The Big Lie of Mainstream Fake News

A supporter gestures at the press as Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump addresses supporters during a campaign rally in Cincinnati

Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing political commentators are now making mileage with the absurd delaration that the mainstream press is “the real fake news.” As a group, these political arguers have long been uniform with the claim that the mainstream press is “liberal,” but this new meme takes that a step further by proclaiming that nothing from the mainstream can be believed, because “they just make it up.” (Limbaugh) This is a textbook example of blaming the messenger for the message delivered. However, the press is not blameless in its failure to properly investigate some of the messages it carries. Welcome to the new world of professional journalism.

It was nearly fifteen years ago that I first began describing the rise of blogs and blogging as a response to the falling lack of trust in the American press. This was a clear harbinger of something really wrong with the function of America’s Fourth Estate. Nearly every year since, we’ve seen Gallup research produce record-setting lows in press trust among Americans – it keeps getting worse – and one of the most important takeaways from the election of Donald Trump is that the press has now become nearly irrelevant when it comes to influencing culture. Each press entity is now simply another node on the aggregated information superhighway.

We need to go back to the nineties to better understand this, for the truth is it goes back that far, back to the early days of the web and even before that. Let’s be clear, geeks invented the web, not news people. A key part of this invention was the method of communicating, which was real time and in reverse chronological order, also known as blog presentation. It is the basic form of all social media, too, and it could have been the media’s.

Dave Winer

Dave Winer was the real pioneer in all of this, and his “Scripting News” remains the longest running continuous blog on the entire net (1997, although its roots go back further). The biggest blunder in the collapse of media today is the refusal of so-called “professional media” to adopt the communications concept associated with networked humans – simple blogging software. This allowed other people – those not associated with contemporary “media” – a voice in the public square that was never there before. The demand for this voice has been incredible, for those who were silenced by the information gatekeepers of the time were suddenly able to object publicly to that silencing. One simply cannot comprehend the mess that the press finds itself in today without accepting this, because blogs and blogging were a reaction to the narrow perspective of the professional news media. A blog is a simple content management system, which can be – and is – used to run “news” websites beyond the information mainstream. They are, in fact, now tributaries to that main stream, and this genie will never return to its bottle.

There has been no end to the analysis of the failure of the press since the election, but I’ve yet to hear anybody say, “You know what? They’re right. The public is right. We blew it, and we need to get off our pedestals and admit it.” The right is now peddling the claim that the mainstream media is the real “fake news” with which we ought to concern ourselves. In so doing, these political hacks are securing for themselves the self-serving position that THEY are the real arbiters of truth, that THEY are the fact-checkers, that THEY are deserving of trust, and that THEY are the media that matters. The claim is made easier by the refusal of the press to operate in any meaningful way beyond its hierarchical norms, so the reaction of distrust continues the same as it has for the last forty-plus years. The claim of mainstream fake news would be laughable were it not so dangerous, because right-wing media is political propaganda by default, while the press has traditionally been led by curiosity, skepticism, a check on power, and an ethics code that prohibits such nonsense. Those things don’t matter in a world where perception is reality.

Moreover, the imagination of the right wrongly creates a left-wing conspiracy, one which includes the ludicrous notion that the mainstream press functioned as a part of Hillary Clinton’s campaign team. The convenience of this claim goes unnoticed, because the right is using it to justify whatever political claims it chooses to make for itself, including those listed above. After all, if it’s acceptable for the liberal media, then it’s “acceptable that we do it too.” The problem, of course, is that the claim that the press was a part of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign – hence, “we can be a part of Donald Trump’s campaign” – is a logical fallacy, even if the press is tilted toward the progressive. One is entirely political; the other is reporting the news. That reporting may be utterly bad, but it isn’t even loosely organized, as these right wing political commentators would have us believe.

However, let’s admit that being partially biased is a bit like being partially pregnant, so a little goes a long way. This is not to suggest that there’s a vast, left-wing conspiracy underway within the press, because there’s no need for such coordination when the very definition of news pushes media to the left. If it’s progressive, it’s news, because new concepts are, well, new. The job of the press is to run it up the flagpole for reaction, which is always the second-day lead. Conservatives react defensively, and so the idea presented almost always advances. There’s nothing “fake” about it, although it is certainly progressively biased.

