the restaurant was concealing a child prostitution ring. Just last week, after the publication of an unflattering book about Trump’s presidency, a tweet claiming that he is addicted to a TV show about gorillas went viral and prompted its apparent author to clarify that it was a joke.
Trump has done his part to blur the lines between real and not.
During the campaign, he made a practice of singling out for ridicule reporters covering his raucous rallies. As president, he regularly complains about his news coverage and has attacked news outlets and journalists as “failing” and “fake news.” He’s repeatedly called reporters “the enemy of the people” and recently renewed calls to make it easier to sue for defamation.
About 2 in 3 American adults say fabricated news stories cause a great deal of confusion about the basic facts of current affairs, according to a Pew Research Center report last month. The survey found that Republicans and Democrats are about equally likely to say that “fake news” leaves Americans deeply confused about current events. Despite the concern, more than 8 in 10 feel very or somewhat confident that they can recognize news that is fabricated, the survey found.
Victoria Steel, 50, of Cheyenne, Wyoming, said it’s important for people to invest time in finding reputable media sources or even friends to get the most information they can.
“You’re probably not going to get enough information out of sound bites, and you’re certainly not going to get it in a tweet,” said Steel, who says she voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Two-thirds of Americans get at least some of their news from social media, Pew found.
“I think part of the problem is that now people are getting too much information and it confuses them and they don’t know how to decipher the true and the fake,” said Trent Lott, a former Senate Republican leader from Mississippi who’s worked in Washington for nearly half a century. He isn’t fond of Trump’s Twitter habit, but also says he sees bias in the coverage of Washington by the mainstream media.
There’s been no love for the media for decades. The percentage expressing a great deal of confidence in the press has eroded from a high of 28 percent in 1976 to just 8 percent in 2016, according the General Social Survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago.
“Trump didn’t invent this. He didn’t cause people to start feeling this way. He’s tapping into a vein that already existed,” said Gary Abernathy, publisher and editor of the Times-Gazette of Hillsboro, Ohio, one of the few daily papers that endorsed Trump. People, he added, “are nodding their heads right away because that’s how they’ve felt.”
Nicco Mele, director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard, views Trump as a symptom of long-term trends. “Now, can he accelerate them and make them worse? Almost certainly.”
When Trump labels something “fake news,” ″I just have started assuming … whatever he’s talking about must be true,” said 46-year-old Joseph Murray of Mustang, Oklahoma, a registered independent. “I feel like that attitude didn’t start until he took office.”
Trump tends to inflate the significance of what he’s done. He claims his tax cuts are the biggest in history, his accomplishments surpass those of all previous presidents, and his election victory was a “landslide.” None is true.
He still insists there were millions of illegal votes cast in the 2016 election, even though there’s no such evidence.
Even on matters existential, Trump makes things up.
Taunted on Twitter by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump responded Jan. 3 that his own nuclear button “is a much bigger and powerful one than his, and my Button works!” There is no such physical button.
Trump often bypasses the vast information-gathering apparatus that reports to him in favor of getting his reality from TV, or sometimes just his gut. That has led him to conclude wrongly that a rare riot in Sweden over a drug crime was instead linked to refugee extremism. He also falsely claimed that Obama tapped his phones at Trump Tower in the campaign.
“I’m a very instinctual person, but my instinct turns out to be right,” he told Time magazine. Besides, “I’m quoting highly respected people from highly respected television networks.”
Kellman reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Dan Sewell in Cincinnati, Claudia Lauer in Dallas, Bob Moen in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Calvin Woodward in Washington contributed to this report.
The Digital Drug Being Used to Self-Medicate
Pornography – The Digital Drug
Addiction, withdrawal, trauma, desensitization.
Destroying relationships with the people around you.
This includes, but is not limited to: family, friends, and your spouse.
Degrading your morality.
Harming your health; mentally, physically, emotionally.
Slowly deteriorating your soul & spirit.
I understand that to a common reader, this may sound a bit extreme. This may sound like something you would have seen on posters outside of a Heavy Metal concert during the “Satanic Panic” from the 1970’s to the 1990’s. The Baby Boomers reading know exactly what I’m talking about. As for my fellow Zoomers, this is simply the culture you’ve been thrown into. While I am completely aware of the overtly Puritanical tone of this piece, it is unfortunately a tragic reality for millions of people in our Nation.
