I’ve said for a while now that whether you’re going support Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, just be sure that the talking points you’re using to back up your support for a particular candidate are factually based. While I clearly have my own opinion about the whole process, I’ll never begrudge anyone for supporting a candidate based on factual merit. That’s how it’s supposed to be.
That being said, in today’s political world, a lot of what’s tossed out as “news” is sometimes not much more than highly misleading clickbait. Not that I’m against certain forms of clickbait, but if a headline is written in such a way that it clearly misleads those who read it, that’s a problem. Because as someone who works in this business, I can assure you, many people (if not most) only read the headline. That’s how a lot of misinformation gets spread in the first place – inaccurate, clickbait headlines that suggest something that’s not actually true.
For example, a headline I saw on Raw Story (a site I typically don’t have many problems with) titled: Bernie Sanders smeared as communist sympathizer as Hillary Clinton’s allies sling mud.
Wow, right? That’s rather jaw-dropping, if I must say so myself. Allies of Clinton are actively trying to paint Sanders as a “communist sympathizer”? That’s really low.
Well, that’s not what the article (which is originally from The Guardian but was republished on Raw Story) actually says.
True, the article does make two claims that Clinton “allies” (David Brock and Chelsea Clinton – though I’m not sure if a daughter counts as an “ally”) have said some rather unsavory and untrue statements about Bernie Sanders. Now, to be fair, Brock did make a rather idiotic statement implying that Sanders isn’t interested in “black lives.” But it should also be mentioned that, previously, when Brock tried to take shots at Sanders’ health, the Clinton campaign was quick to chastise him for doing so. So this guy just seems to be saying a lot of really idiotic things that Clinton isn’t particularly thrilled about.
The article also accuses Chelsea of lying about Sanders’ health care plans. Though, at the time she said those comments, Sanders had yet to release the details of his plan – and most of what she said was fairly factual based on his previous Senate proposals.
But the article itself has nothing to do with any “allies of Clinton” painting Sanders as a “communist sympathizer,” as the headline clearly implies.
The “source” the author promotes is actually just an anonymous person who would only describe themselves as a “Democrat”:
The dossier, prepared by opponents of Sanders and passed on to The Guardian by a source who would only agree to be identified as “a Democrat”, alleges that Sanders “sympathized with the USSR during the Cold War” because he went on a trip there to visit a twinned city while he was mayor of Burlington. (Source)
Yeah, because an anonymous source who would only identify themselves as a “Democrat” is very “credible,” right? Especially considering there are well-known efforts coming from Republicans to undermine Clinton’s campaign by trying to help Sanders defeat her in the Democratic primaries.
This is how misinformation gets spread. Many people who come across this article will simply read the headline and assume that Clinton allies are accusing Sanders of being a communist – which isn’t remotely true. Not only that, but all of this stems from a “source” that very well might not even be credible.
An article like that undermines both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders by trying to create conflict that isn’t there. While the two candidates have ratcheted up the negative rhetoric over the last few weeks, they’ve still remained mostly civil and professional. Definitely nothing from either camp implying that Sanders doesn’t respect black lives or Clinton accusing him of being a communist. These are people who are unaffiliated with the campaign and the media is trying to fabricate conflict for attention, website traffic, revenue or to push an agenda.
If liberals keep going down this path, we’re going to end up with Donald Trump as our next president. And if that happens, we’re in a heck of a lot of trouble.
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