The problem is that the press doesn’t see this behavior as biased, so there’s no need to provide any differing narrative. It really is biased, however, and that’s why we were so easily able to provide evidence of it during my days at The 700 Club in the 1980s. Before Fox News, there was CBN News. Both are utterly political responses to the liberal drift of the country that the press plays a natural role in developing. But to claim it is fake? That requires a level of deception not before seen in our culture, one that will reverberate deep into our future.

Who even today, for example, will argue to an unbelieving people that the term “conservative” is no longer appropriate to describe the extremism of the Republican party? The GOP is now so far right that it more resembles the Nationalist Party, one that is merely a breath away from Facism. Who will be the acceptable critics when the press that represents the new right continues to lead the public deeper into totalitarian responses to legitimate questions? This is the behavior of those who will do and say anything to destroy any group they see as hostile to their agenda, and that is the very definition of totalitarianism. Who will fly the warning flags that were put in place by our Founding Fathers to guard against autocratic rule and assure liberty? If constitutional questions are dismissed as fake news, then we, the people, are without hope against the ruling class.

Milton: “License they mean, when they cry ‘liberty.’”

 

EDITOR’S BONUS HEAD SHAKE: Rush Limbaugh actually states that his commentary is satire.

Going, going, almost gone

It’s time to update my graph of the Gallup organizations “media trust” measurement. In 1997, Gallup switched from taking this pulse every three to every year, and the graph they produce today only begins in 1997. However, I’ve never felt that was appropriate, for it misses a big part of the story, and so my graph goes back to 1973 and is spaced every three years.

galluptrust2016

2016 is an off-year to include, so I’ve projected this year’s numbers forward. That’s because the drop-off between 2015 and 2016 is significant, and I don’t expect it to rebound. Here’s Gallup:

Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year. (Emphasis mine)

The culprit is the election and more specifically the Donald Trump campaign, which has been very effective at accusing the press as being party to the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Apparently, it doesn’t matter if the accusation is accurate; in politics, perception is truth.

It’s fair to say at this point that the illusion of objectivity in the press is history and that transparency is all that’s left. Americans will never again heed the press as “the voice of God” as we did in the days to which Donald Trump wants us to return. This alone should convince Trumpers to look beyond the slogans, but it probably won’t.

Meanwhile, any media outlet believing it does its work with the public trust is operating daily under a highly fallacious assumption.

How to clear your Facebook feed of political crap (that you don’t like)

The acrimony on display this political season is just the beginning, and no where is this played out more than on Facebook. For reasons I have stated both here and elsewhere, I’ll not be voting for Mr. Trump. Moreover, my vote includes animosity and disrespect for those so-called right wing media outlets that create or forward the utter nonsense that created him in the first place. It’s their right to do so, but I think it’s a blight on American culture.

That said, there’s a way to filter such garbage from your Facebook feed that will have a lasting result. Here’s something posted by one of my Facebook friends. The identity has been removed.

fbfeed1

Note that the source of the “report” is a site called “Web Daily.” Here’s the first graph of the link:

Ever since Barack Hussein Obama first took office, he has faced accusations that he is a Muslim secretly posing as a Christian just to get to the White House. While he has always denied being a Muslim, a disturbing new video released by Fox News host Sean Hannity suggests that he is indeed a follower of Islam.

Now, I know this to be absurd and entirely void of fact. So how did it wind up as a link from my friend, and more importantly, what can I do about it?

First, Web Daily makes no claim to be a “real” news site. It offers a two-paragraph “Legal Statement,” which begins “Information on this web site may contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. This information may be subject to changes or updates without specific notice.” The site is operated by WorldNewsDaily.com, a member of “Snopes’ Field Guide to Fake News Sites and Hoax Purveyors.” Thus, nothing the site produces and makes available to Facebook can be believed whatsoever. Nothing.

So the question is, why would I ever want to see ANYTHING from this group of people? The answer is I wouldn’t, and Facebook makes it easy for me to insure that I’ll never again see anything from this website. The option is shown below.

fbfeed2

This is much better than unfriending or unfollowing (for a time) my friends, and the biggest reason is I’m now divorced from only the company providing the link. That this is lasting is especially sweet, because I can promise you, I never wish to see anything from the likes of WorldNewsDaily or WebDaily’s Facebook pages.

I predict this is an issue that all people who use social media will have to resolve, and my hope is that it can be done intelligently. Of course, there’s always the possibility that some of my friends don’t care if the report is factual as long as it fits their agenda. How brutally cynical of me!

