Archive for the 'Facebook' Category

In deleting fake news from her Facebook page, and owning her mistake, state representative is model for all lawmakers

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

At a time when the president of our country sets an example as a liar who refuses to correct his own brazen falsehoods, Colorado State Rep. Susan Lontine (D-Denver) should be considered a hero for deleting a fake news item that she shared on Facebook earlier this month–and taking public responsibility for the mistake.

After deleting the post, which showed Trump’s parents in KKK garb, Lontine explained on her Facebook page that she holds herself “accountable to not spread fake news of any kind.” She also thanked “those who held me accountable.”

In removing her post, deemed “false” by Snopes, Lontine joins two other Colorado lawmakers who’ve done the right thing and removed fake news from their Facebook pages after being alerted to its fakeness.

In December, without commenting, two Colorado Republicans removed fake news from their Facebook pages (State Rep. Polly Lawrence of Roxborough Park and former State Rep. Kit Roupe of Colorado Springs). Two other Republicans said they would not remove it (former State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt of Colorado Springs and State Sen. Tim Neville of Littleton) And two did not respond to my request that it be deleted (State Rep. Ray Scott of Grand Junction and former State Sen. Laura Woods of Arvada). Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) removed a tweet without comment.

Lontine, however, did more than just delete the post. She owned the mistake.

As far as I know, she’s the first Colorado lawmaker to delete fake news and then acknowledge it on Facebook, as stipulated by the Fake News Pledge, which Lontine and other lawmakers have signed. Here’s Lontine’s Facebook post on the matter:

Folks, yesterday I posted a picture of President Trump and his parents that looked like his parents were wearing KKK outfits.

Turns out, the picture was photoshopped to look like that. I posted it without checking its origin or veracity. I posted it because it confirmed my biases. I hold myself accountable to not spread fake news of any kind and thanks to those who held me accountable.

The response to Lontine’s correction on Facebook has been positive.

“This is why we love and trust you… you are always honest” wrote one commenter.

Lontine is a model for all lawmakers. She did exactly what all of us want and what the country badly needs at this moment. She’s showing us that anyone can make a mistake, even our leaders, and it’s honorable to make corrections. In response, we owe her our admiration–especially against the backdrop of Trump’s brazen lying.

For those of you who think I’m praising Lontine too much: Normally, you might be right. This should be leadership-101 behavior.  But it shows how far our political discourse has fallen that a politician deserves such high praise for the simple act of correcting herself on Facebook. Yes, we’ve hit that low point. Now we need a wave of lawmakers to act responsibly and correct themselves, if they spread fake news. Imagine if all politicians, including Trump, would do so.

Seven state lawmakers sign the Fake News Pledge

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Scott Nov. 6 Wikileaks fake newsThe Fake News Pledge has now been signed by seven state lawmakers, all Democrats: State Representatives Mike Foote of Lafayette, Susan Lontine of Denver, Michael Merrifield of Colorado Springs, and Michael Weissman of Aurora as well as State Sen. Irene Aguilar of Denver, State Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman of Denver, and State Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City.

The Pledge is a promise not to spread fake news on Facebook. It defines fake news as a story “deemed false or inaccurate by Snopes, Politifact, Factcheck.org, or by a respected news outlet.” It also must be “packaged to look somehow like news.” Everyone who supports factual discourse, Dem or Republican, should support it.

Westword’s Michael Roberts’ post on this topic today shows why the Pledge isn’t an empty gesture: Colorado state lawmakers and candidates spread obvious fake news on their Facebook pages. Look at the Westword piece, take a step back for a moment, and you realize realize how unbelievably crazy it is for elected officials and candidates to post this kind of stuff.

As far as I know, this is the only tangible step by state lawmakers nationally to fight fake news.

So the signers deserve our thanks for having the guts to try to do something.

And please note those who wouldn’t sign: Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) and Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton). Neville told me that “each individual has to be the arbiter of fake news. Lundberg said the term fake news “smacks of a new censorship.”

Overall, I’ve found six Colorado state legislators who posted fake news on their Facebook pages (See here and here). Two removed it (State Rep. Polly Lawrence and former State Rep. Kit Roupe). Two told me they would not remove it (former State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt and State Sen. Tim Neville). Neville posted this: “Earth Is Nearly in Its 21st Year Without Global Warming.” And two lawmakers did not respond to my request that it be deleted (State Rep. Ray Scott, and former State Sen. Laura Woods).

