Several days ago, I re-posted a news story on Facebook. It had been on the CNN website that day and appeared genuine. It outraged me so much I re-posted without checking. My bad.
Within minutes, some sharp-eyed Facebook friends started commenting they hadn’t seen it anywhere else and a few questioned its authenticity. Suddenly, so did I. Going back to the CNN page, the story I had copied was nowhere to be found. I checked every nook and cranny but it wasn’t there.
Since the story had a Nevada dateline, I looked up the state’s two largest newspaper web pages. Nothing. Not a word.
At this point, I was both professionally and personally embarrassed. So, after waiting 24 hours to do more research - and to think of a properly worded mea culpa - I checked the Nevada papers again. And there it was! Whew!
So, I re-posted one of the more detailed stories with a “soft” mea culpa and invited skeptical friends to check it out. After all, they had a right to be skeptical since I had not done my homework.
So, what’s the point?
Just this. Simply because something appears on a legitimate website like CNN, check a couple more sources before sharing. Each week, I visit some 15-20 sites - Washington Post, New York Times, LA Times, Boston Globe, Der Spiegel, London Times, The Guardian, Tokyo Times, CBS, NBC, etc. The idea is to be exposed to many issues and to check other views of all sorts of stories.
But, I think I got “had” on CNN. CNN, too. Which is a wake-up call for all my other online reading. I checked with the Atlanta powers-that-be and they couldn’t find my “story,” either. It could have been a Russian “bot.” My source didn’t use that word but did say the company’s site has been experiencing “some difficulties recently.”
So, the lesson learned is this: check, re-check, cross-check and, if necessary, check again. Corroborate. If it seems interesting enough to pass on, be sure you’re on solid ground.
Oh, by the way, the story that caused the outrage? It was accurate. Republicans in the Nevada legislature have been behind a recall campaign against two Democrat state senators. GOP sponsored. GOP run. GOP paid for. And the charge against the two “miscreants?” Nothing! Absolutely nothing!
Boiled down to its essentials, Republicans are trying to take control of the Nevada Senate by shifting numbers. The two targets here have committed no crimes. Have not shirked their responsibilities. Have not engaged in “moral turpitude.” They’re not guilty of anything!
The reason this Nevada story is so important is a favorable court ruling could be a precedent for all other states. Republicans could just dream up a “recall” and try to unseat Democrats. Any Democrats. Anywhere. Or vice versa.
I’ve seen nothing to support what my gut tells me which is this: dig deep enough and you’re likely to find the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and/or the Koch brothers who have large holdings in Nevada and other states. This just smells like a test run at the courts to gain leverage Republicans couldn’t get at the ballot box.
I sincerely hope the Nevada court system slams the door on this shabby Republican B.S.. The GOP has enough other shameful efforts going trying to thwart voters.
Pennsylvania is a good example. State Supreme Court threw out the Republican gerrymandering of districts. Deemed it illegal. So, the GOP went to the U.S. Supreme Court which kicked it back to the state. Now, Pennsylvania Republicans are trying to recall Democrat appointees on their own state supreme court for no other reason than the GOP wants to underhandedly take over legislative majorities. And the court!
These are important stories that more Americans should be watching closely and be greatly concerned about. These underhanded, totally flagrant and despicable Republican challenges are a flat-out challenge to the Constitution of the nation and those of every state.
So, here I am. Feeling guilty about passing along a single news report that might have been false - but wasn’t - while Republicans in at least two states are trying to overturn entire elections. And subvert several constitutions.
Suddenly, my mea culpa doesn’t feel so large after all.