The Capitol Riot and Climate Disinformation

January 17, 2021

Above, Jake Tapper’s trenchant breakdown of the disinformation chain leading to the Capitol Riots.
Climate scientists feel his pain.

New York Times:

Last week, a mob incited by President Trump stormed the United States Capitol building. Rioters broke windows, beat law enforcement officers, vandalized offices and tried to track down members of Congress with mayhem in mind. At least five people died.

For those of us who cover climate change for a living, the blatant lies about election fraud that fed the mob felt very familiar. A big part of our job is dealing with the disinformation that people and institutions spread to muddy the waters about climate change.

There’s a long and sad history of efforts by industries and interest groups to reshape the discussion of climate science and undercut the overwhelming evidence that greenhouse gases produced by humans are leading us to global catastrophe.

The tools of deception are decades old, said the historian Naomi Oreskes, in the book she wrote with Erik Conway, “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Climate Change.” In an interview, she told me that the tobacco industry’s strategy “was applied to environmental and health issues more broadly.”

Underlying many of the arguments, she said, are paeans to personal freedom that undercut the belief that government should, or even can, solve our problems.

Since the riots, Twitter, Mr. Trump’s favorite megaphone, has permanently suspended the president’s account. Twitter has also removed tens of thousand of QAnon accounts. And Twitter barred the president after Facebook, Snapchat, Twitch and other platforms imposed limits on him.

Washington Post:

Online misinformation about election fraud plunged 73 percent after several social media sites suspended President Trump and key allies last week, research firm Zignal Labs has found, underscoring the power of tech companies to limit the falsehoods poisoning public debate when they act aggressively.

The new research by the San Francisco-based analytics firm reported that conversations about election fraud dropped from 2.5 million mentions to 688,000 mentions across several social media sites in the week after Trump was banned from Twitter.

Election disinformation had for months been a major subject of online misinformation, beginning even before the Nov. 3 election and pushed heavily by Trump and his allies.

Rhymes with Smokey Joe – the video below, features a profile of “Smokey Joe” Barton, and was completed several. years before the floridly evangelical congressman’s penis pics showed up on the internet.
Point is, tobacco, climate, elections – it’s the same darn people selling these lies.

I’ll end with just one reminder video of Ted Cruz’s connections to both climate, and election denial.

2 Responses to “The Capitol Riot and Climate Disinformation”

  1. pendantry Says:

    As you rightly point out, disinformation is often spread by the same culprits no matter what the topic. Two particularly effective arrows in the quiver of such folk are deflection and misdirection.

    I know that it’s risky to espouse conspiracy theories, but I would be surprised if those same culprits aren’t laughing (all the way to the bank) because the current focus on the T****ist cult takes attention away from certain other crises.

  2. ubrew12 Says:

    Smoking doesn’t cause lung cancer.
    Climate Change is a Chinese hoax.
    Covid is just another flu.
    They stole the election that Trump won.

    Nonstop rightwing media lies have real world consequences. In America’s case, about 300,000 excess Covid deaths, and furious Republicans killing Capitol police to stop the electoral vote. Meanwhile, the sea level rise rate is double what it was 20 years ago. If it keeps doubling at this rate, it’ll be a foot a decade by 2100.

    Someone in Italy published a schematic of the 5G chip Bill Gates has placed in the vaccine to control our thoughts. Sadly, it was revealed as the schematic of a guitar pedal circuit board. I say ‘sadly’, because given the kind of ‘programming’ the American Right has been receiving for decades now, Mr. Gates would be doing us a favor.


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