It’s fascinating to see a political party turn so decisively towards relying on the spread of blatant lies as their primary strategy for winning future elections.
Of course, the Republican Party also relies on an actively cooperative right-wing media apparatus with a captive audience of deluded viewers who have little incentive to seek out anything other than the false propaganda they are spoonfed each day as reflective of the actual facts.
Luckily, there are still a few media sources that bother to fact-check the latest misinformation emanating from the fringes of the GOP lie machine.
CNN‘s Daniel Dale is one of the most trusted fact-checkers working this beat. although his prominence has retreated a little bit since Donald Trump was banished from most social media platforms, depriving Dale of one of his most frequent sources of lies to discredit.
After President Biden met with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett yesterday, however, the CNN arbiter of truth had his hands full again.
Almost as soon as the meeting was over, social media was filled with posts claiming that Biden had fallen asleep during the meeting in an embarrassing confirmation — in their own eyes, at least — of the right-wing’s unfounded claims that the 78-year-old president doesn’t have the physical or mental stamina to conduct his job properly.
Coming as such publicity-seeking legislators as extremist Congressman Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) are calling for an invocation of the 25th amendment that allows for the removal of a president who is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” by a majority of his Cabinet because of Biden’s supposed “declining mind,” these false reports of sudden somnambulance may seem perfectly credible to the more gullible members of the right-wing audience.
Yet here was RedState, a reliable source of untrustworthy attacks on any organization to the left of the KKK, posting articles purveying a pernicious lie about Biden’s attentiveness during the high-level diplomatic exchange.
Joe Biden Appears to Fall Asleep While Meeting With Israeli PM
— RedState (@RedState) August 28, 2021
Upon seeing this and other similar tweets from other equally reactionary sources, Daniel Dale sprung into action to ensure that the truth was defended.
This "Biden asleep" stuff is nonsense. Full vid https://t.co/1jC9JjOXag shows: 1) Biden talking; 2) Biden looking at Bennett; 3) Biden looking downward, his hands moving, starting right when Bennett mentioned this week's "difficult days"; 4) Biden immediately replying to Bennett. pic.twitter.com/dJ9dLsoiTY
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 28, 2021
One would think that with such a debunking RedState would delete its post or that Twitter would sanction the publication for spreading fake news.
Unfortunately, the RedState editors were clever enough to craft their headline with enough plausible deniability — by including the word “Appears” in the title — to avoid those consequences.
Still, as Dale makes clear in a pair of subsequent posts, this type of fake news has a life of its own as it filters quickly through the GOP disinformation machine.
And now the House GOP caucus. Always interesting to watch how, and how quickly, this stuff spreads. pic.twitter.com/7pLruQwt5z
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 28, 2021
Notice how the qualifier “appears” is now absent as the false accusation begins to circulate amongst the Republican attack dogs.
America should be grateful for people like Daniel Dale who can credibly counteract such vicious lies.
If only his rebuttals of the fake right-wing news were circulated as widely as the original malicious propaganda, there might still be some hope for this country’s political discourse.
Original reporting by Daniel Dale at CNN.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.