by: Publius Tacitus on Twitter at @PCTacitus
If I wrote an article in response to every time the mainstream media engages in fake news reporting about President Trump or conservatives in general, I would never stop writing. But some fake news is more jaw-dropping than normal, and deserves a stern rebuke from yours truly.
The most recent incident of fake news worth discussing is an incident involving another meme. A quick side note, I am always amazed by how thin skinned CNN and other liberal media outlets are when it comes to memes. You would think a news organization that constantly dishes out blistering criticism would be able to handle a little of their own type of heat yet all it takes is a single meme to get these national news organizations throwing fits like toddlers.
This incident all started with another anti-CNN meme that was making its rounds on the internet but it gained national fame when a Twitter user named “SLandInSoCal” tweeted it and was then retweeted by the President Trump. Trump quickly deleted it later however but not before a ravenous mob of reporters took screenshots and tried to make it viral with their sensational headlines. They includes descriptions as follows:
“President Trump has retweeted a cartoon of a train bearing the Trump logo killing a CNN reporter” ~The Daily Beast
“President Trump’s war with CNN went off the rails Tuesday morning after he retweeted an image of a Trump train running over a CNN reporter.” ~The Washington Post
“President Trump Tuesday morning retweeted a cartoon image of a Trump train running over a CNN reporter.” ~NY Daily News
“Trump re-tweets — then deletes — image of train smashing into a person with CNN logo over his face.” ~MSNBC
“Donald Trump re-tweeted then deleted a meme showing a train hitting a CNN logo.” ~CNN
“President Donald Trump retweeted an image of a “Trump train” running over a figure with its head replaced by the CNN logo, just three days after the death of Heather Heyer at a counterprotest against a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia.” ~Newsweek
This, folks, is a perfect textbook example of sensational fake news reporting. From the get-go, I was skeptical about these reports and when I saw the actual meme, I realized only a three year old could’ve came to the same conclusion that CNN and others did. Heck, I am just an amateur blogger yet even I did a better job tracking down this meme to its source and uncovering its backstory than these full time journalists with their six figure salaries, who apparently just got their scoop from a quick careless glance.
First, let’s start with the source of the meme. This meme is actually a modified version of a cartoon created by cartoonist Gary Varvel and was published in the Indianapolis Star. The original cartoon depicted a donkey attempting to hold back the “Trump Train” and in no way depicted the donkey being “run over by a train” like so many of the media news outlets are falsely reporting. Furthermore, the meme that was created from the cartoon only changed the cartoon by placing a CNN logo over the face of the donkey, thereby changing the statement to claim that CNN was trying to hold back the “Trump Train.” At this point, if you still want to make the logically inaccurate jump to the idea that this meme promotes violence against CNN, you need help.
To the left is the original cartoon by Gary Varvel while to the right is the meme created by Joel Jarrett that was later retreated by President Trump briefly. As you can clearly see, the only difference is that the meme has a CNN logo over the face of the donkey and neither picture depicts anyone being run over by a train.
In an emailed statement, Gary Varvel told me that his cartoon had been altered without his knowledge and permission. He also told me that he did not know the individual who modified his cartoon. That individual, I have learned, is a Joel Jarrett. I discovered him while contacting “SLandinSoCal” who showed me a direct message she received from a supposed friend of Joel Jarrett, claiming Joel was the original author of the meme. Sure enough, I scoured Joel Jarrett’s Facebook page and found the meme, which he originally had created in July. I contacted Mr. Jarrett for his side of the story but he didn’t answer my emails and soon after I contacted him, he deleted the meme. I am not a total amateur though and suspected he would do that so I already had screenshots of that meme, pictured below.
Screenshot of Joel Jarrett’s Facebook post including a meme later retweeted by President Trump. This post was soon deleted or removed after I contacted Joel Jarrett and asked why he modified Gary Varvel’s cartoon. As you can see here and in the other picture above, the cartoonist’s signature has been deleted and replaced by Jarret’s Facebook URL, “/JoelJarrett”
After searching Joel Jarrett’s Facebook page, I noticed dozens and dozens of different political memes all with his name at the bottom. Apparently, he created this meme in July and it spread around the internet until “SLandInSoCal” came across it and posted it to her own Twitter. Obviously, Mr. Jarrett should’ve asked permission from Varvel to use his cartoon and even if he didn’t, he probably should’ve at least given the cartoonist credit by not editing out Varvel’s signature and replacing it with his own name.
So now we turn back to the Twitter user who made this meme famous. “SLandInSoCal” had posted the meme on her Twitter early in the morning on August 15 and she told me that she didn’t remember where she had originally seen it. Once President Trump retweeted it though, the media has quickly dug their claws into her, accusing her of being a white supremacist and a bot while broadcasting her profile to all their millions of views.
As a result, “SLandInSoCal” has been viciously attacked online as many falsely thought she was the source of the meme. “You deserve to hang at the neck until dead,” said one Twitter user named “LibertyS999”. “I hope your boyfriend beats the sh*t out of you and ultimately kills you,” said another commenter, who went on to say he/she hoped someone put a bullet in this Twitter user’s brain.
This was just a nauseating snapshot of the torrent of filth that poured into this woman’s inbox and is yet another example of just how tolerant the Left really is. Without the full story or even knowing this woman, people bombarded her with death threats and obscenities simply because they read a fake news article that claimed she posted a “violent” meme.
I asked this Twitter user about the allegations from the mainstream media that she was a “white supremacist.” She responded, “I am absolutely not a white supremacist” and went on to give some of her advice on how people should combat white supremacy.
