Editors’ Blog

We Need a Better Understanding of ‘Fake News’ Prime Badge

Recently I was reading an article on the January 8 insurrection in Brazil. The writer noted Jan. 8 along with Jan. 6 in the U.S. as examples of what can result from the maelstrom of global authoritarianism, “fake news” and pervasive misinformation. Brazil has also witnessed its own version of the “Big Lie” claiming fraud was behind the ouster of Jair Bolsonaro, and there are various scare stories about the new President Lula da Silva freezing bank accounts or forcing middle class homeowners and renters to house poor people in their homes. You can imagine the kind of stuff I’m talking about and how it can create hysteria in segments of the population in both countries.

But it’s a reminder of something I’ve thought a lot about and written some about over the last few years. We simply don’t have a good theory or understanding of what we’re talking about when we talk about “fake news” and “misinformation.” In most cases we know it when we see it: Jan. 6 was an Antifa operation, millions of “illegals” voting in 2020 gave the election to Joe Biden, young people around the world dropping dead because of COVID vaccines, mass shootings conducted by crisis actors to justify gun confiscation.

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BREAKING: Santos a Citizen! Maybe? Prime Badge
George Santos

As Nicole notes below, The Forward has a new article out based on the immigration files of George Santos’s mother, Fatima A.C.H. Devolder, who died in 2016. A researcher apparently got the file under a FOIA request and shared the documents with the reporter. The key point of the article, unsurprisingly, is that Santos is a huge ass liar. In this case, a big fat liar about 9/11.

His story about his mother dying as the result attack on the Twin Towers broke down somewhat when it turned out she died in 2016. He then claimed that she had been in the Towers on 9/11 and at Ground Zero on subsequent days. She developed cancer because of her exposure to the toxic fumes circulating in the air at the time. That is a very real issue. Numerous first responders and others who spent time at Ground Zero in the days and weeks after 9/11 later developed cancers and other illnesses. Since it’s hard to prove a negative, it’s been difficult for people to definitively state that Devolder was not working at the Towers on 9/11.

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Where Things Stand: Of Course George Santos Mom Was Not In NYC On 9/11
This is your TPM evening briefing.

The Jewish Daily Forward, the same news outlet that broke the story that Rep. George Santos (R-NY) lied about his heritage, has now seemingly confirmed another suspected Santos fib — that his mother was in the vicinity of World Trade Center on 9/11 and survived the attack.

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Trump’s Disappearing and He Knows It Prime Badge

I say all the following not for a moment discounting the threat Donald Trump continues to be to the American republic. But since the announcement of his reelection bid, immediately after a discrediting electoral defeat more than two months ago, he’s seemed less a swaggering warlord planning his return than a diminishing voice less and less relevant to the political happenings of the day. His claims and attacks become more vitriolic as his volume gets turned lower and lower.

Just this week he launched a broadside against white evangelicals, the most loyal and militant portion of his political base. They were “disloyal,” he said, and he blamed some of the 2022 reverses on them: “I thought they could’ve fought much harder during the election, the ’22 election.” This after an earlier interview where he blamed no-exceptions abortion bans for the 2022 defeats. This is angry desperation, not any ability to read the room.

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‘Strike Fear in the Hearts and Minds’ Prime Badge

Bernalillo County (New Mexico) District Attorney Sam Bregman, on the arrest of Solomon Pena in connection with the shootings at the homes and offices of Democratic officials: “We believe we have the evidence to prosecute this individual who really was as the chief said last night, the mastermind of trying to strike fear in the hearts and minds of elected officials because he didn’t like the outcome of an election. And that is just unacceptable. And we’ll do everything we can to bring them to justice and make sure that they are brought to justice.” Bregman appeared with Kristen Welker on Meet the Press Now.

Sinema Hails Filibuster At Davos Prime Badge

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) told Davos attendees yesterday that she and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) had been vindicated in their decision to protect the filibuster last year, even going so far as to share an onstage high five about it.

Sinema also argued that while the January 6 attack was a source of “concern and fear for every patriotic American,” Democrats had overreacted to it and politicized it.

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Santos Raised Money for a Dog’s Surgery and then Pocketed the Money Prime Badge
George Santos

There’s now no shortage of George Santos stories — his various criminal exploits, scams, secret identities, non-existent jobs. But I read a story this evening that made me wonder if I’m living in a simulation and whether any of this can be true. The latest expose reveals that Santos once used his sham pet charity — Friends of Pets United — to set up a GoFundMe for a dog who had a tumor and needed expensive surgery. The dog’s owner, a disabled vet, didn’t have the money for the surgery for his service dog, Sapphire. A veterinarian pointed Osthoff toward Santos’s charity figuring they might be able to help with the costs. So Santos sets up a GoFundMe for Sapphire’s surgery. It raises $3,000 for the charity. Then Santos disappears with the money and the dog dies.

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Where Things Stand: WH Joins Calls For McCarthy To Cough Up Deets Of Gentlemen’s Agreement
This is your TPM evening briefing.

Ever since Kevin McCarthy was narrowly elected speaker in the wee hours of the morning after a historic 15 rounds of voting, there’ve been reports that the new speaker had to more or less sell his soul and offer up his first born to the MAGA hardliners in exchange for the gavel.

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The Not-Great Gatsby Prime Badge

Don’t miss this new piece by Josh Kovensky and Hunter Walker on the sidecar political group run by Santos’ sister, Tiffany Devolder. A lot of it is the standard mix of shady spending, unpaid bills, inveterate weasels and various appearances by people George Santos new from the Ponzi scheme job. But most interesting to me is that way the group was used to create the myth of Santos as a major Long Island GOP power player and kingmaker.

Breaking: Failed GOP Candidate Arrested For Gunfire At Dem Homes
Solomon Pena, New Mexico House candidate

We reported earlier this month about a number of shootings at the homes and offices of Democratic lawmakers in the Albuquerque region over the course of December and early January. Now Albuquerque Police Department has arrested Solomon Pena, a unsuccessful state house candidate in 2022, for the shootings.

From the Albuquerque Journal

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