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Tipsheet

Surprise: More Right-Wing 'Conspiracies' and 'Misinformation' Now Confirmed

AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Let's begin with the important point that dangerous misinformation and conspiracy theories are, in fact, real problems that seem to be gaining momentum in American politics.  The Left flatters itself by pretending this phenomenon is, more or less, the sole or overwhelming province of the Right, all while indulging or embracing their own falsehoods.  But these things do exist, on both sides, and they really do threaten to warp our collective sense of reality by injecting poisonous forms of paranoia into our discourse and polity.  But here's what also erodes trust in institutions, and degrades the importance of truth, within American society: Partisans and ideologues, posing as neutral arbiters, arrogantly declaring ideas or allegations with which they disagree to be "misinformation" and "conspiracy theories" -- not just debatable or controversial, mind you, but factually wrong, and dangerously so.  This goes beyond dishonesty; it's irresponsible.  

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When the official Narrative shapers have aggressively attempted to disqualify something as crazy and beyond the pale, and then reality intervenes and disproves their spin, people are much less likely to believe them next time they fire up their warning sirens.  Some toxic claims truly need to be debunked and discarded, but when would-be gatekeepers' credibility has sustained one self-inflicted blow after another, the ability for truth to win out over perilous and inaccurate nonsense is diminished.  Let's walk through just a handful of examples that have come to light within the last few days.  First, one "conspiracy theory," for which some on the Right were roundly denounced and ridiculed by the bien pensant 'Consensus' crowd, was the idea that COVID-19 escaped from a Chinese laboratory.  At some point, this possibility morphed from unspeakable, to potentially viable, to perhaps probable, including among some of the very people who'd lectured anyone who'd whispered about it even months earlier.  Over the weekend, we saw this report, as the reality trajectory continues to bend toward erstwhile right-wing "misinformation:"

The U.S. Energy Department has concluded that the Covid pandemic most likely arose from a laboratory leak, according to a classified intelligence report recently provided to the White House and key members of Congress. The shift by the Energy Department, which previously was undecided on how the virus emerged, is noted in an update to a 2021 document by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines’s office...The Energy Department now joins the Federal Bureau of Investigation in saying the virus likely spread via a mishap at a Chinese laboratory. Four other agencies, along with a national intelligence panel, still judge that it was likely the result of a natural transmission, and two are undecided. The Energy Department’s conclusion is the result of new intelligence and is significant because the agency has considerable scientific expertise and oversees a network of U.S. national laboratories, some of which conduct advanced biological research...The FBI previously came to the conclusion that the pandemic was likely the result of a lab leak in 2021 with “moderate confidence” and still holds to this view.

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The Biden Energy Department, citing new intelligence, has concluded that this "conspiracy theory" is now the likeliest explanation for the origins of a deadly disease that killed millions and disrupted countless lives across the planet.  Paging Dr. Fauci.  It's worth remembering that US Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and others floated this entirely plausible notion early in the pandemic, triggering a torrent of self-righteous scolding from 'anti-disinformation' journalists and 'fact checkers':


Where will Cotton et al go for their apology?  Or does this all get memory-holed by the complicit parties, who will stampede ahead, fully undeterred, to their next mass denunciation of supposed "misinformation"?  On the COVID front, I'll also note that previously-demonized figures who bucked the establishment groupthink on natural immunity and mask mandates have been vindicated by data and evidence, long after they were unjustly shunned as pariahs.  On another matter, it was just a few weeks ago that the journo class decided that Republicans and conservatives were a bunch of tinfoil-hat weirdos because they had...noticed public statements from a prominent federal bureaucrat speaking openly about his regulatory panel's interest in banning gas stoves.  Conservatives "pounced," precipitating a great deal of sneering and 'fact checks' assuring everyone that what the federal bureaucrat had mentioned wasn't important, and it was all just a strange obsession -- even while others simultaneously applauded the idea of limiting or banning gas stoves (with multiple deep blue jurisdictions already explicitly moving in that direction).  It's the "this isn't happening, but it's also good" effect.  So is this not happening, or is it good?

