I’m seeing a lot of my friends who think they are critical thinking intellectuals and think they oppose Trump, falling victim to imitating his tropes and memes.
Let’s take, “You can’t trust the mainstream media.”
I’ve been a thorn in the side of the New York Times and Guardian for decades now. I guess my high point as a loyal opposition came when the then-current editor of the NY Times, Bill Keller, called me on the phone because Art Sulzberger told him to and I got to tell him for three hours what I thought was wrong with the Times and how to restore it to its former greatness of the 1970’s.
It is fine and good to criticize wrong facts. To criticize the framing of a story. False equivalence. Errors in logic. Lack of historical perspective. Acting as stenographers for State and Defense. Paid content. Trivial articles pandering to the rich and privileged. Ridiculous reasons offered for anonymizing sources. Crappy clickbaitish “reviews” of video games which would never pass muster for books, movies or even TV reviews. Lots to talk about and speak to them about.
But what I am seeing now from a fair number of very smart friends who think they are critical thinking intellectuals and think they are opposing Trump is quite concerning.
“You can’t trust the mass media,” which is Trump’s trope, is spreading far and wide. This is the opposite of critical thinking. It is ad hominem argument.
Having so to speak thrown out the baby with the bath water, and arbitrarily rejecting information from the most trusted and reliable news sources, I see many of these folks posting memes and factoids because they agree with them. Many of these are either obviously false on their face from my perspective or have obvious errors in logic or framing and attribution, or lack thereof.
Okay so far not so bad, we all get fooled by trollish disinformation from time to time. Confirmation bias is rife. When I post false/wrong information and I learn otherwise, I acknowledge my error and correct it. If it is egregious, I remove it.
The problem I am seeing is folks who, when given evidence that their post is false, refuse to correct or remove it.
“I didn’t write it.”
“I never said it was true”
“People will be able to tell it is false.”
“I don’t care I like the meme.”
“I think it’s funny.”
No, no, no, no, and no.
This is the opposite of critical thinking. It is “I say it once, I say it twice, what I say three times is true.” It is Trump’s rhetorical answer to facts and logic. Blocking rational thought with solipsism and arbitrary skepticism without a reasonable critique of the facts presented in refutation, ignoring logic and reason because the other fellow is bad. Ad hominem argument. Or they challenge you to disprove their belief. Another fallacy, argumentum ad ignoratiam.
We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.
–Karl Rove, Republican operative
Is that what its come to? The Nazi Big Lie technique normalized and contextualized for all Americans now
1984 knocking at your door.
Copyright © 2017 Henry Edward Hardy
1 March, 2017 Posted by scanlyze | ad hominem, argumentum ad ignoratiam, disinformation, Nazi, news, Newspeak, politics, scanlyze, solipcism, Trump | ad hominem, arbitrary skepticism, argument from ignorance, critical thinking, dictator, Karl Rove, media, mindfuck, news, Republican, scanlyze, Trump | Leave a comment
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Scanlyze is an online magazine of essays, commentary, satire, and analysis. Were we half as clever, for inspiration we would take Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Swift, Montaigne, or Seneca.
“The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the Nation’s greatness, but the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable, especially when that questioning is disinterested, for they determine whether we use power or power uses us.”
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