The most powerful tool the Trumpian right has employed to maintain support is a massive misinformation campaign. I am not suggesting there is a reactionary media conspiracy in the works, but rather, that many President Donald J. Trump supporters run to their echo-chambers (the right’s version of a safe space) whenever confronted by facts. Several right-wing fake news outlets and propaganda YouTube channels, such as Prager University and Infowars, have helped spread misinformation by stretching half-truths and cherry picking data.
Most notably, Infowars front man Alex Jones put out a $5,000 prize on Oct. 2016 to anyone who appeared on TV yelling “Bill Clinton is a rapist!”
Supporting Jones and Infowars – a man and an organization who claimed the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings were a hoax and the government is “putting chemicals in the water that turn the frigging frogs gay” – while claiming other news outlets and independent publications are fake news for criticizing Trump (as the College Republicans have already done) is not only deplorable, but very hypocritical.
This use of misinformation, however, has given the political right an edge over the left. They follow Trump’s philosophy when it comes to facts and the press. He writes in his book, The Art of the Deal, “From a pure business point of view, the benefits of being written about have far outweighed the drawbacks. It’s really quite simple.”
The College Republicans at Kendall Campus have taken Trump’s advice and hopped on a new high horse by having their press secretary, Miguel Granda, write a column in The Reporter defending the discrimination of same-sex marriage under the pretense of “religious liberty” and using a token agnostic to justify his position. Defining marriage as a union exclusively between a man and a woman, because of one’s religious preferences, is like defending the Jim Crow South as a way of life because of the “separate but equal” precedent established in the 1896 Supreme Court Case Plessy versus Ferguson.
Marriage is not just a church formality. Marriage is a legal status that provides perks in the tax code such as claiming more deductions and exclusion of income if the proprietary value on a personal residence increases. Defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman is discriminatory because it bars same-sex couples from enjoying the same economic benefits a straight couple would enjoy.
Weaponizing the media by making conspiracy theories mainstream, going as low as to defend discrimination, making as much noise as possible and then framing themselves as the victims has been the Trumpian right’s political strategy, and so far it has worked. If our great nation ought to make it through one of the most unpopular and corrupt administrations in our history, we must recognize that we are entitled to our own opinions, but we are not entitled to our own alternative facts.