After launching the Pledge, I was accused of being a “fake reporter” by former State Sen. Greg Brophy. And other conservatives attacked me, as if my being progressive somehow undermines the pledge. I am progressive, and I’m paid by progressives. I don’t hide it. But I’m committed to being factual in my writing–and we all can expect the same from our state lawmakers of any political stripe. So I’m hoping more of them sign the Pledge.

Woods posts fake news on Facebook

Friday, May 5th, 2017

woods trey gowdy 5-17Despite the example set by Trump, it seems that public figures in Colorado are being more careful about posting fake news on their Facebook pages than they were prior to the last election.

And to their credit, some officials in Colorado are removing fake news, if they are convinced it’s inaccurate.

But former State Rep. Laura Woods (R-Westminster), who lost her state senate seat in November, apparently hasn’t gotten the memo about how fake news rots civic discourse, not to mention representative government.

She apparently posted this fake news item, provided to me by a source, last week, headlined, “Trey Gowdy Breaks Silence After 2 of His Investigators Were Found Tortured and Killed-Proud Patriots.”

Woods apparently commented, “OM gosh…The Clintons’ trail of dead bodies is unbelievable. Hopefully Attorney General Sessions will take them down.”

It appears that Woods refused to remove the fake news, even after a someone on her Facebook feed pointed out that it was debunked by Snopes.

Woods doesn’t return my calls, but I invite her to sign the Fake News Pledge for Citizens here.

But it appears she may have found her own way to deal with Fake News, with a site offering right-wing radio host Mark Levin, right-wing columnist Michelle Malkin, and others:

woods alt news site

El Paso GOP official removes fake news from his Facebook page

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

hosler fake news apil 2017Setting an example for Republican and Democratic officials, Joshua Hosler, Vice Chair of the El Paso County Republican Party, removed a fake news item he shared on Facebook, after he learned it was fake news.

The item, produced by ConservativeWorldDaily, alleged that the Supreme Court, in a decision written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, banned the teaching of Islam in Public Schools. Hosler removed it, he told me via Facebook messaging.

In deleting the item, Hosler joins other officials, such as State Rep. Polly Lawrence (R-Roxborough Park) and former State Rep. Kit Roupe (R-Colorado Springs), who both removed fake news from their Facebook pages last year in the wake of a BigMedia.org investigation. U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Boulder) deleted a tweet with unsubstantiated information. Other officials, such as State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) and State Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction), did not remove fake news from Facebook.

BigMedia.org’s “BigMedia Factcheck,” which posts facts on the Facebook pages of officials to alert them to the presence of fake news on their Facebook pages, spotlighted the fake-news item in Hosler’s Facebook news feed, and he subsequently removed it.

The Facebook item shared by Hosler is not true, as explained by Factcheck.org:

No, the Supreme Court hasn’t decided that students can’t be taught about Islam in public schools. On April 11, fake news websites began publishing a bogus story that said “[t]he court ruled 5-4, with Justice Gorsuch casting the tie-breaker, that the only Islam taught to our children in public schools will be the history of Radical Islam and what they can do to help stop it.”

It alleged that newly installed Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion, and then provided a faux excerpt that was filled with errors: “We should [sic] be teaching any religions in this country besides standard Judeo-Chritianity [sic], as our founders wanted, and we certainly shouldn’t be filling the children with lies about Islam being a ‘religion of peace’ when they see the carnage on the news almost every day.”

Suspicious Facebook users have rightly flagged the bogus story as potentially fake, using the social media site’s improved tools for reporting a hoax.

Hosler once ran for a State House seat held by former State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt but was defeated.

What can you do to fight fake news?

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Common Cause Fake News Discussion & Happy HourFake news is obviously one of the greatest threats to democracy, yet there’s little grassroots activism combating it.

That’s why it’s great, necessary, and essential that Colorado Common Cause is hosting a discussion Thursday, April 6, on “Fighting Fake News in the Digital Age.”

The focus is on what we can do to combat fake news, besides complain about it and hope Facebook and Google do something for us.

Join the fake-news discussion and happy hour Thursday, April 6, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Irish Snug, 1201 East Colfax Ave. The program starts at 5:30.

RSVP via Colorado Common Cause’s Facebook-event page or by emailing cfry@commoncause.org.

One way to take action, which liberty advocate Ari Armstrong and I will discuss at the Common Cause event, is the Fake News Pledge. (Armstrong opposes it.)