I could never believe that.

Two major online news factors for young people

pew-readersNew Pew Research reveals that young people prefer to READ news online rather than watch it. This is being presented as a revelation (Younger adults prefer to get their news in text, not video, according to new data from Pew Research), but it’s really just another example of news organizations’ history of not paying attention to reality. The new report doesn’t tell the whys, and doesn’t even speculate. Please allow me to give you two important reasons why young people prefer reading news to watching it:

Over fifteen years ago, then J. Walter Thompson CEO Bob Jeffrey said, “Time is the new currency.” Many of us at the time applied the idea to online media, especially after we learned that viewers were using DVRs to avoid commercials, and the not-so-secret reason was that they “didn’t have time” for commercials. Therefore, the first reason young people would rather read news that watch it is you can do the former a whole lot faster. Don’t try to dazzle me with your storytelling genius; just give me the facts, so that I can determine (for myself) if I wish to explore further.

The reason media companies prefer video is the nice ROI on ads. Madison Avenue likes video, and that means media companies do, too. Unfortunately, nobody in either of those two chairs gives a ripple chip about what the audience might think and don’t think twice about irritating those viewers with pre-roll ads. Therefore, the second reason young people prefer reading to viewing is the annoyance and wasted time of advertising that is meant for a different medium.

All of this is doubly significant on mobile, which is THE go-to platform of young people (and beyond).

There are other factors. For example, prime time for news remains the hours at work, and the disruption to the office of someone watching a video is untenable.

Many of us have known for a very long time that news clips with attached (or detached) pre-rolls wouldn’t work to grow revenue, just like we knew that recorded newscasts on demand wouldn’t be a significant revenue source either. This is the Web, people, not TV. We’re not on a stage with a captive audience. We still need to get over ourselves and start honoring those eyeballs that we need so badly. And PLEASE can we stop feeding them ads that were created for TV, not the Web?

Observations from the debate spectacle

debateFor as long as there have been televised debates, I’ve watched them. I’ve seen all the great moments, from Nixon’s sweating face to “I won’t use this debate to exploit my opponent’s youth and inexperience” and to “I knew Jack Kennedy; you’re no Jack Kennedy.” Last night’s was clearly the most intriguing and entertaining of them all, and I have a few observations.

One, Mr. Trump’s sniffing was REALLY annoying and was remarkably inappropriate considering the guy’s experience with television. I’d rate it on a scale with Nixon’s sweat in terms of making the guy seem, well, offensive and disgusting. There are now accusations of cocaine use, and I don’t expect that will go away. Aesthetics are the penultimate point of putting candidates side-by-side on television, and here Mrs. Clinton was the clear winner. This is especially important given the mileage the Trump campaign has gotten with portraying Mrs. Clinton as not having either the look or the stamina to be president. Towards the end of the debate, Mr. Trump looked awful. The skin around his eyes was red, and he presented a gaunt persona, and it was so obvious that it turned the accusations of Mrs. Clinton’s lack of stamina completely upside down.

Two, any time a person uses the phrase “there’s no question about it” as evidence to win an argument, the listener can rest assured that there is most certainly a question about what’s just been said. Mr. Trump was the only one to use that line.

Three, many years ago, I helped organize a blogger meet-up for a client in San Francisco. The general manager ordered commemorative t-shirts, and loaded the order with 2X and 3X sizes (and very few smalls) in the stereotypical assumption that all geeks are overweight basement dwellers with empty bags of Cheetos on the floor. The opposite is true, and the manager was rounded criticized by the bloggers for such thinking. Donald Trump’s pronouncement that the DNC hacker could have been a 400-pound guy in his basement is solid evidence of ignorance and a willingness to act on stereotype.

Four, I think the debate was clearly and unequivocally won by Mrs. Clinton on both levels of content and presentation. That she was prepared was obvious, and has been noted elsewhere this morning, she clearly got under the skin of Mr. Trump.

However, there are two observations I wish to make about Mr. Trump’s performance and, especially, how well he played to his supporters.

One, he said that the “mainstream media” was a part of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign team. This is a claim that rests entirely on the fallacious assumption that “the press” is biased in favor of progressive thinking at the expense of tradition. As I’ve written in my new book, The Gospel of Self: How Jesus Joined the GOP, this is an artificial claim that we used at The 700 Club in the early 80s to justify placing our right wing “news” on the same level of credibility as everybody else doing news. Prior to the debate, Mr. Trump actually identified moderator Lester Holt of NBC News as “a Democrat,” when in fact, he is a Republican. This is further evidence of Mr. Trump’s own bias, ignorance, bad instincts, and willingness to apply fallacious assumptions in public speaking.

