AIM Co-Sponsors Right-Wing Confab Filled With Rants, Racial Humor Topic: Accuracy in Media
For the past several weeks, Accuracy in Media has had on the front page of its website a promotion for the Western Conservative Conference (see right), which was held in Phoenix this past weekend. AIM served as a co-sponsor of the event.
And what did AIM get for its co-sponsoring money? A lot of right-wing ranting and racially charged so-called humor.
The racially charged humor came from Arizona State Rep. John Kavanagh during a roast of sheriff Joe Arpaio:
Early in his tour de force monologue, Kavanagh riffed, “It’s okay. I’m not the federal monitor. How many Hispanics did you pull over on the way over here, Arpaio, huh?” The crowd roared.
Then he pivoted to an immigration joke, “Sheriff Joe is the kind of guy that you gotta love. As long as you have papers.”
Soon he was making light of the controversy around the “religious freedom” bill SB 1062, which would allow businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian couples. Kavanagh, who supports the bill, dismissed the criticism with a joke at the expense of Muslims and Arpaio:
Now a lot of people claim that SB 1062 is gonna cause discrimination based upon religion in Arizona.
And I scoffed at that until tonight. When a Muslim waiter serving up here walked up to Sheriff Joe, wouldn’t give him his dinner ’cause he said ‘I don’t serve swine.’
The crowd reacted with some shock, but not about the Muslim remark. Arpaio covered his face with his napkin. Kavanagh quipped that it “wasn’t quite a burka.”
The entire Western Conservative Conference was a hub of activity for far-right activists. As Media Matters notes, the conference was hosted by Floyd Brown, who has turned the Joseph Farah-founded Western Journalism Center into a hotbed of Obama-hating conspiracists (not that Farah probably thinks there's anything wrong with that). The conference also included other far-right fringers like Trevor Loudon and Russell Pearce.
These are the kind of people AIM was hanging out with in Arizona this past weekend.
Alan Caruba Pretends Right-Wing Media Isn't Failing Topic: Accuracy in Media
Professionalbamboozler Alan Caruba is at it again in his Feb. 17 Accuracy in Media column, regurgitating right-wing shibboleths about the media.
Caruba is happy that the New York Times is not making very much money, noting that "Newsweek was sold for one dollar. In 2013 The Daily Beast was projected to lose $12 million." He adds, "By contrast, The Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily are thriving."
But Caruba is making an apples-to-oranges comparison. The Journal and IBD are not general-interest news outlets like the "liberal" outlets he cites; their focus is on business and market news that is very much separate from the right-wing commentary they publish.
Further, they are not thriving. The privately held IBD is reportedly not a money-maker and is supported by other divisions of its parent company. Rupert Murdoch paid $5 billion for the Journal in 2007 -- which is the current value of all of News Corp.'s publishing assets, which include the New York Post and papers in Britain and Australia.
In noting that Newsweek was sold for $1, Caruba failed to note that the Washington Times was sold for $1 as well.
As we've documented, conservative media would have long ago failed in a free market were it not for deep-pocketed right-wing billionaires -- something Caruba fails to understand.
AIM's Kincaid Ignores Anti-Gay Agenda Of Groups Aligning With Putin Topic: Accuracy in Media
Cliff Kincaid writes in a Feb. 7 Accuracy in Media column:
The 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi aren’t the only platform for Russian President Vladimir Putin to assert himself on the international stage. He is reportedly planning to preside over a major Moscow conference in September sponsored by the World Congress of Families, a pro-family coalition that includes several high-profile American conservative organizations.
Putin, who is recently divorced and is said to have a mistress, will present himself as a defender of the Christian faith and Christian values, in contrast to the decline and decadence of the West. He is counting on conservatives in attendance to ignore the fact that he was a Soviet KGB officer and ran its successor, the FSB.
Weirdly, Kincaid is completely silent about the main reason these "pro-family" groups have latched onto Putin: the recently passed law in Russia banning alleged pro-gay "propaganda."
Right Wing Watch notes that "the WCF and the Religious Right groups it partners with are ardent promoters of anti-gay legislation worldwide, and they love Russia's anti-gay President Vladimir Putin."
