Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!!

During a recent get-together, discussion turned to a predictable topic: what on earth explains support for Donald Trump? How can (presumably rational) citizens look at this obviously mentally-ill buffoon spouting bizarre word-salads and facing 92 indictments, and come away thinking “Yep, that’s the guy I want to put in charge of the nuclear codes”? 

A recent essay on a seemingly unrelated issue may point to at least a partial answer.

In an article about recent efforts to revitalize local news media, Doron Taussig of the Columbia Journalism Review reported that Republicans are as mistrusting of local news outlets as they are of national media outlets.

She began by citing arguments from proponents of local news asserting that– while national media sources are increasingly seen as partisan– local news enjoys widespread trust. “After all, what do high school sports and Girl Scouts building a sensory garden for shelter dogs have to do with Joe Biden and Donald Trump?”

The data doesn’t support that argument.

But if money and energy are going to be poured into local news with the assumption that local journalists are and will remain trusted across partisan lines, we’re going to be in for an unpleasant surprise. Yes, polling shows that local news is more trusted across the political spectrum than national news, but only 29 percent of Republicans surveyed by Gallup in 2021 said they trusted their local news, down from 34 percent in 2019. This is consistent with what I’ve heard from journalists who work for local outlets (mostly but not exclusively in Pennsylvania) and conservatives who read or have stopped reading them. In fact, the striking thing when you examine the relationship between local news and conservative audiences is that, in spite of all the differences between the Bucks County Courier Times and the New York Times, their alienation from conservatives sounds dishearteningly similar.

It would seem that MAGA Republicans have adopted Earl Landgrebe’s infamous position, uttered during the Watergate hearings: “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind’s made up.” He went on to say “I’m going to stick with my President even if he and I have to be taken out of this building and shot.” (The next day, Nixon resigned.) (Landgrebe was, sadly, a product of Indiana, a state that’s been described as so Red, voters will elect a rutabaga if it has an “R” next to its name.)

Clearly, in order to continue supporting Donald Trump, it’s prudent to shield oneself from information, facts, and reality.  

That allergy to inconvenient information, however, has multiple negative consequences–and those consequences aren’t limited to ongoing support for a lunatic would-be autocrat. People who refuse to engage with probative information are ripe targets for propaganda, as Heather Cox Richardson recently reported.

Richardson cited a Washington Post article on a secret 2023 document from Russia’s Foreign Ministry calling for an “offensive information campaign” and other measures that attack “‘a coalition of unfriendly countries’ led by the United States.”

Those measures are designed to affect “the military-political, economic and trade and informational psychological spheres” of Russia’s perceived adversaries. 

The plan is to weaken the United States and convince other countries, particularly those in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, that the U.S. will not stand by its allies. By weakening those alliances, Russian leaders hope to shift global power by strengthening Russia’s ties to China, Iran, and North Korea and filling the vacuum left by the crumbling democratic alliances (although it is not at all clear that China is on board with this plan).

Russian propaganda aims to bolster the most isolationist right-wing and extremist forces in America, “to increase tensions between the U.S. and China over Taiwan,” and “escalate the situation in the Middle East around Israel, Iran and Syria to distract the U.S. with the problems of this region.” 

That effort has been particularly successful with the looney-tunes GOP flank elected to the House thanks to gerrymandering. As Richardson reports:

Earlier this month, both Representative Michael R. Turner (R-OH), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned about Russian disinformation in their party. Turner told CNN’s State of the Union that it is “absolutely true” that Republican members of Congress are parroting Russian propaganda. “We see directly coming from Russia attempts to mask communications that are anti-Ukraine and pro-Russia messages, some of which we even hear being uttered on the House floor.” When asked which Republicans had fallen to Russian propaganda, McCaul answered that it is “obvious.” 

What it takes to support Trump, echo his “Big Lie,” and parrot Russian propaganda is chosen ignorance–a rejection of all contrary information by folks who don’t want to be confused by the facts.

There are a lot of them.


