I was really hoping not to have to do this again anytime soon. However, once again, it looks like we have to take some fellow liberals to the woodshed for spreading false information. In case you need to be brought up to speed, we have started a weekly column debunking conservative memes that circulate social media.
Unfortunately, along with having to explain why certain images that conservatives have been spreading are false, stupid or downright racist or xenophobic, we have also had to debunk stuff that is coming from people who should know better. I emphasize “should” because far too often, I see people sharing images made by liberal pages and writers which are false.
As an example, we recently had to address an image that was rapidly making the rounds via a page called “Occupy Democrats” and the campaign page of its owner, Omar Rivero, that claimed President Reagan went golfing after the Beirut barracks bombing in 1983. While the images were eventually removed from both pages, neither published a retraction, which is something reputable publications do when getting something wrong.
Anyhow, moving on to the unfortunate task of having to debunk another false image macro. This one claims that Bobby Jindal said that racism exists only because minorities don’t act like white people, and originates from a page called “Bill Maher Fanpage” which seems to be a collection of images harvested from around the internet, as well as some creations like the one below.
Before I get into the task of addressing this one, let me say that this one makes me especially furious, and not just because people can’t take the short period of time to research to see if Bobby Jindal actually said it before passing it along with angry comments. No, this one makes me mad because I live in Louisiana. I live less than an hour from Baton Rouge and I utterly despise Bobby Jindal in the worst ways possible. So having to “defend” him by pointing out the truth really kind of sticks in my craw.
First off, if you look at the image, there are no quotations around the words which signify that it isn’t meant to be an exact quote and instead, a paraphrase of a statement. Also, this is from an op-ed he wrote for Politico a year ago. But somehow, over and over again this image keeps popping up and people keep on angrily commenting on it as if those were his exact words. Here’s what he actually said:
Yet we still place far too much emphasis on our “separateness,” our heritage, ethnic background, skin color, etc. We live in the age of hyphenated Americans: Asian-Americans, Italian-Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, Indian-Americans, and Native Americans, to name just a few.
Here’s an idea: How about just “Americans?” That has a nice ring to it, if you ask me. Placing undue emphasis on our “separateness” is a step backward. Bring back the melting pot.
There is nothing wrong with people being proud of their different heritages. We have a long tradition of folks from all different backgrounds incorporating their traditions into the American experience, but we must resist the politically correct trend of changing the melting pot into a salad bowl. E pluribus Unum. (Source)
ThinkProgress reported it less than four hours later with the headline “Bobby Jindal Blames Racial Inequality On Minorities Being Too Proud Of Their Heritages” which is a poor takeaway from the op-ed, but still somewhat accurate. Also, last time I checked, I see plenty of white Americans being quite proud of their heritage – especially here in Louisiana where you will often find street signs written in Cajun French.
A writer at The Daily Kos wrote it as Bobby Jindal suggested that racism was the fault of minorities for not acting “American” enough. If you read Governor Jindal’s 2013 op-ed, you could come to that conclusion – but he never once said those exact words.
So where did the words on this image come from? Once again, we have to call out the “writer” Stephen D. Foster Jr. over at Addictinginfo.org who wrote an article the following day with the headline “GOP Gov Bobby Jindal: Racism Wouldn’t Exist If Minorities Would Just Act Like White People (VIDEO)” – which is probably the most hyperbolic headline you could have put on it without adding that he also killed kittens and puppies in his spare time. We have had to previously correct stories from this author which falsely claimed an overwhelming number of Israelis wanted President Obama to get Ebola, as well as distorted statements attributed to Ted Nugent.
Look, I’m not a fan of Jindal in any way possible. He’s a lousy human being who squandered his Oxford education and threw his lot in with the Republican Party. He’s an even worse governor who continues to create greater budget deficits in Louisiana, all while having the nerve to criticize President Obama on his leadership. However, as much as he panders to the GOP, religious conservatives and the people who still think Duck Dynasty is a good show – he didn’t actually say those exact words, as far too many people now believe he did.
Therefore, this meme gets a rating of “mostly false” and “can’t you take 30 damn seconds to research before proclaiming your outrage on the internet?” While much of what the Republican Party says or does these days is pretty outrageous, it is still important to fact-check something before sending it on to your conservative friends as gospel proof the GOP has lost their minds. The site Addictinginfo.org has been shown to provide false or misleading information in the past not only by us, but by Politifact as well.
In an extremely important election year, we here at Forward Progressives still subscribe to the belief that the truth matters. If we can’t expect “our side” to tell the truth – and call them out on it when they don’t – then we’re nothing more than hypocrites for complaining about lies coming from the “other side.”
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