By signing the pledge, lawmakers and citizens promise not to spread information, packaged somehow to look like news, on Facebook if it’s “deemed false or inaccurate by Snopes, Politifact, Factcheck.org, or by a respected news outlet.” If such information is accidentally posted, it will be removed unless “detailed reasons for not deleting it” are provided.

“We’ve all seen it before,” states Colorado Common Cause’s Facebook page promoting Thursday’s event. “Our neighbor, uncle, or friend posts something on a social media site that is factually inaccurate. How should we react? Can we agree on what is truth and what is fiction? And how do we combat “fake news” at a time when this term is thrown around so casually?”

State lawmaker who called a real newspaper “fake news” apparently shared real fake news on Facebook

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

Scott Nov. 6 Wikileaks fake newsState Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction), who’s said the Grand Junction Sentinel is “fake news,” apparently posted actual fake news on his Twitter feed and Facebook page this year and last year.

In October on Facebook, the lawmaker shared a PoliticalInsider.com item, with the headline, “WikiLeaks CONFIRMS Hillary Sold Weapons to ISIS…Then Drops Another BOMBSHELL! Breaking News.”

As Snopes determined weeks before Scott shared this post, WikiLeaks did not confirm that Clinton “sold weapons to ISIS.” Other credible outlets came to the same conclusion, and it turned out that this Clinton/ISIS falsehood was one of the most popular fake news items prior to the election.

Yet, this fake news post, which I obtained from a source, sits on Scott’s Facebook page to this day, while he’s accusing a real news outlet of being fake news.

Scott did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Ironically, four days after accusing the Grand Junction Sentinel of being fake news, Scott shared a Sentinel story on his Facebook page, apparently thinking the newspaper’s content was real enough to share with his friends. The story was headlined, “Groundwater Appeals Bill Clears Senate Panel,” and it quoted Scott as backing the legislation.

In fact, it appears that Scott shares stories from the Sentinel on a regular basis, sometimes criticizing them, sometimes praising them. Scott shared Sentinel stories, for example, with the headlines, “Congressman Tipton, GJ legislator Scott say they still back Trump” and “Single-payer health care measure has Democrats battling Democrats,” and “Trump backers rally in support of energy jobs.” Scott wrote, “Thanks to those who attended,” when he shared of a GJS article July 31 headlined, “Colorado lawmakers listen to praise, gripes about caucuses and primaries.”

Scott was a regional field coordinator for the Trump campaign, which may be where he learned Trump’s mind-boggling trick of accusing real news outlets of being fake while spreading fake news himself.

On Twitter, Scott has shared fake news as well. In December, Scott tweeted a photo of Trump shaking hands Ronald Reagan, with the quote, “For the life of me, and I’ll never know how to explain it, when I met that young man, I felt like I was the one shaking hands with a president.”

The photo is real, but not the quote, according to Snopes and other credible outlets.

In light of all this, here’s some advice for Scott:  Sign the Fake News Pledge.

It’s a promise 1) not to post fake news, defined as false information “packaged to look like news,” and 2) to post a correction and explanation on Facebook if fake news is accidentally posted. The Pledge’s arbiters of fake news are Snopes, Politifact, Factcheck.org, or a respected news outlet. If Pledge signers disagree with the specified arbiters, they do not have to remove anything from Facebook. But they are obliged to explain why they disagree with the fact checkers.

I’ll be following up with Scott to see if he’ll sign.

 

Colorado lawmakers caught spreading fake news; all legislators, Republican and Democrat, should sign the ‘Fake News Pledge’

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

Facebook and Google are taking a lot of heat for allowing falsehoods, packaged as news, to viralize across the internet, but lawmakers, who legitimize this fake news by spreading it, clearly contribute to the problem.

Today, I’m calling on Colorado’s state legislators to be part of the solution, and join the fight against fake news, by signing the Fake News Pledge below.

As a longtime progressive journalist and former media critic at the Rocky Mountain News, I believe it’s critical for our democracy that citizens aren’t manipulated by bogus information.

By signing the pledge, lawmakers (and citizens) can help fight for facts and meaningful debate. There is no reason that all elected officials, from President-elect Donald Trump down, shouldn’t sign. But our focus now is members of the Colorado legislature.