According to Kirsten Andersen of LifeSiteNews, “Porn activates the same addiction centres in the brain as alcohol and heroin.” While this fact is startling, I don’t even need to come at this from a moralist, religious, or traditionalist perspective. The fact of the matter is, pornography is horrible for the developing (and already developed) mind. Why else, after dopamine is released from viewing it, do you feel ashamed after watching porn? This is because you know inherently that something is not right. Dopamine is known as the “feel-good” chemical of the brain, yet the vicious cycle that a dependency on pornography inflicts upon you, often results in the opposite. Over time, your consumption of the multi-billion dollar a year industry will lead to lower dopamine levels while viewing. This lowering of dopamine levels often leads the viewer to search for more “hardcore” (often violent and degrading) videos. Much like how people can fall back on booze, pills, or marijuana as tools of self-medication, pornography can also be used as a scapegoat to very real problems. These problems include: anxiety, insecurity, depression, body-image issues, and relationship problems.
Speaking anecdotally, I have heard the argument that “porn isn’t addicting, but the power structures of it is.” I would refute this in a simple way. The porn consumer, whether they want to take on “the dominant” or “the submissive” role in the video, shows that those power structures come from the sex acts themselves. It is well known that sex can become an intense addiction, so much so that it has its own terms for both men and women. Satyriasis is the “uncontrollable or excessive sexual desire in a man” while Nymphomania is the “uncontrollable or excessive sexual desire in a woman.” The reality is that pornography can become an addiction through the lense of a “digital satyriasis” for men or a “digital nymphomania” for women.
When most people think of pornography viewers, the majority of people will make it seem like a very male oriented topic, but according to WebRoot, up to one-third of visits to pornographic websites are done by women. The use of pornography is absolutely detrimental to younger, single people. For example, a recent UK Survey found that 44% of males aged 11-16, who consumed pornography, reported that online pornography gave them ideas about the type of sex they wanted to try. From desensitizing the viewer in exposing them to overly-aggressive sexual acts, pornography also provides incredibly unrealistic body standards for both men, women, boys, and girls. According to Consumer statistics from NCOSE, “64% of young people, aged 13-24, actively seek out pornography at least weekly, if not more often than that.”
This statistic is significant because from the ages of roughly 13-17, young people are still trying to find themselves. From roughly 18-20, young people are building relationships in regard to a social circle, interest groups, and employment. From 21-24, young people should start getting serious about finding a viable career, getting into committed relationships for the plan of marriage, and family planning. The detriments of pornography throw off this cycle that has been in effect for the past 2 generations. Before these societal norms, the age group for the aforementioned 21-24 may have been reverted to the 18-20 years of age group.
While it is quite apparent the effects that pornography has on younger people in our nation, the outcomes it imposes on married couples and their families is equally worrysome. According to TIME, “Married people who start watching porn are twice as likely to be divorced in the the following years as those who don’t. And women who start watching porn are three times as likely to split, according to a working paper presented at the American Sociological Association on Aug. 22.” This divides families, fragments the future generation, and the conclusion of the results becomes harmful to society as a whole. Researcher Patrick Fagan Ph.D, conducted a study and found that an astonishing 56% of divorces had one partner with an obsessive interest in porn.
In my honest opinion, I believe that our culture has become increasingly hypersexualized. It seems like you can’t turn on a film created in the past ten years without witnessing (an often pointless) sex scene. The intimacy and love connected to a committed relationship involves much more than sexual acts. It involves sacrifice, struggle, honesty, and trust. I’m not writing this to shame you. I’m not writing this as a holier-than-thou stance. I’m not a radical individualist.
I want to see families thrive. I want communities to grow with social cohesion and a sense of belonging. Whether apparent to them now or not, people need help. Men, and women. Young, and old. I see this as nothing more than an important way of broadening the discussions that should be taking place in our discourse.
Reject the digital drug.
This is much more revolutionary than you think.
Neo-Con & Israeli Puppet Dan Crenshaw Lies About America First Patriots, Just Like He Did About Trump
Dan Crenshaw continued an onslaught of attacks against Nick Fuentes, Michelle Malkin, and America First patriots by labeling them “vehement racists, antisemites, & ethnic nationalists”. This is a far cry from the truth. He also went on again to call America First patriots as ‘antisemitic’ in a response to Michelle Malkin blocking him. Dan Crenshaw also supported Red Flag laws, something that also got him a lot of flack. He also criticized Donald Trump in 2016 on top of coming out in favor of same-sex marriage, all of which that has been questioned and exposed of Mr. McCain, oops, we mean Crenshaw.
It is very apparent Mr. Crenshaw has nothing but an ‘Israel First’ policy, constantly making linear conclusions between conservatism and support for Israel. Making his own opinion that if you don’t support Israel, you don’t support America. A very sick and warped view of America Politics in general, some would say traitorous. Dan Crenshaw represents the worse the establishment can offer so far, he must be unseated, exposed, and further more shammed from the conservative movement, along with all the other conservative grifters and Conservative Inc. types.
