In politics, one thing I always tell people is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Especially when it comes to things you see on the Internet. From partisan blogs run by people who have no background or qualifications to actually analyze or breakdown politics, to memes that are often filled with nothing but misinformation and lies, I can’t stress enough how important it is to fact check that information against credible sources.
Even here at Forward Progressives, I spend more time making sure my information is sourced than I do actually writing it. If at all possible I try to trace stories back to their original source, while trying my best to never take quotes out of context. While I’m an unapologetic progressive, I’m also someone who hasn’t been afraid to call out “my side” from time to time when I feel they’re being hypocritical or just flat-out wrong. There’s a difference between having a partisan preference (being a progressive/conservative) and being an agenda-pushing propagandist who ignores facts, reality and context just so that they can generate a story that’s not really accurate.
For example, a story that took off within conservative circles following Wikileaks releasing 20k emails that were illegally hacked from the DNC, concerning one of the emails where one official mentions “taco bowl engagement.”
Here’s the email:
Before going forward, I want to point out the date of this email, because it’s important: May 6, 2016 — the day after Cinco de Mayo.
Once this email made the rounds, ultra-conservative website Breitbart ran with the headline DNC Email Refers to Latino Voters as ‘Taco Bowl Outreach’ while other smaller no-name conservative blogs also ran with the story, loudly proclaiming this “proved” racism within the Democratic party.
As I often say, context matters. This is why I’ve had such an issue with the release of these emails in the first place. All I’ve really seen are people picking and choosing which ones they want to pretend to be “outraged over,” reading what’s written within them, and completely ignoring context.
Which brings me to this idiotic “taco bowl engagement” nonsense.
Sure, without context, this email appears like it could be racist and bigoted. I’m sure to the tens of thousands (if not millions) of conservatives who believe Democrats are the racists, this story fed right into what they wanted to hear.
However, this email is simply a DNC staffer mocking Donald Trump’s laughable attempt to pander to “Hispanics” on Cinco de Mayo when he posted a picture of himself eating a taco bowl made at Trump Tower.
Here’s the tweet he sent out on May 5th:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 5, 2016
The problem with this picture (other than how it was a pathetic attempt to pander to the “Hispanics” — as he referred to Latinos) is that taco bowls aren’t really even Mexican food and Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday, not a Hispanic one.
So, clearly this email was an official at the DNC mocking Trump’s idiotic Cinco de Mayo tweet where he made himself look like a complete idiot — which, admittedly, isn’t difficult for him to do.
Like I said, context matters.
Some on the right wanted to create a story that didn’t actually exist (or were just too incompetent to know what this email was referring to) so they ran with this idiocy, claiming that this email “proved racism in the DNC” — even though it was clearly written to mock the overwhelming stupidity of Donald Trump.