Two, one of the real treasures of living in red state Alabama is homegrown SEC sports talk show host Paul Finebaum. And one of the keys to his program – like many sports radio shows – is the regular callers who play certain redneck roles that Mr. Finebaum exploits to have fun while passing along his commentary. I don’t question his love for these people, but in terms of language, intelligence, and unbridled passion for their football teams especially, they do stand out as a contrast to Finebaum’s wit, sarcasm, and brilliant mind. It makes for good conflict, which makes for good talk radio.

In the early summer of 2015, I was in my car and listening, when one of these callers switched subjects in order to pass along to Paul his “discovery.” He was really excited and through his thick southern accent said, “Have you seen this new guy who’s running for president, Paul? You need to look into him, onaconacuz (Alabamaspeak for “on account of/because”) he’s the smartest guy I ever done heard!” Finebaum probed for more, and the caller kept referring to Donald Trump as smart, while offering his wealth as proof. It would have been hilarious had the guy not been so serious, and it was then that I knew that Mr. Trump had already breached the wall of the rural southern mind. I also knew it meant trouble for other Republican candidates who were counting on normal red state support and behavior.

Today, I’m seeing that same attitude being played out among Facebook supporters who fit the mold of southern Republicans and are granting Mr. Trump victory in the debate. It’s enough to make me believe they watched a different program, until I realize that, of course they would think he won, because, after all, Mr. Trump is so incredibly smart.

It’s all in the party platforms

campaignFrom time-to-time it becomes necessary to engage friends and colleagues on Facebook regarding the current Presidential election. This can be an exasperating experience, especially when dealing with the very Christians I’ve written about in my new book, The Gospel of Self: How Jesus Joined the GOP. I can handle most debates, but recently a woman forced me to silence with the question: “Have you actually read the Democratic Party Platform? Has anybody actually read it?” She went on to note that if we had “actually read it,” we wouldn’t say some of things we were saying. In this woman’s mind, the document is so disgustingly anti-Christian that nobody would ever vote for Hillary, no matter what.

This bothered me, because I consider myself relatively well informed, so this past weekend, I took the time to read both party platforms that came out of the conventions, and I’m prepared to state my case as such.

The Democratic Party platform is an easy read. The GOP’s is not at all. The Democrats seem to easily and directly state their positions, while Republicans find it necessary to embellish and qualify every position with the use of hyperbole and grand narratives, such as constitutional originalism – a product of the 1980s – claims of being the law and order party and the party of religious liberty, and through other embellishments and narratives, especially regarding the military. Among these are mixed certain telltale issues that speak to the foundational GOP, which is the party of unbridled capitalism and concern for corporate profits. Why else sandwich repeal of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act – enacted so the IRS could find and tax offshore accounts – between keeping and bearing arms and abortion? Clever, huh?

I’m not a constitutional or legal expert, but I am a marketer, and I recognize marketing tricks and techniques that may be hidden from others. I can also fact check items in either document when I suspect hyperbole is used as a substitute for facts. Take a look, for example, at this attempt in the Republican document to seize a position of being pro-women while against a woman’s right to choose an abortion:

Through Obamacare, the current Administration has promoted the notion of abortion as healthcare. We, however, affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life. Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and wellbeing of women, and we stand firmly against it.

Then there’s the matter of the military and the military budget. Many pages are dedicated to what its writers believe is a Reagan legacy that they wish to enjoin. Here’s just one important (and often quoted) paragraph:

In all of our country’s history, there is no parallel to what President Obama and his former Secretary of State have done to weaken our nation. Our aging naval capabilities are inadequate for their job. The Air Force fields the smallest and oldest force of combat aircraft in its history. The Marines have only two-thirds the number of battalions they have historically needed to meet day to day operational demands. The Army is at its lowest troop levels since before World War II. Our U.S. Ambassador and American personnel were left without adequate security or backup halfway across the world in Benghazi. In summary, we have returned to the hollow force days of Jimmy Carter.