Matt is correct. They use slogans like “America first” to get conservatives to sympathize with them. But after personally dealing with them, it’s pretty obvious they are vehement racists, anti-semites & ethnic-nationalists.
Conservatives need to know the difference. https://t.co/9PHwWumnU0
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) November 19, 2019
I guess it’s offensive to point out that conservatives are 100% different than these misguided alt-right anti-semites?
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) November 19, 2019
Dan on Red Flag Gun Laws:
It’s clear that there has been some confusion about what conservatives would support when it comes to laws that try to better protect our communities. Let’s address this directly. Watch. pic.twitter.com/TRYjPIclEm
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) August 10, 2019
Dan’s Facebook Post from 2016 denouncing Trump’s “hateful rhetoric”:
Conservative Inc. Coordinates Attack on Nick Fuentes and Michelle Malkin for being America First Patriots
Since the ‘Groyper War’ Phase 1 was a decisive victory following the November 14th ‘Change my Mind’ rip-off Charlie Kirk attempted to pull off, this late weekend we’ve seen a new onslaught of attacks from many mainstream Republican pundits, attacking Nick Fuentes and Michelle Malkin for their American First allegiance. Conservative Inc. is scared of the true conservatives exposing them and their big donor’s motives & hypocrisy. Even YAF (Young Americans Foundation) who even recently hosted Michelle Malkin, disavowed “holocaust deniers, white nationalists, street brawlers, or racists”. A slew of other clips and comments were made by Guy Benson, Michael Knowles, Stephen Miller, Bradon Tatum,Jordan Schachtel, & Matt Walsh.
Twitter threads about Fuentes and Malkin
There is no room in mainstream conservatism or at YAF for holocaust deniers, white nationalists, street brawlers, or racists.
Our full statement below: pic.twitter.com/b5EB7P53v3
— YAF (@yaf) November 17, 2019
The Cancel culture is alive & well—Michelle Malkin is their latest victim. If conservatism dies it’s not because of Trump, the alt-right or a faux Russia collusion. It’s because it’s filled with cowards who enable the delegitimization efforts of the Left https://t.co/1GfpDugUsV
— Denise McAllister (@McAllisterDen) November 18, 2019
Michelle Malkin identified a Holocaust denier & open anti-Semite, whose history she was well aware of, & repeatedly proclaimed to crowds that she would not disavow him. She then falsely ID'd him as a leader of a mainstream movement. Her conduct is insanely harmful & inexcusable.
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) November 17, 2019
‘Groyper’ leader on segregation:
“Enough with the Jim Crow stuff. Who cares? ‘Oh, I had to drink out of a different water fountain.’ Big f—ing deal…oh no, they had to go to a different school…And even if it was bad, who cares?…it was better for them, it’s better for us.” pic.twitter.com/ZJ7LqpTHgL
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) November 18, 2019
Wait a second…
Are you telling me the guy who publicly supports Jim Crow, marched with Richard Spencer, says the Holocaust didn't happen, called for executions at CNN, and refers to people as "shabbos goy race traitors" might have a problem with certain racial minorities? https://t.co/BrOxub1r0y
— Michael Knowles (@michaeljknowles) November 18, 2019
Problems like that fucking green screen nerd Fuentes usually solve themselves. If Malkin wants to choose to be flushed with that turd, so be it.
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) November 18, 2019
No, I went back and watched your shows. You come across as a racist. If this video is edited, post the unedited version were you don't sound like a white supremacis.
Don't complain about @charliekirk11 when you send your people after him.
— Brandon Tatum (@TheOfficerTatum) November 18, 2019
Hi @michellemalkin. Fuentes called me a "race traitor" and "f*ggot" because I "work for Jews." He also said that black people who complained about segregation needed to "grow up." How do you feel about these statements? And in what way are they "America First"? https://t.co/fz8qcXrRCl
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) November 18, 2019
Tweets Supporting Fuentes and Malkin
The Keepers of the Gate have spoken. #AmericaFirst is not "mainstream." My defense of unjustly prosecuted Proud Boys, patriotic young nationalists/groypers & demographic truth-tellers must not be tolerated. SPLC is cheering. https://t.co/yYyqocx1T5
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) November 17, 2019
When Ben Shapiro wrote his column advocating ethnic cleansing of Arabs, he was about the same age as Nick Fuentes is now.
Yet Shapiro, who expects a pass for his quasi-genocidal columns, offers no decency to those who have said the same type of fucked of shit he was saying.
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) November 17, 2019
— The Hill (@thehill) November 17, 2019
Do you hear that? It's the sound of Kirk screaming. pic.twitter.com/vcT3ISeS6a
— Mister AntiBully (@MisterAntiBully) November 18, 2019