The pledge reads:

Fake News Pledge for Elected Officials

As an elected official, I agree that the spread of fake news on Facebook and other social media platforms has a toxic effect on rational civic discourse. And I understand that when community leaders spread fake news, we legitimize it. By our example, we encourage people to play fast and loose with facts, and we blur the lines between real journalism and fabricated stories masquerading as news.

So, to promote informed and reasoned debate, I pledge not to knowingly spread fake news. If I accidentally do so, by sharing, “liking,” or posting inaccurate information, packaged to look somehow like news, I will remove the falsehood as soon as possible and post a correction as well as an explanation of why I posted it in the first place.

If it’s deemed unproven or false or inaccurate by Snopes, Politifact, Factcheck.org, or by a respected news outlet, information from my Facebook page will be removed as soon as possible–or detailed reasons for not deleting it will be provided.

(Legislators can sign the pledge here.)

It seems like a no-brainer that our legislators will sign our pledge posthaste.

But in doing so, some of them will have to change their ways.

I looked at the Facebook pages of all Colorado state legislators from Oct. 1 until the November election, and I found that three lawmakers spread fake news during that time.

State Rep. Polly Lawrence (R-Roxborough Park), who’s the Assistant State House Minority Leader, posted an item with the headline “WHOA! Hillary Caught On Hot Mic Trashing Beyonce’ with RACIAL SLURS! Looks like Hillary may have just lost one of her biggest endorsements.”

lawrence-on-hillary-trashing-byonce-with-racial-surs-lastlineofdefense-org

“If this is true,” wrote Lawrence on Facebook Oct. 6 when she posted the meme, “it fits in with the accusation that the Democrats only work with the African-American community when they need votes.”

But it’s not true, as Snopes determined on Nov. 5, the day before Lawrence posted her “if-it-is-true” comment.

But even if Snopes hadn’t already fact checked the linked article, Lawrence should have known the news was fake, because, as Snopes pointed out, the website, “The Resistance: The Last Line Of Defense,” which published the Beyonce’ fake news, has a disclaimer, which reads:

DISCLAIMER: The Resistance may include information from sources that may or may not be reliable and facts that don’t necessarily exist. All articles should be considered satirical and any and all quotes attributed to actual people complete and total baloney.

And even if there were no disclaimer on the website of the fake-news outlet, you don’t promote information that’s not from a trusted site, if you don’t know it’s true, especially if you are a legislator. That’s bad for representative democracy.

My review of October Facebook pages also revealed that on Oct. 15, State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada) liked a fake-news story, posted by a known-to-be-dubious site called Americannews.com, titled, “BLM gets Louisiana Police Chief Fired After He Exposes Obama’s War on Cops.”

woods-on-blm-fired-2016-10-15-americannews

In fact, in September, about a month before Woods liked the item, the Washington Post and other news outlets reported that the police chief was fired by the town council two days after the police chief wrote on Facebook, “Hey Mr. Bulls— president, when are you going to grow a f—ing pair. And tell it like it is. These are terrorist. That have declared f—ing war on my brother. (White police officers) enough is enough.”

There’s no evidence the BLM had anything to do with the firing.

This wasn’t the first time Woods, whose November loss means she’ll leave the state senate in January, has spread fake news on Facebook.

On August 30, Woods shared a fake news item from TheFreePatriot.org stating, “Courts Quietly Confirm that ONE Children’s Vaccine Does Cause Autism.”

The Aug. 16, 2016, FreePatriot.org story, making the false claim about autism, is actually a reprint of a 2013 Whiteout Press article, the core facts of which were found to be false by Politifact back in February of 2015, over a year before Woods liked the fake-news item.

woods-sharing-news-that-courts-confirm-vaccine-causes-autism-thefreepatriotdotorg

Politifact concluded:

“The researchers we contacted said that as far as the science is concerned, certainty had been reached at least 10 years ago with the release of a major national study debunking the link between the measles mumps, rubella vaccine and autism.”

State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs) also spread fake news during the time period studied. On Oct. 15 the Colorado Springs Republican posted a “Breaking News” item from EndingTheFed.com, with the headline, “IT’S OVER: Wikileaks Exposes The Assassination of Scalia… This Will Bring Down the Clintons and the Democratic Party!”

Klingenschmit’s comment on the post: “Anybody have a comment on this? Scalia dies same weekend after Podesta (for Hillary Clinton) sends this ‘wet works’ email? Hmmmm.”

