Lies work because people are absurdly trusting of others and surprisingly trusting of authority figures.
We saw this during the past week as both Chicago Aviation Police and United Airlines told lies to defend unlawful actions against a paying customer. Much of the media bought the United story without skepticism, reporting initially that a belligerent passenger refused to get off an overbooked flight and then injured himself as police were forced to remove him from the plane. Except none of those assertions were true.
If there had been no cell phone video, the story would have ended there. But as has become typical, multiple videos showed a different story of abusive police. And we learned the United Airlines flight was not overbooked but United was unlawfully assaulting a passenger because their own employees were more important than paying customers.
While much propaganda does not rely on lies, lies are used often enough because they usually work. As we saw here, the media merely regurgitated United propaganda assertions and lies – turning their initial news reports in to fake news.
Two other big lies were caught this week. One, the Daily Mail newspaper paid a nearly $3 million settlement to Melania Trump after printing false and defaming allegations about her for which they had no evidence.
Second, Rolling Stone settled the first of several lawsuits filed against it for their prior publication of a fake news report about the University of Virginia.
In the second item, writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely wrote a fake news story for Rolling Stone magazine. After settling the suit, she had this to say:
“This experience has been devastating to me, both professionally and personally. Never in my 20-plus years as a reporter have I had a story or a source fall apart on me after publication,” Erdely said. “After feeling so sure about the article, and believing so strongly that it would help spur change on college campuses, losing faith in the credibility of one of my major sources post-publication took me entirely by surprise. I was stunned and shaken by the experience, and remain so to this day.”
Which, as pointed out, is a lie:
Erdely has actually had multiple stories fall apart after publication, though none have received the level of attention that the rape hoax article did. She won a college journalism award for a story about folk singer Michelle Shocked that turned out to be false. Erdely was supposed to attend a press conference with Shocked, but missed it and wrote her article by cobbling together information from other media outlets. During the trial, Eramo’s lawyers played footage of Erdely acknowledging that “just about everything in the story was wrong.”
Maybe Erdely was talking about her career as a professional reporter. She’s wrong there, as well. It actually appears as though Erdely has rarely, if ever, corroborated a story. Two years before the rape hoax, Erdely wrote an article titled “The Rape of Petty Officer Blumer.” Much like the U.Va. story, Erdely tells a horrifying story, but provides little in the way of corroborating details.
Leon Wolf, then with RedState, looked into the story after the campus sexual assault hoax, and found numerous errors that suggest that rape was a fake as well.
Even though she was caught lying, she defends herself by telling more lies. Most of the media failed to corroborate her claims of never having done this before. Because telling lies works!
Erdely insists she trusted “Jackie”, never having a hint of skepticism. Because “Jackie” likely knew that lies work.
A while back I did a little “Where are they now?” tracking to see what happened to past reporters that were caught writing fake or plagiarized stories. All of them moved on to some other publication. Telling a lie has become a badge of success, not failure.
Consequently, everyone lies because they can and are rarely called out for it. This may be more true for authority figures.
You can protect yourself by being highly skeptical of everything and everyone. Sadly, that is the world we live in now.
A media oddity: The news media refuses to report the name of the woman who told untrue stories to Erdely because they say they must protect the victim of a sexual assault even though the story was fake.
Meanwhile, the same media (has since rewritten and cleaned up their story) slimed Dr. David Dao, an actual victim of an actual assault. The Courier Journal decided they should mug him again because he flew on one of the world’s worst airlines.
Presumably, the news media’s new policy is to unearth the “troubled backgrounds” of victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, muggings and what not, the troubled backgrounds of their reporting staff, and the troubled background of “Jackie“?
Actually their policy is to emotionally engage readers with inflammatory headlines and encourage those stories to be shared on social media. Which is exactly the business model of online, social media-based, for profit fake news publishers.
42,266 shares on Facebook: And they wonder why no one trusts the news media?