Trump’s White House Is Seriously Arguing It’s OK to Use Fake Propaganda for Their Agenda
Look, I know we’re all exhausted. We have several never-ending streams of bad news happening simultaneously, and it’s all been building for more than a year. Everything is happening all at once, and yet, somehow, we don’t seem to actually be getting anywhere. Time feels both compressed and dilated, like we’re getting nowhere, but also like we’re blowing past everything with incredible speed.
On top of everything else, we have an awful tax bill looming on the horizon, which disproportionately benefits the rich and corporations. Just ask a Great Depression historian. Or ask Senator Dianne Feinstein about how much of a rushed mess the actual legislative process is (or how Republicans rejected a proposed measure to make sure businesses spend their tax savings on employee wages). Or consider the havok it will wreak on health care. Or think about how it will raise the deficit and likely result in Republicans demanding massive cuts to important programs in order to sustain it (as Marco Rubio let on), as though they didn’t cause that very situation.
Donald Trump himself, characteristically, is lying about whether or not the bill is good for him (it is). But that lie is part of a larger picture of intentional and dangerous dishonesty, and even though we’ve done everything we could over the past year to make that picture clear, Trump himself, along with his team, made it clearer than ever this week. And we need to pay attention.
On November 29, Trump retweeted propaganda videos from Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of an organization known as Britain First. Fransen was convicted in 2016 for harassing a Muslim woman on a “Christian patrol.” Per the Independent:
Jayda Fransen, 30, was fined nearly £2,000 for wearing a political uniform and shouting at Sumayyah Sharpe during a “Christian patrol” of Bury Park in Luton, on Saturday 23 January.
Fransen admitted telling Ms Sharpe that Muslim men force women to cover up to avoid being raped “because they cannot control their sexual urges”, adding “that’s why they are coming into my country raping women across the continent”.
Vice has a breakdown on the specific videos that Trump retweeted, noting that one of them is technically what it claims to be, another has an intentionally misleading title (neither is entirely illustrative of anything relevant aside from their use in spreading hate against Muslims), and one of them is falsely labeled “VIDEO: Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!” That incident indeed took place, but the attacker was neither Muslim nor an immigrant.
It’s bad enough for Trump to retweet videos to deliberately sow hate and discord, and he was reprimanded by both UK Prime Minister Teresa May and the UK’s ambassador to the U.S. in a formal complaint. May described Britain First as “a hateful organisation. It seeks to spread division and mistrust in our communities. It stands in fundamental opposition to the values that we share as a nation – values of respect, tolerance and, dare I say it, common decency.” Just to drive the point home that we’re talking about a hate group.
What’s even worse is that Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders—not to mention Trump himself—doesn’t care whether the videos were accurate or not. When questioned about it, she said, “Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real,” and elaborated, “The threat is real, what the president is talking about, the need for national security and military spending, those are very real things, there’s nothing fake about that.” This is the White House saying it’s OK to spread propaganda from a hate group, even if it’s false, as long as it can be used to support their policies—as long as it drums up enough hate and fear.
(image: Ildar vector / Shutterstock.com)
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