“You aren’t going to conquer racism or ideas of racial superiority in this country by hate and violence. The only way to even begin to conquer racism is for the various races to show themselves as being decent to each other. The hate, violence and threats coming from the left [and the] Media sensationalism only fans the flames. It puts everyone on the defense. Then each of these so-called hate groups is emboldened to stand their ground. The actions of the media and far left groups are doing more damage than good.” ~”SLandInSoCal” (Twitter user)
In a separate Facebook post, “SLandinSoCal” also stated: “I am quite aggravated with the way the news channels and news articles lied and maliciously defamed me. I’m even more disturbed that the media is inciting outrage and violence like this.” I heartily agree as well and this most recent incident just shows how ridiculous America’s mainstream media networks have become.”
I totally agree with “SLandInSoCal.” The liberal media’s pathetic response to this meme and their childish overreaction show just what is exactly wrong with the press in America. Today, news networks have abandoned their ethics in favor of sensationalism and partisan attacks against people or groups they detest. The misrepresentation of this meme coupled with linking it to the horrible tragedy in Charlottesville is shocking and shameful, even by CNN and The Daily Beast‘s standards.
I would demand the media apologizes to “SLandInSoCal”, Varvel, and Jarrett but I already know they won’t as they are probably too busy seeking another way to undermine and attack our President. I will always respect the First Amendment and the right to the freedom of press but this kind of irresponsible reporting is a sad abuse of this privilege. We don’t need fake news, we need real and honest news. We need real and honest journalists who are willing to present both sides and let their readers decide for themselves rather than writing with the intent to convince their readers of one side or the other. That’s the job for bloggers and opinion pieces.
As new information surfaces about last year’s attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and as the National Security Agency scandal continues to swirl throughout the media, the Obama administration has come out with a worldwide warning about the possibility of serious terrorist attacks.
Please forgive my skepticism. The news media need to dig into the timing and motivation of these warnings, coming as they do against the backdrop of scandals, particularly when the administration has created what it thinks is a win-win situation. Simply put, if the attacks fail to occur, President Obama’s team can claim that they thwarted them. If the attacks do occur, the administration can say it provided fair warning. But that’s a fool’s bargain when dealing with terrorists who can simply strike another day.
In an hour-long broadcast Tuesday, “The Truth About Benghazi,” CNN reported that dozens of CIA operatives were on the ground in Benghazi on Sept. 11 — something the agency has apparently tried to cover up. That’s the night Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
Such information brings the Benghazi issue — one the administration thought had lost significant traction — back into public view. If the CIA had people on the ground, why were Stevens and the three others essentially left to die?
The Department of Justice filed a sealed indictment against a Libyan militia leader on the same day CNN broadcast its report on the Benghazi attack. Amazing coincidence? Please forgive my skepticism again.
By promoting its efficiency in picking up the chatter about possible terrorist attacks, the intelligence community may believe it can quiet critics outraged by the revelations of the NSA’s widespread domestic surveillance programs — information leaked by onetime NSA contractor Edward Snowden to Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian.
Once again, pardon my skepticism. The NSA scandal is unlikely to die down anytime soon, despite the terrorist threat taking over the news for this week. And think about it for a moment. Do you honestly believe that the leader of al Qaeda communicates with his right-hand man in Yemen without considering how many other sets of ears may be listening? I strongly doubt it.
Now is the time for reporters to look to their confidential sources about the nature of the terrorist threats. One problem exists — one you might have missed last week. The Justice Department won a key victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals to force a reporter for The New York Times to reveal his confidential sources about information he published in a book on the Iranian nuclear program. That decision creates a significant chill among sources who might want to talk about severity of the current threat.
I spent a decade reporting about Middle East terrorism for Newsweek and ABC News. Terrorists typically have several objectives. One is to inflict death and destruction. Another is to create fear among the civilian population of a stronger adversary, such as the United States, and its allies.
By closing 22 embassies and consulates throughout the Middle East and North Africa and keeping 19 of them shut for the rest of the week, the Obama administration has already given the terrorists a major public relations victory.
Remember during the campaign when Mr. Obama constantly said al Qaeda was on the run? Maybe he wanted to use intelligence information back then to get re-elected. Now maybe he and his administration want intelligence information to provide cover for a variety of scandals. The dots really don’t need to be connected; the connections are all too obvious.
• Christopher Harper is a professor at Temple University. He worked for more than 20 years at the Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and “20/20.” He can be contacted at email@example.com. Twitter: @charper51.
CONGRESS INSIDER TRADING RUN AMOK: When They’re Not Trading On Private Information, They’re Selling It!
To wit: In addition to trading for their own accounts with private information gleaned from their jobs, our Senators and Representatives regularly meet privately with hedge funds who then use what they learn about impending legislation to cash in.
No, no, protests Congress. There’s no scandal. It’s just business as usual.
And of course that’s the point.
If this were happening in the private sector, Congress would be screaming bloody murder about corruption and greed.
Because its Washington, however, it’s just the way things are done.
- Lawmakers Give Inside Info to Big Investors – Legally (newser.com)
- Palin On Insider Trading: Congress, It’s Time To Stop Lining Your Pockets (tarpon.wordpress.com)
- Hedge Funds Pay For Early Congressional News (politicalwire.com)
- Tonight on AC360: Congressional insider trading bill (ac360.blogs.cnn.com)
- Cantor Says House GOP Will Push Insider Congressional Trading Ban Next Year (businessinsider.com)
- FBI Runs ‘Perfect Hedge’ to Nab Inside Traders (wallstreetpit.com)
- The Twitter campaign for the STOCK act (truthonthemarket.com)
- End Capitol Hill insider trading (mysanantonio.com)