You potentially have heard that The Weekly Standard bizarrely publicized yesterday that the Occupy Movement in the United States was going to speak with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his upcoming visit to the US. Specifically, the Standard noted,
“A report today in an official outlet of the Iranian regime claims that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, will meet with members of the Occupy Wall Street movement […] ‘Ahmadinejad is also set to meet American university students, artists, intellectuals and elites, including Occupy Wall Street anti-capitalist protestors, despite the ongoing efforts made by the pro-Zionist lobbies to prevent direct link between American people and the Iranian president.'”
Yes, they uncritically took that statement as factual, after noting that this was released by the official outlet of the Iranian regime, and reading and republishing the quote about the pro-Zionist lobby trying to stop a meeting between Occupy “protestors” [sic] and President Ahmadinejad. And it’s not as if the Iranian government would like to co-opt the new media and international protests that brought down the dictatorship in Egypt!
Actually speaking with major figures in the Occupy Movement produces statements like – “Nobody in their right mind would meet with a fascist dictator like Ahmadenijad”. Still, the conservative media in the United States can’t even neutrally address the false information without their comments reading like Manchurian Candidate fanfiction. One commentator wrote,
“Shawn Carrie, an activist with the Occupy Wall Street movement, also denied the report, telling Buzzfeed, ‘Nobody in their right mind would meet with a fascist dictator like Ahmadinejad.’ That’s why I believe OWS-Obama’s gang, has met and is meeting with the American hating thug from Iran. The OWS-Obama’s gang, lost their minds many years ago.“
I’ve written at length about the failings of purportedly “centrist” and conservative US media before, but there’s a terrifying problem revealed by the resistance of those media outlets’ readers to absorb impartially presented evidence that conflicts with their views. As much as terrible reporting deceives people, it’s effects cannot be easily resolved by better reporting. Misinformation is not simply solved. Extensive, constant, ever-reaching-further efforts to accurately and effectively inform people are the only possible means of allowing many people to remain more attached to reality than the commentator quoted above. The Daily Caller and other “respectable” conservative or “centrist” outfits have tried to reach a balance between spreading demonstrably untrue nonsense and impartial stenographer-like reporting. You just have to read the comments to articles like the above to realize this strategy isn’t working and is actively destabilizing the rationality of public discourse in the United States.