Perhaps Kincaid's silence on the issue is because he actually supports Putin on this -- after all, he's been a longtime gay-basher who supports a proposed law in Uganda that would permit the execution of homosexuals.
In September, Kincaid huffed that a group headed by William Kristol "critical of Russia for passing legislation to protect children from homosexual propaganda." In a December column, Kincaid criticized the hosts of CNN's "Crossfire" for critizing the Russian anti-gay law and supporting President Obama's more to send gay athletes as part of a U.S. delegation to the Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Perhaps Kincaid doesn't want to admit that homophobia is a key Putin value, lest it undermine his own homophobia.
UPDATE: Kincaid finally addresses the issue in a Feb. 11 column, in which defends Putin's crackdown on gay activity as "understandable" and laments the media's "gross exaggerations" about Russia's anti-gay law:
Media coverage of Russia during the Olympic Games has proven to be extremely inaccurate, from the gross exaggerations about the effects of Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law, to NBC’s claim in a report for the Olympics opening ceremony that Soviet communism was a “pivotal experiment”—and not a tragedy—in the country’s history.
The topic of homosexual rights has dominated most of the coverage. Fareed Zakaria made the false claim on CNN that homosexuality has been “criminalized,” or outlawed, in Russia while Megyn Kelly of Fox News insisted that Russian President Putin is somehow guilty of “homophobia” because he signed a law prohibiting the recruitment of children to the homosexual lifestyle.
By any objective standard, the Russian response to America’s export of homosexuality under Obama is understandable, not objectionable, and it doesn’t constitute “homophobia.” They passed a law to keep homosexual propaganda from children. But this does not mean that Russia is on the right course and should be applauded by conservatives.
The narrow focus on gay rights, which is the intense concern of many in the U.S. media, misses the big picture—that Putin is posturing globally as a pro-family values champion willing to confront America’s dying and decadent culture. Some conservatives are so disgusted by the course Obama has put America on that they seem willing to suspend their critical thinking abilities and embrace Putin as sincere.
And somehow, this is all Obama's fault:
Say what you will about Putin, but he has a vision for his country that is enticing to the Russians and draws a contrast with the West, which is suffering through a period of decline and decay under Obama. The year 2014 has been declared the “Year of Culture in Russia,” and Putin says “It is intended to be a year of enlightenment, emphasis on our cultural roots, patriotism, values and ethics.”
In contrast to Obama, who embraces and promotes every deviant and perverted lifestyle choice, Putin sounds very appealing. But appearances can be deceiving and American conservatives eager to embrace this kind of “conservatism” would be wise to stop and examine what is really going on in Russia. The evidence indicates it is a clever ruse to mask the emergence of a resurgent Russia, built on the Soviet “experiment.”
It is difficult to see one area—except for gay rights—in which Obama is not doing Putin’s bidding. Obama’s homosexual agenda only makes Putin look stronger and more appealing on the world stage, even driving American conservatives into the arms of the would-be Russian dictator.
So, yeah, Kincaid is totally down with Putin's anti-gay crackdown, even if he has to hold his nose at the idea that it's the one thing that keeps him from completely rejecting Putin.
AIM Column Wants To Fix The News, But Not The Right-Wing Media Topic: Accuracy in Media
Daniel Greenfield's Feb. 2 Accuracy in Media column is called "Fixing the News," but you can't fix something properly if you misdiagnose the problem.
Greenfield starts off by getting his facts wrong in claiming that a New York Times investigation of the Benghazi attack published in December had been discredited: "It did not take very long for a Senate report and other media outlets to shoot down the story which had left out information about the Al Qaeda links of the attackers, but did include a dubious claim that the attackers had been angry about a YouTube video." In fact, the article has not been discredited, and the Times reporter stands by the article.
But never mind the facts, Greenfield is on a roll:
There are things about the news that actually do need to be fixed and political bias tops the list.
Even though David Kilpatrick’s story was discredited shortly after it was published, Kilpatrick and the New York Times suffered no personal or professional consequences for a story that supported the administration’s line on Benghazi. That is markedly different from what happened to Lara Logan and 60 Minutes for airing a Benghazi report that the administration did not approve of.
