It’s time to talk turkey

To the editor:

It’s time to talk turkey, and I don’t mean Thanksgiving. 

Many Americans have been lulled into believing that Facebook and the dark web provide reliable information. Yet these sources spread conspiracy theories and disinformation, which result in collective delusion. I don’t think enough Americans are aware of the proliferation of neo-Nazi chat rooms, QAnon and similar websites that have created Trump-worshipping mania devoid of factual reality. 

The founder of 8chan disassociated from that website when it attracted violent extremists and was linked to a trio of mass shootings. The new owner of the site has aligned with QAnon and has been hiding out in the Philippines. He has continued to encourage white supremacy and anarchy while spreading fabrications such as the one about Democrats drinking the blood of children. Thousands of people, like the ones showing up at the Nov. 14 Washington, D.C., demonstration, continue to follow a conspiracy theory that the election was stolen, even though judge after judge has dismissed Trump’s cases as having no evidence.

With the election over, if a Trump fan club continues, that group’s existence now fulfills the definition of a cult built upon these websites, not a political movement. So I think it’s time to burst the bubble, talk some sense, do a reality check with people who have been caught up in the thrill and hype of blatantly false and downright illogical stories which circulate on the web, Twitter and some news sources. 

It’s illogical, for example, to accept the idea that the COVID-19 pandemic was an exaggerated ploy concocted by Democrats to hurt Trump’s reelection and part of a plan to take away citizens’ rights. That suspicion denies the factual reality of 218 countries worldwide struggling with 57 million cases. Thanksgiving may not be the time to talk turkey, but at some point, I think it’s important to have frank conversations with those who rally around these web-based falsehoods and not pretend that it’s realistic to believe them.

Martha Hodges



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