This paragraph is not only a staggering degree of hyperbole, but it also is a gross misrepresentation of the facts, which are available to anyone who feels it important to spend the time looking. The two biggest reasons, for example, for a drop in military spending are the removal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and across-the-board cuts that went into place in 2011, when congress and the President deadlocked on the budget (sequestration). Both parties, as a result, must share the blame. Moreover, the President has proposed a 7.8% spending increase for the Defense Department between 2015 and 2016. Nevertheless, the specific claims regarding individual branches of the military conveniently lack context, and that’s why they must be rejected. The aging naval capabilities claim is laughable for two reasons. One, each ship today can do so much more than even those of World War II that any comparison cannot be made with a straight face. Two, the Navy is increasing its fleet size, including twelve ballistic missile submarines, from a formal process completed in 2014. The Air Force claim, too, is absurd. We’re in the largest aircraft procurement in history for the F-35, over 100 new jets per year over the next 20 years. The new long-range bomber project is on hold due to a protest by Boeing, but that’s hardly the administration’s fault. And let’s not even get started on Benghazi, for it was cuts by a Republican-led congress that put all embassies in harm’s way.

The Democratic Party platform presents a hyperbole-less prose for supporting the troops and the military:

We must prioritize military readiness by making sure our Active, Reserve, and National Guard components remain the best trained and equipped in the world. We will seek a more agile and flexible force and rid the military of outdated Cold War-era systems.

We must end waste in the defense budget. We will audit the Pentagon, launch a high-level commission to review the role of defense contractors, and take greater action against those who have been involved in fraud. And we will ensure that the Department of Defense invests its budget wisely.

That last paragraph takes a shot at defense contractors who had their heyday during the Republican administration of George Bush, whose Vice President was a major player in the entire defense industry. Democrats also seek the flexibility to act in our best interests at a moment’s notice, something the GOP doesn’t like under Democratic party leadership at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Here’s the quote:

Democrats will seek an updated Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that is more precise about our efforts to defeat ISIS and that does not involve large-scale combat deployment of American troops.

There are three political issues that are of extreme importance to me personally:

    • Net Neutrality is the single most important issue for those who care about the short and long term future of horizontal connectivity. This is vastly more important that most people realize, for it involves the nature of the ability that everyday people have to participate in managing their own lives and not be at the mercy of the hierarchical self-interests of others. This is what’s disrupting everything today, and only through net neutrality will it continue without interruption. Here, I support the Democrats’ position:

      Democrats support a free and open internet at home and abroad, and will oppose any effort by Republicans to roll back the historic net neutrality rules that the Federal Communications Commission enacted last year.

      The FCC got it right, but the interests of big money cable and telecoms will continue to fight it. What they want is to turn the network into a series of dumb pipes over which they will dictate complete control. Corporate profit is what drives this, and it’s why I’ve used my own money to support opposition groups. I want my children and grand children to grow up with a free Internet, and this is a key area where political parties – and especially their representatives in Congress – need to have their power checked. Hell, the GOP is so controlled by corporate profiteers and their lobbyists that they will never vote against their interests. That alone scares the heck out of me.

      Here’s a portion of the Republican Party Platform regarding this issue. Notice its broad use of fear and hyperbole to sell its message of private sector control of the web. As you’re doing that, also know without a doubt that the U.S. doesn’t own the WORLD Wide Web.

      The survival of the internet as we know it is at risk. Its gravest peril originates in the White House, the current occupant of which has launched a campaign, both at home and internationally, to subjugate it to agents of government. The President ordered the chair of the supposedly independent Federal Communications Commission to impose upon the internet rules devised in the 1930s for the telephone monopoly. He has unilaterally announced America’s abandonment of the international internet by surrendering U.S. control of the root zone of web names and addresses. He threw the internet to the wolves, and they — Russia, China, Iran, and others — are ready to devour it.

      We salute the Congressional Republicans who have legislatively impeded his plans to turn over the Information Freedom Highway to regulators and tyrants. That fight must continue, for its outcome is in doubt. We will consistently support internet policies that allow people and private enterprise to thrive, without providing new and expanded government powers to tax and regulate so that the internet does not become the vehicle for a dramatic expansion of government power. The internet’s independence is its power. It has unleashed innovation, enabled growth, and inspired freedom more rapidly and extensively than any other technological advance in human history. We will therefore resist any effort to shift control toward governance by international or other intergovernmental organizations.

