Something smelled fishy to me when I first read a news story accusing WikiLeaks of outing gay people in Saudi Arabia.
But let me correct that choice of words. What I really smelled was the stench of DNC propaganda and I certainly don’t want to insult our innocent water-dwelling friends by associating them with something as rotten as the Democratic Party.
The DNC has it out for WikiLeaks, of course, after the party’s corruption was exposed in the emails that WikiLeaks released. With bold and breathless speed, the Democrats successfully changed the subject with their baseless charges linking WikiLeaks and Russian hackers. The move was transparently political, but the mainstream media followed it like a dog who runs after a stick when their owner has only pretended to throw it and is still holding it in their hand. To me, this was obvious from the beginning, and I was astonished at how almost everyone fell for it. Including the media.
This election cycle has been marked by a virtual partnership between the mainstream media and the Democratic National Committee. Whatever message the party flacks want to put out is taken up and spread quick as lightning with little or no fact-checking. Blame newsroom cuts and the sloppiness that has increasingly accompanied digitalization if you want, but I believe it goes deeper than that.
This is not merely a case of lies being accepted as fact. What we have here is a situation where people cannot tell how to tell the difference. The parameters of discussion have narrowed so much that reality itself cannot be perceived. Anything, it seems, will be believed. It is not a stretch to describe this as a fantasy world.
I was suspicious of the “outing gays” story from the beginning. The details were too sparse. There was lots of filler. The shrillness of the tone was barely disguised. The presentation was entirely one-sided. Being a long-time critic of media, I caught the malodorous whiff of a partisan press release, which is essentially what the story was.
WikiLeaks denies the charges of outing gay people in Saudi Arabia, tweeting: “No, WikiLeaks did not disclose ‘gays’ to the Saudi govt. Data is from govt & not leaked by us. Story from 2015. Re-run now due to election.”
(As of this writing (late on 8/24), this has been their only response and RT.com was the only news outlet I could find that reported on the response.)
So few words but the air is cleared. Yes, in June 2015, WikiLeaks released a collection of documents about the corruption of the Saudi government and the revelations were widely reported. Propaganda like the “outing gays” confabulation usually relies on an actual fact, however distorted, and this is it. And yes, of course the timing is due to the election. Duh.
So let me see if I’ve got it straight: emails prove that the DNC colluded to deny Sanders a fair shot in the primary elections and funneled donations from state parties to Hillary’s campaign, among other shenanigans. But, I should ignore that because Russian hackers working for Putin broke into the email server to hurt Hillary and help Trump because Trump supports Putin or maybe even works for him too and by the way the organization that publicized the leaks hates gays so I should vote for Hillary cuz she likes gays and she’ll get tough with them Russkies. Or something.
Wow. That’s quite a tale! It doesn’t make sense. It’s not even internally consistent. And it doesn’t have to be. That’s how dumbed down our discourse has become. Now when WikiLeaks is mentioned, people will go, “they hate gays!”
(As a bonus, The Hill just published an Op-Ed by Jill Stein entitled, “In Praise of WikiLeaks” so now the DNC gets to paint her as a bigot in addition to being a possible “spoiler” (to reference another tall tale). She begins her article with the words, “WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a hero.” When it comes to that statement, I’m all in with her.)
People will apparently believe anything this year, and those people include the media people too. They are so deep into their own pile of shit that they are also unable to tell lies from facts. The kidders are kidding themselves and have forgotten that they are kidding (if they ever even knew). To wit, the brainwashers are brainwashed too.
And here’s the worst part. There is no fighting this situation with facts and figures. Such things are not the currency that politics and media deal in. Impressions and emotions are all that count, and they are easily shaped and fired up, especially in the social media age where anything longer than a headline is “tl;dr.” I wouldn’t blame WikiLeaks if they said no more at all about this “outing gays” flap. Why bother?
All of this makes me want to go out to the forest or the desert, take photos of flowers and insects, and write about real things. The things that, just by existing, reveal beautiful truth. The things that our bread-and-circuses ignore. The things that are disappearing.