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Race Relations, Class, and Voting Rights
Lies at Warp Speed

The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. –Malcolm X

A quote I liked in high school was “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." Back then, a lie could travel pretty fast, but I never imagined man would create a method of spreading a lie at super-sonic speed. It's almost like it's the new extreme sport—Extreme Lying.  Let’s just say anything off the top of our heads, throw it out into cyberspace and see how far it goes. 

If you have many followers on social media, thousands or maybe millions will see and share it. Behind-the-scene analytics help move your lie at warp speed when it determines what people like and then gives them more of the same.  

So, thank you Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit. Thank you so much for your service to mankind. Thank you for making lying so convenient and for disconnecting me from alternate points of view.  Because I look up many things about race and voting as a part of my work, Google now decides that is what I will see first, based on my searches, and now I must actively search for exposure to more diverse subjects than what I am being shown. Thank you for making us terribly narrow-minded and misinformed. Thank you for making it no longer hard or expensive to clone lies and shoot them out into the universe and hit targets of similarly-thinking or unsuspecting people.

USA Today did an interesting analysis of a lie that was spread about the Jewish billionaire, George Soros, in its October 31, 2018 article, “How a Lie about George Soros and the Migrant Caravan Multiplied Online.”  They followed the path of thousands of social media posts and here are the high points of that article that I believe you will find very insightful.  


The Beginning, October 14, 2018

One of the first tweets came from a lady in North Carolina with 6,000+ followers who shared a link about the caravan of migrants coming from Central America. She added a single word to her post--“Soros”.  Within 20 minutes, identical posts appeared in six other groups (combined membership--165,000 members) with added references to Soros.

October 16, 2018 (four days after caravan departed)

Potential Reach of Posts: Twitter 1.4 million; Facebook 610,058

Narrative added new “democrats” coming; “Evil” Soros funding the caravan

October 17, 2018

Potential Reach: Twitter 60.9 million; Facebook 15.4 million

A Congressman sends out a caravan video via tweet with information he later acknowledges as incorrect, but by then, it had been retweeted by people like Donald Trump Jr. (3.1 million followers), and Ann Coulter (2 million). At least 43,000 Twitter accounts link Soros to the caravan in two days. President Trump adds the narrative to campaign speeches, as do talk show hosts.  

October 22, 2018

Potential Reach: Twitter 275 million; Facebook 98.8 million

A bomb is mailed to George Soros by a person with a documented great distaste for people of color and Jews, and Soros in particular.  

October 23 – 26, 2018

14 Bombs are mailed to 12 Democratic leaders and donors.

All the highest-level African Americans political leaders of influence in the country were singled out to be killed in one week.

October 27, 2018

The lie continues to spread via social media and cable news.

Another man, angered by rhetoric, murders people in their House of Worship.

November 6, 2018 Election Day

As the caravan of so-called “invaders, criminals, killers, disease-carriers” gets closer to the US, cable news coverage of the “scary” coming invaders abruptly trickles to almost nothing, starting the day after the election.  

If a lie be believed sometimes only for an hour, it has accomplished its purpose, and there is no further occasion for it. –1880 Boston Newspaper, Author Unknown

Lies are not without consequences

Lies about Jewish people resulted in millions being murdered during the Holocaust.

Lies about a crime rate going up when it had gone down for decades resulted in the over-policing of many innocent people.

Influenced by lies about a sex ring being run from a pizzeria by Hillary Clinton and others, a man goes there with a gun to rescue the fictitious children.  

Lies on a website about Black people helped lead to nine people being murdered in their house of worship in Charleston.

Lies about Jewish people led to 12 people murdered in a house of worship in Pittsburgh.

Great hurt is caused, yet the ones who plant the ideas in the minds and hearts of others go on with their lives with no consequences for their actions. They hide their hands and pretend they are blameless.  Extreme Lying is their new sport. They tell lies about individuals, religious groups, and ethnic groups because it advances their personal agendas for power, and their positions allow them to be disconnected from the hurt they cause people and this country, consequences that will felt far beyond our lifetime.   

We must all focus on not participating in the sport of Extreme Lying. Here are some things we can do:  

One: Stop accepting posts and tweets at face value or responding to YouTube videos, as if making a video gives someone legitimacy on a subject. Check out the source of the information and compare to other reports of the post, verifying they did not all originate from the same source. You can verify many posts to a fact-checking website like https://www.snopes.com/ before sharing. If someone says they didn't say something, yet you find multiple videos recorded by different sources showing them saying it, then you can be reasonably sure they were lying about it.   