Both stories suffered from errors, but while 60 Minutes was deceived, the New York Times did the deceiving. And yet Lara Logan has been denounced for journalistic malpractice, while hardly anyone in the media has criticized Kilpatrick for attempting to sell blatantly refried nonsense that had long ago been discredited and that not even the administration was willing to stand behind.
Despite claiming that "political bias" in reporting needs to be fixes, there's only particular side he's concerned about:
Serious news however comes with so much political context that it’s easier to just rewrite Think Progress or Media Matters content than to do any original reporting on a national or international issue. There is safety in numbers because it’s harder to lynch a reporter whose only crime is reworking an AP story that is based on a Media Matters email that is based on a White House press release.
Greenfield provides no evidence that any of this has ever happened. (Disclosure: I work for Media Matters.) Further, he appears to not be aware that the right-wing media actually does what he accuses the "liberal media" of doing -- for example, CNSNews.com's enthusiasm for shilling for the oil and gas industry.
Greenfield continues his rant:
The news is broken because it follows the left’s usual model of insider highbrow content and outsider lowbrow content. That same model destroyed art, literature and theater. Now it’s wiping out the news media. The general public gets cat videos, pop stars and stories about a Republican who said something racist. The insiders get endless analyses that read like a case of college sophomore arrested development accompanied by politically correct spin on the latest trends.
"Insider highbrow content and outsider lowbrow content"? That sounds like the Daily Caller, where right-wing politics shares space with pictures of hot babes. Yet Greenfield, to our knowledge, has not raised any objections to that.
Greenfield tries to end on an overused right-wing slam:
The news media has become just another outlet in the culture war of the left. Its business model can’t be fixed because it isn’t in business to make money, but to indoctrinate. It doesn’t care about the financial bottom line, but about the political bottom line. Its future is boutique journalism funded by liberal billionaires looking to influence policy by subsidizing failed media outlets that would otherwise go on the block for a buck just like Newsweek.
Meanwhile, right-wing journalism is boutique journalism funded by conservative billionaires looking to influence policy by subsidizing failed media outlets that would otherwise go on the block for a buck just like the Washington Times.
Is there “income inequality” in America? Yes, there always has been, but what Obama does not talk about is the “income mobility” that permits low income Americans to secure employment and higher wages when the economy is improving. It is another Big Lie from a President who is wedded to Marxist “solutions” that have never worked.
Caruba seems to have missed the fact that Obama gave an entire speech last month on the subject of income mobility in which, yes, he talked about the system that "permits low income Americans to secure employment and higher wages when the economy is improving." We'll evenhighlight the key word so Caruba can find it easier:
The problem is that alongside increased inequality, we’ve seen diminished levels of upward mobility in recent years. A child born in the top 20 percent has about a 2-in-3 chance of staying at or near the top. A child born into the bottom 20 percent has a less than 1-in-20 shot at making it to the top. He’s 10 times likelier to stay where he is. In fact, statistics show not only that our levels of income inequality rank near countries like Jamaica and Argentina, but that it is harder today for a child born here in America to improve her station in life than it is for children in most of our wealthy allies -- countries like Canada or Germany or France. They have greater mobility than we do, not less.
The idea that so many children are born into poverty in the wealthiest nation on Earth is heartbreaking enough. But the idea that a child may never be able to escape that poverty because she lacks a decent education or health care, or a community that views her future as their own, that should offend all of us and it should compel us to action. We are a better country than this.
So let me repeat: The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American Dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe. And it is not simply a moral claim that I’m making here. There are practical consequences to rising inequality and reduced mobility.
And rising inequality and declining mobility are also bad for our families and social cohesion -- not just because we tend to trust our institutions less, but studies show we actually tend to trust each other less when there’s greater inequality. And greater inequality is associated with less mobility between generations. That means it’s not just temporary; the effects last. It creates a vicious cycle. For example, by the time she turns three years old, a child born into a low-income home hears 30 million fewer words than a child from a well-off family, which means by the time she starts school she’s already behind, and that deficit can compound itself over time.
And finally, rising inequality and declining mobility are bad for our democracy. Ordinary folks can’t write massive campaign checks or hire high-priced lobbyists and lawyers to secure policies that tilt the playing field in their favor at everyone else’s expense. And so people get the bad taste that the system is rigged, and that increases cynicism and polarization, and it decreases the political participation that is a requisite part of our system of self-government.