Judging from his post, Klingenschmitt doesn’t appear to be fully convinced of the Scalia assassination “news.” But he posted it on Facebook anyway.

Does anyone think lawmakers should post “news” that’s dubious actually a rumor, especially from a site like EndingTheFed that’s known to produce fake news?

klingenschmidt-on-wikileaks-exposing-assassination-of-scalia-endingthefed

And, sure enough, the day after Klingenschmitt posted it, Snopes determined the item to be “false.” Snopes’ headline reads, “An e-mail published by WikiLeaks referenced not the literal assassination of Antonin Scalia, but what appeared to be a coordinated smear of Bernie Sanders.”

Yet, Klingenschmitt did not delete the fake news from his Facebook page, where it sits, rotting public discourse, to this day, like all the fake news I cite in this post.

More Fake News on Facebook from Colorado Lawmakers

More anecdotal evidence, outside of our pre-election analysis, shows Colorado legislators are spreading fake news.

On September 30, for example, Lawrence posted the following quote, from “Rockit News:”

“She will say anything and change nothing. Hillary can’t be trusted and isn’t qualified to be president.” Barack Obama, 2008.

“He was right then, and still is,” wrote Lawrence on her Facebook page.

One big problem. While the first sentence is Obama’s, the second was never uttered by him.

lawrence-fake-obama-quote-rockit-news-9-30-16

About a month before Lawrence posted the meme, Snopes reported:

“Barack Obama didn’t say that Hillary Clinton could not be trusted or that she was not qualified for president.”

State Rep. Kit Roupe (R-Colorado Springs), who will also be leaving the legislature in January, shared a “public service announcement” in May, stating:

“For all those who think it’s nice to walk around with your pants below your butt…read the following explanation: The trend was born in the United States’ jails, where prisoners who were willing to have sex with other prisoners needed to invent a signal that would go unnoticed by the guards so they wouldn’t suffer consequences. So, by partially showing their butts, they showed that they were available to be penetrated by other inmates. Click ‘share’ if you want to join the cause for a better dressed and more educated world.”

roupe-on-sagging-pants-2016-05-25

About a year before Roupe spread this, Snopes had dutifully researched this topic, concluding Roupe’s public service announcement to be false.

Snopes: “While sagging did gain its start in the U.S. prison system, it was not a clothes-wearing style authored by imprisoned homosexuals intent upon advertising their interest in casual flings. Sagging pants became the behind-the-bars thing thanks to ill-fitting prison-issue garb: some of those incarcerated were provided with clothing a few sizes too large. That oversizing, coupled with the lack of belts in the big house, led to a great number of jailbirds whose pants were falling off their arses. (Belts are not permitted in most correctional facilities because all too often the lifeless bodies of their inmate owners have been found hanging from them.)”

In August of last year State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) posted a fake-news item stating, “Obama Begins Push for New National Retirement System.”

The linked article, based on a hearing way back in 2010, claimed the Obama Administration had begun an effort “to nationalize the nation’s pension system and to eliminate private retirement accounts including IRA’s and 401k plans.”

neville-on-obama-new-national-reitrement-system-2015-09-03-nationalseniorscouncil

Neville’s comment on the meme: “…the tyranny continues.”

But years ago, when the accusation was first hurled by the conservative National Seniors Council, Factcheck.org showed it to be false:

Factcheck.org: Is the Obama administration attempting to eliminate private 401(k)s and IRAs and create a “national retirement system?”
A: No. Obama endorses a proposal that would require businesses without retirement plans to establish private IRAs for their employees and deposit a percentage of wages into the accounts. Employees could opt out.

In July of 2015, Neville posted a fake-news meme, published by the Daily Caller, with the headline, “Satellites: Earth Is Nearly in Its 21st Year Without Global Warming.” The linked article allegedly cites satellite data showing a “prolonged hiatus” in global warming.

“Global warming alarmists have a real problem,” wrote Neville on Facebook. “Satellite data tells the real story.”

neville-on-earth-in-21st-year-without-global-warming-2015-07-19-daily-caller

But about four months before Neville posted this comment, Factcheck.org showed it to be false, stating that the “world has now gone 30 consecutive years — 360 straight months — where every month has been above the 20th century average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.” Factcheck.org and other news outlets specifically cited the satellite data as not proving a warming hiatus.

