Friday, 18 June 2021

Baumann: This voter prefers candidates who do not cite fake news stories

As we should all be learning in these turbulent times, it is important to develop strong critical thinking skills and learn to research "news" stories of dubious origin.

Case in point: claims made by Marc Meuser (candidate for secretary of state) at the Lake County Republican Women's April 11 lunch meeting.

Quoting Meuser from the Leona Butts piece published in LCN on April 18: “I heard a news story that there are currently 11 counties in the state that have more than 100 percent voter registration."

There's your first red flag: "I heard a news story."

People who deal in facts (as opposed to "alternative facts") are usually less vague.

If Meuser were credible, here's what his next statement should have been: "Then I looked into it, and learned that this claim was made by a group that has never produced a shred of evidence."

But no, that isn't what Meuser went on to tell his audience... perhaps because he shares the same motivations as the group making that false claim.

Here's the truth:

Judicial Watch, the right-wing group that (in 2017) made the false claim of 11 California counties having more than 100 percent voter registration, was motivated by the desire to validate Donald Trump's false claim of millions of ineligible voters in California.

When challenged, Judicial Watch refused to share the methodology that resulted in that figure (refused to share any evidence to substantiate their claim, in other words).

The moment I saw Meuser's quote "I heard a news story …," I knew he did not pass the smell test. It only took 30 seconds to do an Internet search, wherein I found genuine news articles that provided the full background and facts behind Judicial Watch's false claims.

The moral of the story is... do your homework. It is important to vote, but even more important to inform yourself before voting.

Use your powers of critical thinking (and a healthy scepticism) to learn the truth behind claims you hear from candidates.

One thing you should always know is how candidates finance their campaigns. Open Secrets (www.opensecrets.org) is a good source.

Deb Baumann lives in Upper Lake, Calif.

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