Caruba also writes:
A President who thinks that extending unemployment compensation “creates jobs” is so out of touch with reality that it should come as no surprise that Obama has the worst record of unemployment rates since the days of the Great Depression in the 1930s.
In fact, no less an authority than the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office agrees with Obama that unemployment compensation boosts the economy because that money is spent in the economy.
AIM's Kincaid: Apartheid Wasn't So Bad Because Mandela Wasn't Executed Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a Jan. 3 Accuracy in Media column, Cliff Kincaid follows WorldNetDaily in taking post-mortem shots at Nelson Mandela that have the effect of whitewashing apartheid:
Referring to Nelson Mandela, Rove says he “spent 26 years in prison before emerging to end apartheid and serve as the first president of a multiracial South African democracy.” However, Mandela’s debt to Soviet communism, which armed his movement, went unmentioned in Rove’s Wall Street Journal column. Rove also failed to note that the communists who run South Africa today counted Mandela as one of their own. The “democratic” South Africa of today is effectively a one-party state, and the white minority is under siege and facing genocide.
Rove writes that Mandela went “on trial for his life,” neglecting to mention that he was convicted of terrorism and could have been hanged for his crimes. Instead, Mandela received a prison sentence. The white government was actually quite lenient and offered to release him if he would renounce violence and terrorism. He never did. His terrorism cost innocent lives.
So apartheid wasn't so bad because Mandela wasn't immediately executed? Is that what Kincaid is saying?
As WND did, Kincaid ignores what Mandela actually said in response to offers to free him if he renounced violence: that his freedom was meaningless if apartheid was still legal. While Kincaid laments the "innocent lives" taken by Mandela's "terrorism," he's silent on on the innocent lives taken as a result of South Africa's apartheid regime.
AIM Joins Larry Klayman's Anti-Obama Rally Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media announced in a Nov. 14 blog post:
Accuracy in Media has joined the “Reclaim America Now Coalition,” put together by Freedom Watch. AIM Editor Roger Aronoff will be speaking at the Washington D.C. rally on November 19th at Lafayette Park, across from the White House. To learn more about the rally, and the coalition, click on the link below.
If you go to the Reclaim America Now website, you'll find that it's a project of failed lawyer Larry Klayman, the rabid Obama-hater (and man found by a judge to have engaged in "inappropriate behavior" with his children). AIM thus joins a rogue's gallery of participants that includes WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah, Floyd Brown and Bradlee Dean.
We can only presume this means that AIM's participation in this event constitutes an endorsement of Klayman's increasingly unhinged anti-Obama rhetoric, which recently culminated in a call for Obama "to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come up with his hands out."
P.S. Klayman's website also plays the chorus of the Martina McBride song "Independence Day." Klayman is apparently unaware that the song is about domestic abuse, not patriotism.
AIM Acknowledges '60 Minutes' Benghazi Implosion; MRC Still Silent Topic: Accuracy in Media
We noted last week that while Accuracy in Media joined others in the ConWeb in promoting a CBS "60 Minutes" story that included the account of a purported eyewitness to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, it also noted that the report failed to disclose that the purported eyewitness had also written a book published by a division of CBS. But it was also slow in responding to questions about the witness' credibility.
Now that the story of the "60 Minutes" witness, Dylan Davies aka "Morgan Jones," has completely imploded, AIM is finally acknowledging the problems in a Nov. 8 column by Roger Aronoff, in which he criticizes how "60 Minutes" correspondent Lara Logan and others "were apparently taken in by this charlatan" and "doubled down" after criticism first surfaced.
Aronoff also engages in some damage control, insisting that "While Davies’ account may have been a lie, the administration still has much to answer for." He adds:
Maybe “60 Minutes” can re-examine the rest of the material from their hundred or so interviews they did for the segment, and come up with a hard-hitting story, that is also accurate. As Lara Logan said in the “60 Minutes Overtime” website-only feature, which has been pulled from the “60 Minutes” website: “So, we left about 98 percent of what we learned on the floor—didn’t even report it—because unless we could substantiate it with primary sources that we truly trusted and whose motivations we trusted, then we didn’t even go there.”
