Last month, my colleague Allen Clifton was forced to do something I would find as difficult and disgusting as having to defend an animal abuser in court. Due to the unprofessional actions of a writer, one Stephen D. Foster from a fellow “liberal” website, he had to set the record straight on remarks made by Ted Nugent. When confronted with the blatant mistruth, Mr. Foster doubled down on the lie with further remarks that were completely distorted.
Yes, Allen had to explain that the remarks made at that time were directed toward liberals picketing Ted Nugent’s concerts and not the whole Native American population as the website Addictinginfo.org would have had us believe, twice. Of course, crazy Uncle Ted went on to make remarks later on within a week or two that were offensive to Native Americans, and so we were absolved of having to “defend” him any further on that subject.
Most reputable websites have some sort of quality control in which things like this are quickly caught, retractions made and apologies offered. This has been proven not to be the case with Addictinginfo.org which, when called out, decided to print yet another false article about the very same subject.
Fast forward to today, and a YouTube video was sent to me in which a writer announced his anger with a website that published a misleading and inaccurate story about how “Israelis Overwhelmingly Vote To Send President Obama The Ebola Virus For His Birthday In Survey.” Sounds shocking, doesn’t it? The citizens of one of our strongest allies apparently hate President Obama so much that they would “overwhelmingly vote” to send him the Ebola virus. At face value (something you should never take a website that uses “The Knowledge You Crave” as a slogan at), this sounds like Israelis are some real assholes. Especially since we just gave them $225 million for the Iron Dome to shoot down more rockets from Gaza.
So why report on this internet survey which has all of the scientific accuracy as an online Fox News survey on climate change or the country of President Obama’s birth? Because as the saying goes, “if it bleeds, it leads.” The owner of Addictinginfo.org, who calls himself “Matthew Desmond” (not to be confused with the Harvard professor), has decided to make a point of bashing Israel on his website because it is good for traffic. Don’t believe me? Here it is in his own words from a screenshot on his Facebook profile.
For the sake of transparency, I am of Jewish descent and I have many family members who live in Israel. Second, “Matthew Desmond” and I have never gotten along for reasons that include this kind of “journalism” as well as his use of content from myself and other people I know without permission or proper attribution. This goes back to 2010 before he became one of the main administrators of the Facebook page “Being Liberal,” where he regularly shares links from his website and those of his friends.
Using multiple pages and large networks to share your material is necessary these days unless you have thousands of dollars to give Facebook in order to promote your posts and keep traffic flowing to your website. I understand that, and I’m not faulting him for it either as it is an unfortunate part of the blogosphere. It really does come with the territory unless you have some political organization funding you. Now, back to the story.
While Addictinginfo.org has every right to take whatever side they want in the ongoing Israel/Gaza conflict, promoting themselves as a “liberal” news source while continuing to post blatantly misleading and inaccurate stories – especially when those stories are designed to incite hatred – is completely reprehensible. They’re publishing what could easily be mistaken for anti-Semitic articles from a Neo-Nazi site, and bringing out some really ugly responses from people who are allegedly liberal. Below are two screenshots taken from the Addictinginfo.org Facebook page with the post in question. Click on any screenshots for a larger version.
Here also are some captures from the page “I Acknowledge Classwarfare Exists” and responses to the same story. This page is part of a group of “I Acknowledge” pages run by an individual calling himself “Icarus Verum.” He is a business associate of Mr. “Desmond” and is virulently anti-Israel.
Here is the same link posted on another one of his pages called “I Acknowledge Apartheid Exists.”
Now if the tone of these stories and some of the more outrageous comments sound familiar to you, you aren’t imagining it. Go ahead and Google “Israelis Overwhelmingly Vote To Send President Obama The Ebola Virus For His Birthday In Survey.” Among other results, you’ll find the following:
- The Facebook hashtag #whyjewshateblacks.
- An article from the notoriously anti-Israeli website Mondoweiss.net.
- This story from a virulently Neo-Nazi website which reported on it with the same glee as Stephen Foster from Addicting Info.
As I’ve said before, honest criticism of Israel in regards to the conflict with Gaza and foreign policy in general is justifiable. However, Mr. Foster and “Matthew Desmond” have willfully and deliberately misrepresented the people of Israel by using an unscientific poll from a right-wing Israeli version of Fox News to paint their citizens in the same light as radical Islam – all to boost their global page ranking and web traffic.
I’m sure when they read this, they’ll write it off as jealousy. Trust me, I’d rather make a living shoveling manure out of a barn or mopping floors at the local truck stop on the graveyard shift than to engage in the sort of “reporting” these people engage in for a quick buck.
Or perhaps like the last time I wrote something openly critical of their journalistic practices, I’ll suddenly find myself inundated with another unusual flood of false reports against my Facebook page. So be it; I’ll be waiting.
But maybe, just maybe, people like this former writer for Addictinginfo will continue to realize that there are organizations out there who are absolutely poisonous to the liberal and progressive movement. I really do fear for the future of liberal politics if they do not.
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