Lawmwkers who’ve Spread Fake News

So far, it appears that few elected state officials have been spotlighted for spreading fake news on social media. Two examples, compiled in a post on the Colorado Times Recorder yesterday, are State Rep. Tim Couch (R-Hyden) of Kentucky and California Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez.

A wider look at the role of lawmakers in spreading fake news is called for, particularly after officials connected to the Trump campaign, including his pick for national security advisor, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, promoted Clinton falsehoods on Twitter or Facebook.

Step Up and Sign the Fake News Pledge

The issues around fake news are numerous and complex. But that doesn’t mean people in Colorado can’t do anything about it. This starts with our elected leaders who clearly add legitimacy to information they spread on Facebook.

So elected leaders everywhere should step up and sign pledge.

Lawmakers deserve to be held accountable for spreading fake news, but all of us–not just our elected leaders and regardless of where we fall on the political spectrum–can pledge not to spread fake news.

That’s why we’ve also created Fake News Pledge for Citizens. Everyone can sign it here.

In the coming months, we’ll be tracking how many of Colorado’s state legislators add their names to the pledge–along with everyday citizens. We’ll see if lawmakers from around the country sign.

And we’ll cast a wider net, looking at lower level office holders in Colorado, to find out if more of our elected leaders are spreading fake news. Stay tuned.

Michael Lund and Madeleine Schmidt provided research assistance for this post. 

“Remember when Americans could say ‘Merry Christmas’ without getting viciously attacked?”

Friday, December 9th, 2016

woods-says-people-who-say-merry-xmas-get-viciously-attackedWhy did State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada) share a recent Facebook post asking, “Remember when Americans could say ‘Merry Christmas’ without getting viciously attacked?”

What reality is she in? The conservative-media-bubble reality, of course. Talk radio, Facebook, etc.

If you listen to KNUS 710-AM or follow Woods on Facebook then, yes, you might actually think meanie libtards are out their waiting to viciously attack you if you drop the Merry-Christmas bomb. It’s a manufactured reality.

It’s sad that Woods, who lost her seat in last month’s election, apparently believes it. And I’d like the opportunity to discuss her Facebook like, first revealed by Charles Buchanan on the Colorado Times Recorder, but she doesn’t return my calls.

Woods might say that disputes about the phrase “Merry Christmas” occur in the real world, outside of talk radio. And they do, especially about its use in public places. And they can be a bit vicious, no question, at times. But this is rare.

It’s conservatives, firing up the air in their bubble, who perpetuate the myth of viciousness, as Woods did this week on her Facebook feed.

Will Colorado public officials be more careful about spreading fake news?

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

Colorado Republicans did their part in spreading fake news and/or falsehoods on Facebook during the election, as Charles Buchanan has been pointing out on the Colorado Times Recorder.

Below, I’ve pulled together a few examples from Buchanan’s posts (See more here.), and they raise the question of whether public officials, as well as partisan entities, will be more careful, going forward, about fact checking information before they post it on Facebook.

Before and after the election, reporters have been spotlighting fake news and its possible impact on Clinton. Fake news appears to be especially popular among conservative audiences.

In the coming months, I’ll check in with public officials, Republican or Democrat, if they’ve posted or shared fake news or falsehoods on Facebook.

We’ll see if they have sufficient respect for public discourse to remove their inaccurate information, once it’s been proven false.

Here are recent examples, from Buchanan’s work:

In August, Colorado State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada), who lost her seat to Democrat Rachel Zenzinger, shared a false meme that vaccines causes autism.

In August, the Gunnison County Republican Party apparenlty shared a meme quoting that Diane Feinstein as saying, “When the gunman realizes that nobody else is armed, he will lay down his weapons and turn himself in…that’s just human nature.” Feinstein did not say that. 

Failed GOP state house candidate Raymond Garcia, who seemed outright averse to fact checking his Facebook posts during the campaign, shared a meme stating that Hillary Clinton’s great-great uncle was hanged for horse stealing. This isn’t true.

GOP Vice Chair Derrick Wilburn shared a meme claiming that Obama’s Department of Justice would no longer use the word “felon,” so as not to hurt the feelings of criminals. In fact, this was not a department-wide policy but would only apply to those who’d served time and were released, in an effort to help them succeed.

In July, Saguache GOP Chair Richard Drake shared a meme with an alleged quote from Jimmy Carter stating, “The novelty of electing ‘the First Woman President of the United States’ should not outweigh our duty in electing an honest and ethical president.” Carter didn’t say this.