Many lies have circulated regarding the Benghazi attacks of last year. This wasn’t the first. That is why Accuracy in Media founded the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, which is searching for the truth behind the attacks.
You mean that kangaroo court that's stacked with Obama-haters and birthers?
Meanwhile, the Media Research Center, which also touted the now-discredited "60 Minutes" report, has been utterly silent on its implosion. The only acknowledgement of the controversy so far is an Associated Press article reprinted at CNSNews.com about Davie's book being withdrawn by its publishe.r
MRC, AIM Tout Benghazi 'Witness,' Ignore His Lies Topic: Accuracy in Media
In an Oct. 28 Media Research Center item, Matthew Balan touts how a segment by Lara Logan on "60 Minutes" about the Benghazi attack featured "an actual eyewitness of the attack":
Logan led with her "misinformation" line, and introduced Morgan Jones, a former member of the British military, who uses that pseudonym for personal safety reasons. Jones was in charge of the unarmed security force inside the walls of the main U.S. compound in Benghazi. He revealed that he snuck inside the hospital where Ambassador Stevens had been taken, and quickly learned about diplomat's death. Jones also outlined his concerns about the armed militia guarding the facility.
Similarly, in an Oct. 31 Accuracy in Media column, Roger Aronoff highlights the Morgan Jones interview:
The segment, which can be viewed online, interviews one “Morgan Jones,” a self-identified Blue Mountain security chief who was at an apartment 15 minutes away when the attack started at the Benghazi Special Mission Compound in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
Jones raced to the compound, scaled the 12-foot wall, and attempted to enter the compound to assist those inside, but they had already been rescued by a CIA rapid-response team that included the now-deceased Tyrone Woods.
“[The attackers] said, ‘We’re here to kill Americans, not Libyans,’” recounts Jones in an emotional moment. “So they’d give them a good beating, pistol whip them, beat them with their rifle, and let them go.”
But so far, neither Balan nor Aronoff have told their readers that the account "Morgan Jones" told on "60 Minutes" differs sharply from what he told his then-employer, that he couldn't get anywhere near the Benghazi compound during the attack. The Washington Post reports:
But in a written account that Jones, whose real name was confirmed as Dylan Davies by several officials who worked with him in Benghazi, provided to his employer three days after the attack, he told a different story of his experiences that night.
In Davies’s 2 1/2-page incident report to Blue Mountain, the Britain-based contractor hired by the State Department to handle perimeter security at the compound, he wrote that he spent most of that night at his Benghazi beach-side villa. Although he attempted to get to the compound, he wrote in the report, “we could not get anywhere near . . . as roadblocks had been set up.”
Aronoff, to his credit, did note something Balan didn't: that Fox News reported that Jones demanded money to tell his story, and that Jones' book is published by Simon & Schuster, which is a division of CBS, which should raise questions about an undisclosed quid pro quo.
AIM's Caruba Pretends Anti-Immigration Group Is 'Non-Partisan' Topic: Accuracy in Media
In an Oct. 24 column for Accuracy in Media bashing immigration reform, Alan Caruba does his best to whitewash the true nature of the Center for Immigration Studies, proclaiming it "an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization."
In reality, CIS is an anti-immigration group. As the Southern Poverty Law Center details, CIS was founded by John Tanton, "a man known for his racist statements about Latinos, his decades-long flirtation with white nationalists and Holocaust deniers, and his publication of ugly racist materials." It's also not "independent" -- it was founded as the research arm of the anti-immigration Federation for American Immigration Reform and still has ties with the group.
So it appears that Caruba has found yet another subject to bamboozle his readers about.
Meanwhile ... Topic: Accuracy in Media
Right Wing Watch catches Accuracy in Media's Roger Aronoff claiming -- without proof, of course -- that there was a secret deal between the Obama administration and Comcast that it would ensure liberal bias at NBC and MSNBC in exchange for federal approval of Comcast's purchase of NBC Universal.
AIM Falsely Claims NJ Senate Candidate 'Has a Real Chance to Win' Topic: Accuracy in Media
James Simpson's Oct. 15 Accuracy in Media column on the New Jersey Senate race carries the headline "Steve Lonegan Has a Real Chance to Win."
