GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger on Twitter, in video takes on Trump, conspiracy theories:
“I’ve been a little worried about something lately,” Kinzinger says in a video. The excessive number of conspiracy theories that I’ve seen running all over social media.”
As President Donald Trump traffics in unfounded murder accusations against MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and threatened Wednesday to shutdown social media after Twitter did a weak attempt to flag his falsehoods about mail-in ballots, here’s a shoutout to Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.
Kinzinger and Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, are two of the few Republicans ever to say anything as Trump spirals out of control and Twitter does next to nothing about it. Kinzinger called out Trump for his baseless accusation about Scarborough.
As significant, Kinzinger is taking on a disease as corrosive to our society as COVID-19 infections: conspiracy theories, whether driven by Trump, Russia or China.
He put together a tour de force six-minute Facebook video titled “Unplug the Rage Machine.” Kinzinger uses a bill by Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill. to make his point. Conspiracy theorists latched on to Rush’s H.R. 6666, in part because of its randomly assigned “ominous number” said Kinzinger.
Trump’s latest ploy is trafficking in two sleazy conspiracy theories: “Obamagate,” a vague undefined crime of some sort involving ex-President Barack Obama, and his outrageous accusation that Scarborough murdered someone in 2001.
Obamagate and the Scarborough slur are fabrications — pure propaganda from Trump — fueled by his powerful Twitter feed with 80.3 million followers.
Trump throws this stuff out as a distraction and to further divide us as the nation grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, the worst health and economic crisis of our lives. The death toll in the U.S. reached 100,000 on Wednesday.
Trump tweeted on Sunday, “A lot of interest in this story about Psycho Joe Scarborough. So a young marathon runner just happened to faint in his office, hit her head on his desk, & die? I would think there is a lot more to this story than that? An affair? What about the so-called investigator? Read story!”
To that, Kinzinger replied, “Completely unfounded conspiracy. Just stop. Stop spreading it, stop creating paranoia. It will destroy us.”
Trump’s genius in using Twitter is a reason he is the president.
Trump is turning on Mother Twitter, threatening Wednesday to “strongly regulate” the social media platform after it fact-checked the president for the first time.
Twitter attached a fact-check link to two tweets Trump put out claiming problems with mail-in ballots that did not exist.
Timid Twitter. Twitter ignores the more explosive phony Obamagate and murder conspiracies choosing only to fact-check the mail-in ballot false claims.
On Wednesday, Trump wrote, “Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen. We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016. We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that happen again.”
Trump wants you to believe he has powers he does not have — closing Twitter, for example — just as he wants you to swallow the conspiracy theories he peddles.
Enter Kinzinger, an Air National Guard lieutenant colonel.
He says don’t take the bait in his video recorded message in his House office. It’s sort of a fireside chat without the fireplace. He alludes to Trump but doesn’t mention his name.
“I’ve been a little worried about something lately,” Kinzinger says, about “the excessive number of conspiracy theories that I’ve seen running all over social media. So I want to shed some light on the motivation behind them. And I want to encourage you to stay vigilant against these internet based traps.”
Many of the ”false stories” have origins in China and Russian spy networks and “specifically targets you. You’ll find stories that align with your political beliefs. Maybe they will stretch a little further [than] what you already believe. And then, over time, these crazy theories make an impression and you may find yourself starting to believe it enough to share it.”
People with opposing views are targeted. This is all done “to create two warring factions.” Trump, China and Russia all want to pit us against each other.
Rush’s H.R. 6666 is the COVID-19 Testing, Reaching, And Contacting Everyone (TRACE) Act. Kinzinger said he got several text messages falsely saying the bill would allow the government into your home and “take away your children...” all because it was easy to manipulate the bill number into “a satanic message.” Other conspiracy theorists have also latched onto the bill.
As Kinzinger said, “As leaders we have a choice. There’s far too many who will simply reflect back that paranoia to feed fuel to that fire if it helps their re-election….As leaders and citizens, we need to push back against these attempts to divide and destroy us.”