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November 17, 2016 02:33 PM UTC

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

  • by: Jason Salzman

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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.


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.


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.








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


15 thoughts on “Will Colorado public officials be more careful about spreading fake news?

  1. The Guardian experimented with having liberals and conservatives swap Facebook feeds for 10 days to pop their news "bubbles". Apparently, it was a painful experience for people on both sides of the divide.  Our liberal news bubble did keep us from understanding how well Trump and the alt right were mobilizing their base. We kept thinking a Hillary win was inevitable. I live in a deep red county, was seeing Trump signs all over, and still didn't see the nationwide trend – because of my news bubble.

    The Commission on Community Relations used to do neighborhood meetings, during which people would be asked to relate their fears and points of view. Folks were taught how to listen and give reflective feedback. A few teachers (myself included) also practice this. But the world at large has no mediator, no teacher, nobody bringing people together. This used to be the role of churches during the Civil Rights Movement. What are churches, temples, mosques, etc doing now to heal the partisan divide?

    I could send you dozens of examples of fake news from my alternate ID on Facebook: check the feeds of the usual suspects: Gordon Klingenschmitt, all of the Nevilles, Julie Williams, George Athanapoulos, etc.

    And now we have Steve Bannon as Trump's Goebbels – his Minister of Propaganda. Unless we can keep him out of the office.


      1. Jason, both Tim and Patrick Neville post plenty of fake news on their feeds.
        Tim 10/20/16 source Breitbart:  ‘I Had Nothing to Do With That!’ Obama Dodges Blame For Skyrocketing Premiums. This article misquotes Obama's factual statement that he has no control over premium increases from private insurors.
        Tim 10.18/16 Source Project Veritas Rigging the Election – Video I: Clinton Campaign and DNC Incite Violence at Trump Rallies
        Tim and Pat 10/2/16 Source: Tom Tancredo. Video. ## LIVE NOW: The Impact of Massive Muslim Immigration on America  #AMERICA IS UNDER ATTACK FROM RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISTS.Audio quality is terrible, but apparently the Tanc is alleging that  the CIA, FBI, and the public education system are now controlled by Sharia law. He seems to be calling for some sort of coup.
        There is more: Patrick was apparently a Rand Paul supporter before he felt the Trump, and he is misrepresenting the CDOt pilot study on a mileage tax by saying that it WILL be a mileage tax. So he's crusading on that.
        Steve House posted on Nov 6 that HRC hired her maid to print out classified materials.
        Plenty more where that came from.

        When I pasted this, it stripped out the links, but I still have them if you want them.

  2. Fake News vs. Politicians telling lies?

    As a starting point, we all agree that telling the truth is a good thing and not being truthful is a bad thing.  Like many things, the devil is in the detail.

    The Dem bubble would not characterize much of the Obama era of falsehoods as being fake news.  Republicans would differ. Obamacare, Iran Nuclear deal and other situations where Obama said one thing, but knew reality to be another come to mind.

    The harder question is sometimes the speaker believes based on a source they believe reliable that something is true, when it is not.

    Personally, I am comfortable with the marketplace of ideas, not government control, as being the solution.


      1. Given that fascism now controls the government…

        I'd say that statement alone qualifies as fake news.  Seeing how the new administration has not even been totally named, and has yet to take office, such a declarative statement certainly has no basis of fact… in the real world anyway.  

  3. Amazing, there is not a single example offered, by Jason Salzman, of Democrats  engaging in fake news.  Are we to believe that this never occurs from the Left?  Isn't that, in itself, fake news?

    1. Please send me examples of fake news coming from the left. i'm sure it's there. There's more of a market for it on the right, if you believe the folks in Macedonia spreading fake news to the U.S. for profit. Anyone can be tricked into thinking fake news is real, but once they find out it's false, will they remove it and apologize for spreading it?

      1. AC needs to do a better job hiding his disdain.  He/it still hasn't taken down his post about our POTUS-elect 'saving' all those Ford jobs in Kentucky.  

      2. Fake news from the left

        I agree that many of these are clickbait sites – sensational headlines, tell you what you want to hear, then spin the news or distort the quote. Don't tell Zap, but our side does do it, too.  A partial list:

        Occupy Democrats
        Bipartisan Report
        Winning Democrats
        Blue Nation Review
        The Freethought Project
        Addicting Info
        Politicalo (almost anything that ends on lo; these sites specialize in taking accurate statements from politicians and then adding false quotes to them that are much worse than what they actually said)
        American News X
        Being Liberal
        The Other 98%

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