GOP U.S. House candidate Casper Stockham shared a meme falsely claiming that purple lights decorated the Obama White House when Prince died but was unchanged when “5 Dallas cops died.” In fact, the purple lighting never occurred.

Failed state house candidate Garcia also shared a meme on Facebook falsely claiming to picture a topless Hillary Clinton as a lesbian. It’s not Clinton.

screenshot-www-facebook-com-2016-11-01-08-38-29

Former vice chair of the Adams County Republican Party, John Sampson, shared a meme claiming to show Michelle Obama texting during the plede of allegiance. It’s not Obama.

screenshot-www-facebook-com-2016-10-28-08-11-35

In September, former State Rep. Robert Ramirez posted a meme falsely quoting Obama as saying, “Muslims Built the Very Foundation of our Nation.” This is also false. Obama never said it.

ramiriez-false-quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please send me any examples of officials spreading fake news. We know there’s more where this came from

Patrick Neville, a frequent voice on conservative talk radio, takes leadership role in Colorado House

Monday, November 14th, 2016

State Rep. Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock), whose voice is familiar to listeners of conservative talk radio, was elected to the position of Republican state house minority leader Thursday.

Asked if he could see anything beyond gridlock coming out of next year’s legislative session, Neville said he had a “decent” and “productive” lunch with Gov. John Hickenlooper, leading him to think there is “common ground” to be found on some issues, like on regulatory reform.

On the radio, Neville talks frequently about guns, and he’s widely known as one of the most ardent opponents of gun safety laws in the state.

But his conservative positions go beyond firearms, and The Denver Post described him last week as a “conservative ideologue.”

The Women’s Lobby of Colorado scorecard rates Neville, an early Trump supporter, at or near the bottom among state legislators n votes related to women’s issues.

“I’m pro-life, and I don’t make any bones about it,” he told me last week.

In fact, Neville is a hero among anti-choice activists in Colorado for, among other things, his sponsorship this year of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would step up licensing requirements at clinics where abortions are performed.

Colorado Campaign for Life activist Christy Rodriquez cited this bill as a reason her organization gave Neville its 2016 Pro-Life Legislator of the Year Award in September.

“I’m truly humbled.… It doesn’t get better than this,” said Neville, after being introduced by Rodriquez.

During his speech (at 7 minutes) at the award ceremony, Neville described testimony on his bill by a doctor who performs abortions, saying that after he greeted her he felt like he’d “shaken the devil’s hand and smiled at him.”

Neville: This one person, I didn’t recognize her name, she comes up. And I went to shake her hand, and I’ve got to tell you, I’ve never had this feeling in my whole entire life. I had this crazy feeling of impending doom that came over the whole room. I came over me. And it was crazy. I don’t know how to explain it. But the best way to explain it is, I felt like I had just shaken the devil’s hand and smiled at him.  It was something else. And as testimony proceeded, we came to find out that that person was an abortionist… That feeling stuck with me for the longest time….

Let’s recognize what’s going on in this country. We’re supposed to be the most civilized nation in the history of the world. Yet, babies can be torn apart and their hearts sold for profit. We got to recognize that that’s wrong.

In fact, federal law prohibits selling fetal tissue for profit, and recent investigations of Planned Parenthood have not produced evidence that these laws are being broken.

“In a state where both Hillary Clinton and a raise in the minimum wage won, and one in which we increased the pro-choice majority in the House, Colorado voters sent a clear message of moderation,” said Karen Middleton, Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado. “Coloradans have said – and voted – repeatedly that decisions about abortion are a matter of individual liberty and privacy, not something that belongs to politicians or the government. They deserve to be listened to.

So by picking leaders like Representatives Patrick Neville and Lori Saine, two legislators that have spearheaded failed anti-choice legislation in the last General Assembly, it appears in 2016 House Republicans didn’t get that message. While I am disappointed in these leadership decisions, I hope that our strengthened pro-choice majority in this state will work with us to engage our elected leadership and defeat any ideological overreach.”

Another key issue facing the state legislature is the proposal by Democrats to reclassify a hospital fee as an enterprise under the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, a move that would free over $300 million for roads, schools, and other projects.

Emphasizing that he didn’t speak for his caucus, Neville said discussions about the hospital provider fee were not off the table, and he had a “good conversation with the governor about it.”

“We’ll have to look at the details,” said Neville.