I did a bit of trolling over the weekend.
I guess it technically wasn’t trolling. I was simply stating facts. But still, I engaged in an online political tete a tete that made me feel exhilarated and a little dirty at the same time.
Here’s what happened.
Someone I’m friends with on Facebook but have no idea how I know them shared that viral video of Nancy Pelosi slurring her speech.
“Watch this. She’s on camera drunk.”
That was her comment on the video. Others started chiming in as well:
“She’s drunk! What a worthless piece of shit.”
“Why am I so shocked? I just can't believe that she would allow herself to be public in such a shameful condition.....I am so naive”
“When your main source of news is CNN or the nightly cable channels, you'll never see the ugly underbelly.”
Enter David Lee Nelson, stage right.
I was scrolling through social media over the long weekend and this post popped up in my feed. I’m not sure what it says about me that their algorithm assumed I would be interested in something like that, but here we are.
Also, I never thought the word algorithm would be such an important part of my life.
The video seemed a little odd, so I googled it and quickly saw that it was a total fake. Every news organization debunked it. Even Fox News was like, “Yeah that’s not true."
I thought about leaving it alone. About continuing to scroll and go about my day, but there was something about the smugness of the comments that drove me crazy.
So I went to work.
I started posting links to articles stating that the video was a fraud. I posted the FoxNews article to everyone who had made comments. Then I accused this person of being a pawn for propagandists and for spreading lies and disinformation.
Again, I usually don’t do things like that, but it was Memorial Day and I was feeling frisky.
The person wrote back.
In response to me saying that she was spreading lies and disinflation, she said:
“Well I must be a Democrat.”
To my accusation that she believed propaganda, she said:
“I probably just accept everything CNN and MSNBC tell me.”
And in response to why she left the video up even after Facebook itself said it was false, she said that me getting my panties in a wad was hilarious.
This isn’t the first time this person has spread false memes. I remember having a similar FB conversation with her late year. I posted a link to Snopes debunking the meme. She laughed at me for using Snopes. So I found three other links and posted them on her wall.
Which is the reason the whole thing left me feeling dirty. If I had shared a video that was instantly proven false, at the very least I would have taken it down. I probably would have posted a little apology for my naivety.
This person didn’t care that what she posted wasn’t true. She just liked owning a lib. Even if it made her into a liar. It made me really concerned about the next year and a half. The Russians infiltrated our 2016 election, and they’re totally going to do it again. It’s going to take non stop vigilance to sort fact from fiction. It’s going to require media literacy to sort through the chaos. And it’s going to be made all the more difficult by people like this person I was arguing with. People who are too gullible to know true from false, or even worse, know but don’t care.