  1. The simple fact is that Republicans will vote for Trump and his MAGAs, White Nationalists, Freedom Caucus and pseudo “America First” followers, as China manufactures their hats and tee shirts, believing they will return the original Republicans to power by voting for any Republican on all ballots. Where are and WHO are the original Republicans now sitting mute and idle allowing Trump & Co. their version of 1st and 2nd Amendments while not using their own rights and responsibilities to speak and act to end the takeover.

    Trump’s threats of bloodshed are frightening as we have watched too many mass shootings to count, traced to the far right agenda, and his threats against entire Justice systems, their staff and families and potential jurors, et al, needs to be tested by the Judicial system by asserting their right and their responsibility to jail Trump for his countless actions ignoring orders from the courts. IF his threats of bloodshed begins, there is substantive action to be confronted and ended by authorities. Now relying on his personal Supreme Court majority to back his “presidential immunity” claim regarding the 92 or more charges against him, we fear their reprisal. He remains an “unindicted co-conspirator” for other crimes as alleged in the Mueller Report, hidden from the public. The Constitution lacks empowering any elected official or branch of government to force elected officials to uphold their Oath of Office at all levels…including the Executive Branch and SCOTUS.

    We are in deep shit and sinking fast; cowardice at our top levels of government are also being confused by the facts and ignore their “insider” knowledge of all facts. They are supporting Pecker’s facts in “The Enquirer” by their inaction; the current court action appears to me to be “Peckergate” and last night on MSNBC Joy Reid asked the most intelligent question I have yet heard, “Why would he pay $130,000 to someone he did NOT have sex with?”

  2. I recently had a conversation with an acquaintance who said he does not know why the government is paying immigrants $2200 a month once they get to America.
    This is a lie spoken by Lauren Boebert and magnified by right-wing propaganda. I will mention it to him the next time I see him, and I wonder if he will accept the fact that this is a lie.
    What kind of mental gymnastics does it take for people to deny what they see with their own eyes, and accept the lies from these people as their “truth”, or should I say “alternate facts”?

  3. I’ve been evaluating voices on X leading up to the “military aid” package voted on this past Saturday. The AIPAC crowd has been spouting pro-Israel disinformation daily. Same with the pro-Ukrainian voices. They have abandoned any factual background (history) of how we’ve got here and spout the MIC talking points. Certain members of the House Intel Committee are the worst propagandizers of the bunch.

    Therefore, anybody labeled as Russian or Chinese “disinformation” might be telling the truth. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to the mainstream voices who are manufacturing consent for three different wars by the military-industrial complex. The journalists telling the truth or holding the mainstream voices accountable are censored and/or throttled by social media companies.

    Thomas Massie (R) is a straight shooter. He is always called a Russian stooge by his fellow Republicans because he actually understands what he’s signing. Many R’s have no clue and are told how to vote.

    MTG or “Moscow Marge” equated more money to Ukraine as equalling more Ukrainian deaths. This is a very logical position. She wanted to make Ukraine seek peace and end the bloodshed. For that sentiment, she was labeled a Russian stooge.

    Trump changed his mind and Johnson’s about the military aid package they’ve held up for over six months. By doing so, he threw around 100+ MAGAs under the bus because they voted against it as Trump wished. We are still waiting for the dust to settle to see how this one played out.

    In other words, don’t listen to mainstream voices or the masses. As Noam Chomsky says, that’s where your propaganda gets spouted – the manufacturing of consent. Today’s boogeymen are Russia, Iran, and China. 😉

  4. Where are the truly ethical news reporters like Walter Cronkite when you really need them?

  5. I must say it seems that a rutabaga might just be a better Representative or Senator than say Matt Gates or Tommy Tuberville. It might not be able to speak, but it also wouldn’t be trying to blow everything up.

  6. It’s not surprising that a large percentage of the fact-avoiding Trump supporters are very religious. Anyone who believes in a literal and inerrant bible has already been thoroughly trained in this regard.

  7. People who have committed to Trump and what passes for Republicans are frightened to death of their own fragile psyches. They have spent most of their lives building an ethos of anti-Democrat. They fear admitting their mistakes at every turn because their psychological house of cards will collapse. This makes them, of course, easy marks for a con man.

