Tag Archives: trolls

Using lies to make Obamacare look incompetent

The graphic above has managed to be upvoted on Reddit to the point where it stands today at number 9 in the Hot category on the Front Page of the news aggregation site.

It was posted by user JoeInJapan on the /facepalm subreddit. 

It’s not until comment number 4 where user DancingCorpse has this to say about it:

That’s not Healthcare.gov and anyone who has ever actually used the site would know that. If I remember correctly, this image was taken from some stupid survey site or was spoofed using a survey maker. Probably easily verifiable by going to Snopes and searching “healthcare.gov have you died question”. This was a common Facebook propaganda spam two years ago.

The real face palm is that someone reposted this.

Snopes does have something to say about the graphic:

“The survey question was not related to Obamacare enrollment or Healthcare.gov.”

It should be noted that, against what seems logical to me, Snopes rated the graphic as Mostly False.

The question about death was not asked about Obamacare or on HealthCare.gov. Rather it does appear to have been asked in a survey, possibly a satirical one. somewhere at some time.

Just to be clear, the survey question was asked online somewhere starting about 2015, just never about Obamacare on HealthCare.gov.

Rating it as Mostly False instead of entirely false strikes me as Snopes splitting hairs and it gives the wrong impression if you don’t decipher the weird way this is explained on the Snopes page.

Rather than trying to explain it all away as humor from somewhere, I will offer another explanation.

It is entirely possible, based on what we know already about how they operate, that right-wing trolls purposefully introduced this graphic into the social media stream as just one small part of a larger effort to discredit Obamacare

After all, if the people who run Obamacare are so stupid that they put forth a survey question asking you if you died, how can they possibly be competent enough to manage your health care?

It’s part of the ongoing effort by conservatives to approach killing Obamacare with the death of a thousand cuts. If they cannot get rid of it outright — because a lot of conservative voters found they like many of Obamacare’s provisions once it became law — then they will try to slowly kill it through smaller steps.

Another way they have been doing this is by slowly chipping away at the administrative supports behind Obamacare. They’ve also been making it harder for insurance companies, many of whom have dropped out of Obamacare entirely, which is then blamed on the law itself and not the Republicans who are trying to undermine it.

This one graphic posted on Reddit — with 250 million users — is not the end of the world. But it has been picked up and shared across Facebook and elsewhere millions of other times.

So the next time someone tells you that HealthCare.gov asked this question as part of Obamacare enrollment, you can tell them they are wrong by sending them to this link

Internet trolls are masters at inserting right-wing talking points into the social media stream. Some of the efforts are well-organized. Click on the troll for information about one of those efforts.

Right wing trolls take over the Hugo Awards

Science fiction is one of those genres of writing I keep meaning to try in earnest yet never get around to because I’m a non-fiction guy and that takes up all of my time.

Yet even a scifi neophyte such as myself has heard of the Hugo Awards which, according to the group’s web site, have been “presented annually since 1955, [and] are science fiction’s most prestigious award. The Hugo Awards are voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Convention (“Worldcon”), which is also responsible for administering them.”

The awards are a big deal in the science fiction community and they’ve been taken over by right-wing trolls:

The science-fiction and fantasy literature world might seem by its nature to be forward-thinking, but it hasn’t been free from the kinds of culture wars embodied by last year’s Gamergate controversy—a fact aptly illustrated by this year’s nominations for the genre’s (arguably) most prestigious awards, the Hugos. The tastes of the voting audience for the Hugos (comprised of the attendees of the World Science Fiction Convention, or WorldCon) seem to have grown more diverse in recent years. And their selections have reflected that: Last year’s awards were swept by writers of color and women, myself included. hugo-awards

So it was a surprise when a majority of voters woke up April 4 to a nomination slate almost exclusively overrun by novels, stories, and related fan efforts promoted by a small group of writers who claim the Hugos are turning into affirmative-action awards catering to left-wing ideologies. Their efforts to influence the voting process are led by the novelist Larry Correia and the Internet personality Theodore Beale, who’s best known for his desire to deny women the right to vote and his firm belief that black people are “savages.”

Got that? In yet another show of what crybabies cultural conservatives  have become — “We’re being oppressed because we can’t impose our values on the majority who don’t agree with us!” — they’ve taken over the most prestigious science fiction awards to vote into power their slate of small-minded wingers who can’t stand that the world has become more diverse while they’ve been creating, yet again, Ayn Randian tomes where it’s one man fighting a dystopian future where capitalism and straight white guys lack the respect they deserve.

In some ways this was to be expected. Gumming up the works of any endeavor large or small — the Hugo Awards, voting rights, primary elections — has become the tactic of choice for wingnuts when they don’t get what they want.  In this case, the right-wing charge has been led by a group of discontents dubbed derisively “the Sad Puppies.”

One of the genre’s most respected novelists, George RR Martin, has weighed in with his views in an article from The Guardian by Allison Flood:

The [Hugo Awards] shortlist announcement has unleashed waves of vitriol within the science fiction community, with some nominated writers withdrawing from the shortlists. As one of the biggest names in the field, however, Martin’s comments bear particular weight. The Song of Ice and Fire novelist writes on his blog that “a wiser man would probably just keep quiet, and let this storm pass him by” because “ this is a nasty, nasty fight, and anyone who speaks up, on either side of this, risks being savaged”.

“Call it block voting. Call it ballot stuffing. Call it gaming the system. There’s truth to all of those characterisations. You can’t call it cheating, though. It was all within the rules. But many things can be legal, and still bad … and this is one of those, from where I sit. I think the Sad Puppies have broken the Hugo awards, and I am not sure they can ever be repaired,” Martin wrote.

So there you have it. What they cannot get fairly they will simply destroy.

In my mind, withdrawing your nomination in response to the takeover is tantamount to giving up. I’d stay and fight.