Alt Facts: Mari-what?!
The core concepts deployed when using alternative facts as a political weapon are far from new (The Rosetta Stone was a multi-lingual piece of ancient propaganda, attempting to get the Egyptian public to accept a Roman conqueror as a manifestation of a local god). But the particular spin lent to the practice by recent events – ie, just say the same thing over and over and over, loudly if possible, and on social media, until everyone confuses familiarity with truth – seem to be contagious at all levels. Our own local attorney general recently released a statement, which could have been lifted from an “SNL” skit (if anyone still watched those), on cannabis legalization and the dangers thereof. But alternative facts lurked throughout, presented with bold confidence by RI AG Kilmartin.
Among them – that marijuana use among teens (almost universally regarded as a bad thing among legalization advocates and opponents alike) has skyrocketed in Colorado since legalization. Repeated studies by a number of sources have found that it hasn’t changed. The AG also claimed that legalization would contribute to the opioid crisis. Most evidence points to marijuana as an alternative to these painkillers, not a gateway to them, and many legalization advocates favor legalization precisely because it will take pot out of the hands of dealers who may have ulterior motives – like pushing more profitable opioids.
The disturbing part is that truth seems to be of little consequence. There is no exploration of the methodology employed in conflicting studies and no attempt to look at big-picture evidence. There is an agenda, and then “facts” to support it are sought out. It’s the polar opposite (sorry for the pun, global warming) of the scientific method we as a society have striven to empower for centuries in the face of superstition and conventional, untested wisdom. And right now, it’s pretty darn popular.
Check out RegulateRI.com for a point-by-point examination of the AG’s alternate reality.
Free the Presses!
The Trump Administration has apparently declared war on Trumpileaks (wired.com/2017/03/time-journalists-encrypt-everything), as reported in Wired and The New York Times. Trump staffers’ personal devices are now subject to random search and seizure in the pursuit of any administration/journalist interactions.
Before staffers interested in transparency get snowdened under by the newly intense scrutiny, we wanted to state for the record that Motif will neither confirm nor deny not having possibly received insider tips from some of or possibly none of the following: Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Betsy DeVos and Sean Spicer. Go get ‘em, Donald! Purge!