Propaganda Forwards from Dad

A few days ago, my dad forwarded me an email. I don’t know why I opened it. As expected, it was propaganda.

Now bear this in mind: my dad was in the military for his entire career. He is intensely patriotic, and a die hard Republican. He despises the Clintons and thinks Barack Obama is a muslim hell bent on imposing sharia law and bankrupting the USA. Given all that, this email was beyond the pale – even for dad.  Here it is:

Remember this guy?
Khizr Kahn and his wife – the “Gold Star” family who caused such a commotion denouncing Trump for his stand against Muslim immigration at the DNC convention?
Now we learn that not only did the Dems pay actors to fill up seats at their convention, but they paid Khan $25,000 to make that speech. (Which was, by the way, not written by him, but two DNC staffers).
Remember the copy of Constitution he held up? (Bought by a staffer two hours before speech).
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
FIVE Gold Star families turned down the DNC’s request to speak at the convention. Khan’s law firm is in debt $1.7 million and owes back taxes of over $850,000 plus penalties. (Which the IRS has put on hold since his convention speech). In addition, the DNC paid him a bonus of $175,000 for his “media effort.” AND…CNN paid him over $100,000 for his interviews.
Now who’s dishonoring his son’s memory?
Talk about a soulless bastard!! But then again he’s a lawyer!
VADM N. R. Thunman USN (Ret.)
1516 S. Willemore Ave.
Springfield, IL 62704217 971 9667 Cell

I sighed, and thought to myself that I should ignore the email. But no, I diligently went through each paragraph and researched the claims. Here is what I wrote back to my dad. I took the half dozen other people off copy, but cc’ed my brother – you know, for a second opinion from someone who hasn’t yet joined the cult.

Dad,  When I’m forwarded an email like this, my assumption is that the sender believes everything in it. So I’m assuming you 100% believe everything in this.

If on the other hand, you’re not sure, but you forwarded with the thought “eh – maybe there’s a grain of truth in this” – then even if there is one grain of truth – among a bushel of lies – then you are spreading propaganda. This is beneath you.
 
In the future, if you honestly want to fact check an email like this, forward it to me alone with a note asking me to assist you with the fact checking. I will help you find credible sources against which to compare some of the claims. Otherwise, do not forward these emails. As for me, I would never forward an unsolicited email that I’m unwilling to fact check. I would expect the same of you. Forwarding lies dishonors us all.
 
Just as an example, I picked a claim made in this email, (that Mr. Khan’s speech was written by DNC staffers), and fact checked it for you … Who wrote the speech?  Mr. Khan did.
 
Here is Mr. and Mrs. Khan in an interview discussing the speech. They specifically discuss writing the speech (and the constitution in the pocket) after the 12 minute mark. Furthermore…

“The Clinton campaign offered to put him in contact with a speechwriter. He declined. He knew what he wanted to say. He practiced at home with his family, leaning on 40 years of experience as an attorney that taught him “how to control my thoughts, my emotions and my message.” – http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/07/seven-minutes-that-shook-the-convention-214126

Mr. Khan’s son Humayun died fighting as a US soldier in Iraq. They are our fellow Americans. We should stand with them. Watch Mr. Khan’s full DNC speech to hear the values we’re talking about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xzkkk-oJ6bo .
 
To hold conservative principles is fine – necessary even. I would suggest forwarding emails that have to do with values and policy, not distorted versions of the circus show.
 
These propaganda emails are written with one goal: to divide us. Here’s the thing, we’re not on teams. We’re all on the same team – we’re all Team America. Stop giving these propagandists your attention. Their goal is to rip our country apart. Their goal is to make you discount the consideration of half of your countrymen – your daughter included. And you know what – it’s having the converse effect as well. When you forward these emails, it lowers your credibility in the eyes of your very own daughter. Is this what you want?
 
United we stand, divided we fall. I’m witnessing the deliberate dividing of the USA – and members of my own family are actively taking part in the destruction. It’s disheartening, to say the least.

 -Laura

How did my dad respond? … He wrote,

        What’s ever a hundred per cent, Laur????? – Dad.
He hadn’t read past my first sentence. Ergh.
I know better. I know better than to reply to these email-forwards. I know better than to spend hours thoughtfully crafting an email, citing first person sources, laboring to keep my tone even and calm. I know better than to open his emails in the first place. He just confirmed – yet again – that he’s part of a cult. The Republican cult that uses Soviet propaganda tactics to inoculate its members from outsiders – their own daughters included.
How’d my brother respond? With a link to this video:
I’m not 100% sure who my brother thinks is Earl Weaver and who’s the ump in this scenario. But hey, nothing’s ever 100%, right?
Having read Dark Money, understanding the implications of Citizens United, and the lapse of the Fairness doctrine under Reagan, I feel like a Cassandra. I can call out the propaganda all I like, but the people who are buying into it don’t want to listen.
This timeline sucks. I want to start over under Jimmy Carter – when we had solar panels on the roof of the white house. I don’t want the current time line where the solar panels represent a road not travelled. I want the timeline where it’s 2017 and we’re at carbon neutral energy, dominated by renewables, and where the news is produced by professionals who are independent and proud to produce a public good, and where propaganda gets called out for what it is: lies.