Two:  Stop responding to talking heads on TV news networks as if they are journalists. True journalists actually investigate a story or report based on someone else’s investigation.  

Three: Help revive journalism, a necessity of a true democracy, by supporting your local newspapers and watching news outlets that still invest in journalists and feature multiples side of a story, such as NPR news, or less-biased politically such as the BBC News. For news presented in a historical context for understanding, I recommend the Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. Be careful with many local networks that are now controlled by the Sinclair Group which dictates certain stories and wording by carried by its stations. When we stop rewarding lies and on-air arguing with our attention and sharing, and make being truthfully informed the most important thing, we will start getting what we demand.    

Four: Stop calling real news “fake” and fake news the truth.

Five: Don't reward lying with laughter--even on sitcoms, and teach this to children. Give consequences to children (and adults) for lying. 

Six: Many look for news to verify what you already believe or think.  Be brave enough to search for the truth, and accept it when you find it, even if it wasn't what you had originally believed. 

We must help elevate journalism and help journalists become the respected leaders in the news again.  This is our cure for lies in the news, moving at warp speed.  

We’re glad history matters to you!
History Matters Institute
www.cleoscottbrown.com
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Voting in the News

There were many problems on election day, especially in African American polling locations where elections were expected to be close. For example, Gwinnett County, (62% non-white) which was considered to be important to the election of an African American governor in Georgia, seemed to be specifically targeted. A third of all rejected absentee ballots in Georgia came from this county and the rejections were for the most trivial reasons.  Add to this, extremely long lines, voting machines with dead batteries and missing power cords which kept people from starting to vote until after 9 a.m., the failure to offer paper ballots, the malfunction of the check-in machines, and the fact that all elections were overseen by the other candidate running for Governor. The gubernatorial candidate’s office also held 53,000 voter registration applications, saying there was something wrong with the applications. 70% of the applicants were African American. In some close elections, Republicans have already filed lawsuits to block thousands of valid ballots from being counted.

There was however, some good news on election night:

  • Florida finally restored the right to vote to people with felony convictions who have finished serving their sentence. For 150 years, Florida’s 1868 constitution had kept anyone with a felony from ever voting again.

  • While other states are trying to keep people from voting, Michigan and Nevada choose automatic voter registration! Eligible citizens who interact with government agencies are automatically registered to vote or have their existing registration information updated, unless they affirmatively decline.

  • 34 Republican members of the House of Representatives were replaced by Democrats; 10 races still have not been finalized as of this writing.  Election reform is to be addressed by the new Democrat-led House.

Addressing Gerrymandering by changing who can do redistricting:

  • Michigan voters passed a ballot initiative to allow a group of independent citizens to draw new districts after the census rather than legislators

  • Utah voted for a seven-member advisory redistricting commission to advise Utah lawmakers on the redistricting process beginning in 2021. It also prohibits the commission and the legislature from considering partisan political data unless necessary to comply with other redistricting criteria.

  • Colorado voters passed a ballot initiative to create an independent Redistricting Commission comprised of equal members of the state’s two largest political parties and unaffiliated voters to amend and approve congressional district maps drawn by nonpartisan legislative staff.

In Case You Ever Said “My Vote Doesn’t Matter”


As of this writing, the following major November elections remain pending due to extremely close votes:  

Illinois House of Representatives District 51: Helen Walsh and Mary Edly-Allen are only two votes apart out of over 50,000 votes cast.  

Minnesota House of Representatives District 5A: Matt Bliss and John Persell are only four votes apart.

Iowa House of Representatives District 55: Michael Bergan and Kayla Koether are only eight votes apart.  

Last year, the election to determine the majority in the Virginia state House ended in a literal TIE – which was broken (in favor of Republicans) by a game of chance.

ALL VOTES MATTER

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RACE, VOTING & CLASS: CAN WE TALK?



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Great Places to Learn History


DuSable Museum of African American History – Chicago, Illinois
 

Named after Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, the first non-native settler to arrive in Chicago in the 1780s, the DuSable Museum is the first and oldest museum on African-American history and culture, featuring works from scholar W.E.B. Du Bois and an exhibition on anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells.

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  About Cleo
Cleo Scott Brown, author of Witness to the Truth, speaks nationally on race relations, black history, and voting rights, helping audiences connect the past with the present. She has also lived her subject, and like her father, who is the central figure in her book, she believes that her experiences have been for a greater purpose. Learn more about Cleo here.
Copyright © 2018 Cleo Scott Brown, All rights reserved.


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