    This situation, ironically, applies to not only the un-educated (Trump’s family of marks) but some educated as well who are so craven for power and money, they’ll do and say anything that feeds that narrative of hate for the “other”.

    Todd, in today’s tortuous offering, does mention the MIC which wants/needs to have wars and disruption around the world to satisfy their stockholders’ lust for wealth. The rest is utter cloud watching.

    To finish this, note that these right-wingers who have no thoughts about anything except their own protection of their mis-wired psychology will eagerly sell their mothers into slavery rather than vote for the right kind of representation that makes sense. Their sub-culture demands it as does their psychological make-up.

  8. Lol, what JoAnn said.
    What would one do if they saw the ship sinking? Pretend that it wasn’t sinking? Turn and look the other way until you were drowning? Well, that’s what these corrupt politicians are training their followers to do!

    How does the song go? “Believe half of what you see and some of none of what you hear?”

    At 2nd Timothy 1:7, Paul mentions a spirit “of power and of love and of soundness of mind” in contrast with “a spirit of cowardice.”

    Does the above sound familiar?

    Paralyzed with fear and loathing, you have one group afraid to rock the boat, and another willing to let it sink to the bottom of the ocean. So what should a rational person do? If a person has the power and authority, while they have the opportunity, they should reject cowardice and take the bull by the horn so to speak. It ain’t easy, and it could be life-threatening, It just depends if that spirit of cowardice is stronger than loving your neighbor and preventing that ship from setting on the bottom of the ocean.

    Isaiah 2: 22, mentions, why put faith and trust in men who only have breath in their nostrils. Actually, it means an empty husk, no ability, no intellect, no willpower, no concern for neighbor. They would allow their intellectual hollowness to let it all burn down!

    We see it constantly, those that have the wherewithal, in other words the power at the moment to derail this level of ignorance. But cowardice freezes them like statues! The other ones are herding The air filled hollow headed over the cliff! Just in the hopes of finding some undeserved power and authority. If you research history, it happens time and time again, cowardice always as a death grip on humanity!

  9. recent employment in a small town repair shop , yep at 69. There are a 2 high school teens who work a few hours of hands on repair knowlege and getting greasy. Im not of this towns mold in NoDak, and the town probably resembles many across America. My street sense and big city ways made a connection with these teens. Im not into social media or any app infested lifestyle,none.(none,and i get no junk mail or wierd calls) but as we have conversation looking into how they manage their life,outside of this repair shop. I looked over their shoulder and watched how they managed their window of infinate wisdom. when the subject was some system to repair said issue,you tube etc was elected. save some bucks folks, watch em. as we conversed over several ways to manage this repair, we came to conclusion and,,, moved on. seems these teens were being dragged away almost immediatly after doing this repair, the swiping to other aspects of their lives was immediate,without hesitation. watching them closely,and seeing them swipe from one unrelated subject to another. its a major distraction for the work, but I was able to see how easy its been made to keep them swiping. Im not loaded up on many items of intrests, mainly,labor issues,wages and wall streets greed,some foriegn issues and keeping our democracy intact. this was also a common discussion between those teens and myself. history,past law breaking, con jobs by trumps cronies and whos who. we had lively discussions,and made some facts bearable. my street wise talk and same level attitude kept these teens open minded and seeking more. but,as I had heard about social medias con job, it delibertly distracts from the subject into making them money first. like todays subject. its the constant distraction and trying to digest far too many issue and bling at one time. these teens hold the future,best to hold some hands while they are
    making the next decisions. Im back at work again driving a diesel burning heavy haul truck (105.500 GVWR)in the upper plains delivering hot asphault oil (300 F) to your infrastructure jobs. Thanks Joe… some day ill retire, underground,,

  10. Susan – Cronkite would not be accepted AT ALL by today’s standards. Do you recall/have you ever seen his “Harvest of Shame” report? 0% chance he wouldn’t be branded a wild-eyed, lefty loon. That’s right – the Overton Window has sprinted so far right that venerated newsmen of the past are now socialist/communist/whatever-is-convenientist to the right.

  11. Jack,

    You are ON it. No one “reads” – they swipe from screen to screen maybe taking in 240 characters at once (gulp). And with zero education in critical thinking and media literacy they are left to do with “news” as they do with most everything else in their lives – it is whatever I want it to be – it is MY NEWS.

