Crazy like a Fox News host

Well, it takes a village to raise a village idiot. While Donald Trump is making his usual hate-spewing, divisive, xenophobic rounds, his rabid, spear-carrying and Trump-genuflecting sycophants, like Tucker Carlson and Congressman Matt Gaetz, are helping him spread scare-mongering, anti-China conspiracy theories.

Turns out, according to this Carlson/Gaetz brain trust, that the Chinese have infiltrated local law enforcement agencies by selling them drones equipped with “Trojan Horse backdoors.” These drones are ostensibly used by law enforcement to monitor local interactions of Americans in parks and on streets to keep them safe by ensuring they are observing appropriate social distancing protocols.

But these particular Chinese drones, according to Gaetz, could be “transmitting data back to China” so that the Chinese may in turn sell the data to terrorists. The terrorists can use the information — real-time photos of Americans walking through the streets of Boca Raton or Des Moines or Hackensack, say, — in some way or another. I’m not exactly sure what the terrorists could do with this information but, well, they’re terrorists after all, so they must have a) lots of money to spend on nonsense and must be particularly b) paralysingly stupid.

I learned this latest bit of crapola real time from Donald Trump, Jr., who tweeted it to me. That’s right, I finally joined the beginning of the middling half of the twenty-first century and got active on my Twitter account this weekend. You can follow me at @RAHarrington. I took a deep breath and put a metaphorical clothespin on my nose and am now following such loathsome creatures as the despicable president and his abominable son. I get hate-flashed notifications of their current idiocies across the top of my iPad. I no longer have to learn of them later from the New York Times or the Washington Post. It’s Fascism delivered to my computer screen in real-time.

This Trump distraction machine promotes anti-China propaganda with the help of Fox News for one reason alone. Trump has made such a colossal mess of the federal response to coronavirus that it has now become necessary to manufacture hate on a national scale. They are busy, with the help of Tucker Carlson and other useful idiots at Fox News, promulgating this industrial-strength disinformation to the American people so the American people can have something other than Trump to blame for Trump’s screwups. It’s fascism 101.

This is again why we must, as a people, resist conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories are the servants of lies and hysteria. There are more than enough bad things going on in the world without any need for us to cultivate more.

Conspiracy theories are easy to spot, they come to us as scintillating explanations, entirely without evidence, and are used to explain real world problems, mysteries and tragedies. The promoters of these theories provide coincidental circumstances in support of these theories and carefully avoid mentioning known flaws and holes in the theories. They guess — almost always correctly — that their listeners won’t bother to think about what they are being told, nor will they google alternative explanations. They will, instead, snap their heads back lizard-like and swallow whole and untasted everything they’re told, and they will dutifully retweet or share it. Especially if it comes from ostensibly “trusted sources” like Tucker Carlson.

We are in the early days of this new China syndrome, whereby China will be more and more promoted as the bad guy by the radical right. The trouble is, China has in fact been at fault in many ways. So we must negotiate what we learn about China with diligence and careful discernment.

Like all tyrannical regimes, the Chinese go to great lengths to hide the truth when the truth makes them look bad. In that way they are no different from Trump and his pirate ship full of criminals and bottom feeders infesting the West Wing. But the unjust hatred against China being promoted through conspiracy theories will soon turn ugly and xenophobic. It will be fed by the twin demons of falsehood and provocation. Many Americans will buy into it and repeat it, and much of the blame will consequently fail to fall where it deserves to fall, squarely on the shoulders of Donald Trump. Innocent Chinese Americans and other people of Asian ancestry will needlessly suffer in Trump’s place, and that is just fine with the child-raping, murdering Racist-in-Chief.

Do not be distracted by these lies. We have a real battle to fight and we must not allow ourselves to become confused or preoccupied by irrelevancies. We must defeat Donald Trump in November. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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