Well, not so much -- Democrat Cory Booker defeated Republican Lonegan by more than 10 percentage points. Just like Newsmax's John Gizzi, Simpson ignored pre-election polls showing Lonegan behind by that amount or larger.
Also like Gizzi, Simpson made no mention of the fact that Lonegan's strategist and pollster was fired for making sexually suggestive comments about Booker.
Aside from the failed prognosticating, Simpson's column is a very thinly veiled bit of electioneering fof Lonegan. He implores readers to "Watch the video of Lonegan’s life story, and make up for the rampant media malpractice by spreading it around" and touts how you can "watch Lonegan clean Booker’s clock" in a debate. Simpson sneers that Booker "has the left fawning all over him nationwide because he is well-spoken, clean cut and black. Remind you of anyone?" Simpson concludes his column with a link to Lonegan's website.
Simpson's column runs dangerously close to partisan political advocacy, which is generally forbidden under the 501(c)3 non-profit status that governs groups like AIM. Hopefully AIM's lawyers reviewed this column before publication; otherwise, it could be in trouble.
AIM's 'Citizens Commission' Member Conspiracy-Mongers About Terrorist's Capture Topic: Accuracy in Media
Clare Lopez is one of the members of Accuracy in Media's "Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi." She doesn't appear to be a birther like several other commission members, but she's a supporter of the the MEK, an Iranian exile group that until recently was considered a terrorist group by the U.S. government.
Lopez is also prone to conspiracy-mongering, as an Oct. 7 AIM column demonstrates. In it, Lopez claims there's something suspicious about the timing of the U.S. capture of Al Qaeda operative Abu Anas al-Libi:
In any case, according to CNN, before the end of 2010, al-Libi somehow made his way back to Libya, just in time for the February 17, 2011 outbreak of the revolution. In December 2010, Libyan authorities even provided the UN Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee a street address for him in downtown Tripoli.
The August 2012 Library of Congress study, “Al-Qaeda in Libya: A Profile,” suggests that al-Libi’s role in Libya was coordination between Ayman al-Zawahiri and AQ Central and the Libyan militias.
By the time that U.S. career diplomat Christopher Stevens was named official U.S. Liaison to the Libyan rebels in mid-March 2011, AQ-LIFG fighters like al-Libi, Ben Qumu and Belhadj were leading the revolution against Qaddafi. Stevens’ job was to coordinate U.S. diplomatic, intelligence, logistical, military and weapons support to al-Qaeda jihadis such as these. The pending NYC Federal District Court indictment against al-Libi for the 1998 Nairobi Embassy bombing would just have to wait.
And wait it did … until a random day in early October 2013, when the U.S. government suddenly decided that it needed, urgently, to snatch an unsuspecting al-Libi off the street in Tripoli, where he had been living since the end of the Libyan revolution with his wife and four children.
Soon, Secretary of State Kerry was crowing about how terrorists “can run but they can’t hide” – but the thing was, al-Libi hadn’t been running or hiding for a long time. The U.S. knew perfectly well where he was for at least the prior two years — and didn’t seem to care.
Al-Libi’s seizure now makes as little sense as did the apparent U.S. and UK indifference to his outstanding Nairobi indictment and his jihadist credentials for all the years that preceded it.
The fact that Lopez is so quick to conspiracy-monger about al-Libi's capture is yet another sign that AIM's "Citizens' Commission" is nothing but a kangaroo court.
AIM's Kincaid Freaks Out About De Blasio's Name Change Topic: Accuracy in Media
What is it about New York mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio's name change that so unnerves right-wingers?
In an Oct. 10 Accuracy in Media column that mostly rants about deBlasio's supposed pro-communist past, Cliff Kincaid drops this in: "Curiously, it also turns out that de Blasio has had three different names, but he refuses to talk about that in any depth, either."
As we pointed out when the Catholic League's Bill Donohue freaked out about it at Newsmax, de Blasio has discussed his name changes -- he was abandoned by his father and taking the name of his mother's family is his way of honoring the side of the family that raised him.
There is an explanation, but Kincaid has no interest in finding out about it, preferring to construct a conspiracy theory about it instead.