  12. But, I like rutabaga.
    John H., you point out a very troubling truth.
    Too many otherwise ordinary citizens have bought the message that the only party that cares about them is the GOP, with neither evidence nor rational thought. It’s like they are Chevy, or Ford, families, and anything else is un-American.

  13. Todd Smekens. In the 1930’s Stalin tried to eradicate Ukrainians’ freedom, culture and national identity by systematically murdering millions of people who just wanted to be left alone to live their lives as they had done for generations. That was less than 100 years ago. Ukrainians are well aware of what it is like to be subject to the power of a dictator, something most Americans have never experienced. Dictators become dictators by killing and maintain their power by more killing and the more people resist, the more people they kill. You seem to not appreciate this clear lesson from history nor see the proof of it in today’s Russia and South Korea.

    MTG is a Russian stooge or, at best, a useful idiot. Useful, that is to Putin who thumbs his nose at international law and uses assassination and war crimes to hold his power. This is what you want Ukrainians to accept in the name of peace, but for them that would be the peace of the grave.

    You complain about imagined censorship in the United States, but you are free to write whatever you want. If you tried that under a dictator you, too, would experience the peace of the grave.

  14. Every experience our brain records comes from our five senses, mostly from other people—our knowledge and beliefs (opinions). That’s all of who we are as individuals.

    Followers in cults emulate the leader because he is their prime input. Leaders of cults organize the lives of their followers to ensure that one input rises above all else.

    DJT and Fox have mastered social media to ensure that is true of the Republican Party Trump now owns, lock, stock, and barrel. They do it for money regardless of the damage it causes. Like corporations, more money is their only motivation. Damages are labeled externalities and ignored.

    Cults are accidents of timing when the leader projects at precisely the right time and place to fill an insatiable need among followers.

    RIP, GOP.

  15. Todd, your approval as logical MTG’s observation that more money to Ukraine equals more Ukrainian deaths ignores the converse, to wit: that less or no money to Ukraine equals more Ukrainian deaths as well, not to mention such a policy position would assure the annexation of Ukraine by Putin and pose a much greater likelihood of WW III given Russia’s new border with NATO countries, who would be next in line for his territorial expansion.

    It seems “logical” to me that our help to Ukraine now might well deter Russian agression, continue the present buffer status Putin has with NATO countries, and thus avoid a WW III we would be bound by treaty to fight – at a far greater cost than the penny ante aid in the pipeline to Ukraine just approved in both the House and Senate by bipartisan vote.

    Finally, and as to MTG’s qualifications to comment on foreign policy matters, I will forever remember her public observation that “We have to stop giving away our money to foreign countries, like Guam.”

  16. Thank you again, Sheila for another outstanding post. I have a question: in Mike Braun ads, uniformed law enforcement officers spout their support for Braun, who describes himself as “pro-Trump”. Is there any state law forbidding law enforcement officers, in uniform, from political activity? We taxpayers pay their salary, benefits, and even the cost of the uniforms they are wearing. Does this fall under the same law forbidding campaigning on government property? If anyone knows, please advise.

  17. Just a correction to my earlier post: That should be Matt Gaetz not Matt Gates. Sorry for not being more aware of auto-correct.

  18. Posted by Linda Stamato …

    Reaching back to the year 1877 for guidance today. British philosopher and mathematician, William Kingdon Clifford, published a book by the intriguing title, “The Ethics of Belief.” In it, he offers the following example: ‘if the owner of a ship ignored evidence that the craft had problems but, nonetheless, sent the ship out to sea having convinced himself that the ship was safe, then we would blame him if the ship went down and all aboard were lost.’ To have a belief is to bear responsibility is Clifford’s message. ‘One has a moral responsibility,’ moreover, to dig arduously into the evidence, avoid ideological thinking and take into account self-serving biases.’

    Clifford argued further that “it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence,,,,A belief is a public possession. If too many people believe things without evidence, the danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery.”

    Consulting the evidence, arduously, not just the source that confirms our belief, wouldn’t that be something!

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