Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

A definitive dismantling of the "Hillary earpiece" meme

I'm not posting this to combat yet another hare-brained right-wing conspiracy theory. That's a hopelessly Sisyphean task. I swear they've got a factory out there somewhere that produces these things at a rate that far exceeds my meager ability or willingness to debunk them all.

Instead, I'm posting this to demonstrate once again the willful gullibility and frankly the stupidity that has infected a dismaying number of our fellow Americans.  I'm posting it to demonstrate the gleeful, shameless recklessness of the right-wing media industry that has no regard whatsoever for truth and that profits off that gullibility and treats its customers as fools. I posting it to marvel at how those customers seem to revel in that abusive treatment, and always come back for more.

I'm also posting it to document how sheer irrational hatred can make people believe what is clearly unbelievable, particularly as it regards one Hillary Rodham Clinton.

This particular story begins at a rightwing website that claimed that in last night's forum on NBC, Hillary Clinton had been caught using an earpiece so answers could be funneled to her. It cited an anonymous source in the New York police department as confirming evidence.

The claim was picked up on Twitter, most notably by actor James Woods.

InfoWars, the kook conspiracy site run by Alex Jones, quickly posted it. Drudge did so quite prominently, as you can see above. Popular right-wing blogs picked it up.

Donald Trump Jr. retweeted it, citing InfoWars.

Just for context, the son of the presidential candidate is citing InfoWars, a site that also argues that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a fraud and that the dead kids and their grieving parents were all actors.  That's how low the bar has become for these people.

But given that Trump Sr. claims that Ted Cruz's father helped to kill JFK, and cites the National Enquirer as proof, the nut didn't fall far from the tree.

At this point, I'd like to write that "needless to say, there was no earpiece," But I can't. I can't because it does need saying: There was no earpiece. The supposed earpiece was merely a reflection from the TV lights, as every other angle demonstrates clear as day.

Do you see an earpiece?

But to these people, it doesn't matter. It does not matter. The truth does not matter. All that matters is they have been given another excuse, another opportunity, to vent their irrational "Two Minutes of Hate" upon their own personal Emmanuel Goldstein.

It's disgusting, and it's also disgusting how quickly and thoroughly such nonsense now infects the mainstream conversation.


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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.