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Thursday, March 30, 2023

In case you haven’t heard, there might be cameras in your microwave detecting your every move. That’s a claim made by good old Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, now infamous for using the term “alternative facts” to describe lies. So really, we shouldn’t be that surprised that her most recent stint involves a technology that doesn’t exist to defend a claim that has no basis.

Let’s take a step back and look at that line.

We aren’t surprised the counselor to the president has made an absurd claim (microwaves have hidden cameras) to support an early morning Twitter accusation (Barack Obama, himself, ordered a wiretap of Trump’s personal phones).

This is the state of our country right now, dear readers.

What is the truth of the situation? Well, it’s incredibly unlikely that Obama personally ordered the wiretaps (you know, despite Trump saying specifically otherwise), though certainly, the ties to Russia that are currently under investigation were picked up by wiretaps. But that was likely the work of a government agency and not a direct order from former President Obama, which would, honestly, be just stupid and sloppy. Those wiretaps were not done to help Hillary Clinton win, but to detect foreign intervention in our elections. And most likely, those wiretaps were on Russian organizations, not specifically Trump Tower.

Now, OK, maybe Trump was just making a general, characteristically angry statement about the wiretapping that did go on. And certainly, if he was still just a celebrity or a person on Twitter, he could get away with it. But (as we at UF are all familiar with now), as an elected official — as the president of the U.S. — one must be held to higher standards, which in this case includes not making dangerous accusations on Twitter out of misconstrued facts.

One of the particularly dangerous things is that some people believe whatever the White House says, without question, and try to discredit the media that is attempting to get the facts straight. For some reason (a reason that, apparently, was not the same in the last administration), they will believe whatever Trump says, even if it goes against what actually happened. And sometimes, especially if it goes against what actually happened, it is what the “liberal” news is reporting on.

The president should not control the media; in fact, if anything, the media should be used to make sure that no single political figure controls the narrative. This isn’t some hippy-dippy left-wing ideology we’re trying to spread; this is a fact. From both extremes of the political spectrum — fascism and communism — one of the biggest staples of government control is taking over the media and essentially saying that whatever the party or the person in power says is fact, no questions asked. Just look at communist China, where the press is strictly regulated by the government. Just look at World War II era fascist Germany, where the Nazi party took control of radio, newspapers and other forms of press.

We’re not at that level yet. But with each baseless assertion that our political leaders make, with each failure of the press to call attention to just how absurd the claims are, with each person who does not question what @POTUS says on Twitter, we get closer.

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