    • The second issue that concerns me greatly is the conflict between Israel and its neighbors, the Palestinians. Those who are regular readers will know that I have Palestinian family living in Amman, Jordan, so this issue is quite personal, and my window on the Middle East is wider than those (American) who cover events entirely through the Israeli narrative. In this particular issue, I find fault with both parties, for neither party platform expresses support for Palestinians, especially when it comes to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS). There are other reasons I can’t support either position. The Democrats will “continue to work toward as two-state solution.” This is fantasy, for Israel will never agree to it. Therefore, the only solution can be one-state, but that will require a completely different mindset, especially among the Jews who make up the vast majority population in the current state of Israel.As a taxpayer, I am offended that we should send $4.5 billion in annual aid to Israel without oversight or stipulation as to how it is used. We give Israel a free pass to behave in any manner they choose with regards to “protecting its borders.” I have many Christian friends who passionately love Israel, and their love is genuine. It is truly a remarkable place in all the earth. But you know what? My family used to love living there, too, because its name isn’t what makes it remarkable, and for us to look the other way while right wing expansionists engage in genocide against the Arabs who used to live there is unacceptable to me. While I’m not happy with either party on this, it is the Republican Party platform that “condemns” BDS as anti-Semitic and should be denounced by those who favor academic freedom. The GOP document suggests that you cannot be against ISIS and not “for” Israel and calls Israel “an expression of Americanism, and it is the responsibility of our government to advance policies that reflect Americans’ strong desire for a relationship with no daylight between America and Israel.” It also calls for moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, a very dangerous proposition. “Our party is proud to stand with Israel now and always.”
    • My final important personal issue has to do with drugs and drug enforcement, especially the changes in the last year from the DEA regarding opiates and prescription pain medications. Just last month, I was denied insurance coverage for cough medicine containing codeine, even though I was bordering on pneumonia. I could not afford to pay for it absent insurance, but both Medicare and my insurance company refused. I used to be a chronic pain patient, and I wrote two years ago about the senseless restrictions being placed on pharmacies and patients in the DEA’s reclassifying hydrocodone as a schedule three narcotic. I’ve argued that the people making these rules have never been inside a pain clinic and that the move was entirely politically based on fear and hyperbole about opiate misuse impacting, what else, our children. This move criminalized even legal use of the drug, so that drug enforcement – and especially out-of-control federal prosecutors – could swing their dicks.And wouldn’t you know, this issue is written into the Republican Party platform.

      Heroin and opioid abuse touches our communities, our homes, and our families in ways that have grave effects on Americans in every community. With a quadrupling of both their sales and their overdose deaths, the opioid crisis is ravaging communities all over the country, often hitting rural areas harder than urban. Because over-prescription of drugs is such a large part of the problem, Republican legislation now allows Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans to limit patients to a single pharmacy. Congressional Republicans have also called upon the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to ensure that no physician will be penalized for limiting opioid prescriptions. We look for expeditious agreement between the House and Senate on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which addresses the opioid epidemic from both the demand and supply sides of the problem.

      This paragraph alone makes me question the intelligence of the entire document. It is fear-mongering, and it handcuffs the entire medical profession in ways that are draconian and autocratic, all to make a few more law enforcement bureaucrats feel more secure in their positions. Honestly, folks, what have we come to? Now that marijuana laws are being viewed in a different light, the DEA has to have something equally antagonistic in order to justify its budget. Besides, the core of this entire issue is poverty. The drugs are just a symptom, and “cracking down” only hurts people with legitimate needs for the medications.

The Republican Party Platform mentions Hillary Clinton only twice, once about human rights and the other about abortion. However, it refers to President Obama twenty times, while the Democratic Party Platform mentions Donald Trump by name thirty-two times. While Mr. Trump is running against Mrs. Clinton, his party is positioning itself as running against the outgoing administration. I find this fascinating, for as I read the platform of the GOP, I kept thinking, this platform in the hands of anybody other than Donald Trump might actually work to manipulate voters to a Republican administration for the next four years. This is further evidenced by how the Democratic Party platform pounds away at the Trump candidacy by going after the man’s ignorant rants and by exploiting outrageous statements and beliefs that are no where to be found in his own party’s platform. This is likely why so many republicans even have trouble with Mr. Trump.

But don’t just listen to me. Go read these documents for yourself. And FACT CHECK. Don’t take either side’s statements as fact, just because they sound like what you’re used to hearing.

Democratic Party Platform
Republican Party Platform