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In an analysis published earlier this month, President Joe Biden's Energy Department acknowledged that roughly half of all gas stoves on the U.S. market today would not meet its proposed cooking appliance efficiency regulations, E&E News reported Friday. As a result, those stoves would not be eligible for purchase. Still, Energy Department spokesman Jeremy Ortiz dismissed concerns over the proposal, saying half the gas stove market "would remain if this standard is finalized as proposed." The Energy Department's admission comes roughly one month after U.S. Consumer Product Safety commissioner Richard Trumka Jr., a Biden appointee, said a gas stove ban was "on the table." "This is a hidden hazard," Trumka Jr. said of gas cooking. "Any option is on the table. Products that can't be made safe can be banned." After Trumka's comments prompted a political firestorm, both the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the White House walked back the threat, with Biden press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre assuring Americans "the president does not support banning gas stoves." The Energy Department's new rule and subsequent analysis, however, contradict that walkback, and the home appliance industry is responding with fierce pushback.

One more, also from the 'not happening/good' file: Conservatives have been repeatedly chastised by the ostensibly anti-misinformation brigade that concerns over toxic racial indoctrination (CRT) in schools and other "culture wars" are bigoted inventions of the right-wing fever swamp. And yet, over and over again, the "conspiracies" have proven to be very much real, with the "culture wars" being foisted upon students by leftists, who then cynically accuse their opponents of being the aggressors for simply seeing what's happening, objecting, and responding.  Are these incidents fake?  Or good?

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Students at a California school district were given a presentation on oppression that listed types of people who would be considered part of a privileged "non-target group" or an oppressed "target group." Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) Director of Student Support, Equity and Inclusion Dr. Lynnā McPhatter-Harris reportedly presented student leadership in the district with a worksheet that broke down different characteristics and attributes that could mean someone is either privileged or oppressed, according to an anonymous tip by a district parent and a photo of the worksheet that was reportedly passed out during the presentation and obtained by Fox News Digital.  The oppression worksheet was divided into four different categories, "Type of Oppression," "Variable," "Non-Target Groups (Privilege)" and "Target Groups (Oppression)." Types of oppression included racism, sexism, genderism, classism, elitism, religious oppression, militarism, ageism, adultism, heterosexism, ableism, xenophobia and linguistic oppression.  "Non-Target Groups" or those who would benefit from their "privilege" included White people, men, gender-conforming people, the middle or upper class, formally educated individuals, Christians, Protestants, adults, heterosexuals, a person without a disability, the U.S. born, English speakers and WWI, WWII, Korean, Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

There's a lot of divisive, otherizing ugliness in this, but listing war veterans as members of America's alleged "privileged" "oppressor" class really takes the cake.  That garbage was being shoveled at teenagers in California.  This was inflicted on middle schoolers in Florida:

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A middle school teacher in Florida was placed on administrative leave after being accused of instructing his white students to bow to his black students. Ethan Hooper, a teacher at Howard Middle School in Orlando, Florida, posted the video of white children bowing to black children on his personal TikTok, which was soon picked up and shared by the controversial Libs of TikTok account, according to a report.  The video shows the white students acting as servants to the black students, feeding them by hand before getting on their knees and bowing. Hooper maintains that these videos are skits in honor of Black History Month, the report noted.

That teacher publicly attacked the DeSantis administration with the 'book banning' lie. So has this woman, whose Twitter feed is littered with anti-DeSantis material. She lists herself in her bio as a witch and a sex educator in middle and high schools:


According to our self-appointed guardians of truth, all of this is some combination of conspiratorial misinformation, divisive culture war fodder (from the side that notices what's being foisted upon kids from radical activists), and defensible pursuits of equity and inclusion.  And then they act gravely alarmed when they realize many people do not believe them anymore.  

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