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Israel Attacked: Pushing Back on Right Wing Disinfo
The GOP and the MAGA media are spreading bad information about the terrorist attacks in Israel.
Within minutes of circulating the first images of the horrific Hamas-led terrorist attack on Israel, the Right Wing disinformation apparatus sprung into action. Right Wing accounts began spreading false information to score political points against President Biden and the Democrats. Donald Trump and the other Republican candidates are weaponizing the information as it spreads like wildfire across social media.
Fast-moving, real-time events are the most fertile ground for disinformation and propaganda. The public is tuned in, the traditional media hasn’t yet had time to get all the facts, and people are sharing information without context or confirmation. The problem worsened after platforms conceded to wave the white flag against stopping disinformation. Elon Musk encouraged his 159 million followers to get their opinions from an account that has spread anti-Semitic disinformation.
With reports that American citizens may be among the victims and hostages, the ongoing conflict will dominate the political conversation for the foreseeable future.
The disinformation problem that was so bad in 2016 and 2020 will be much worse in 2024. Democratic campaigns and progressive media must play a major role in fighting back. Providing information to my readers so they can push back on Right-Wing BS to the people in their lives is going to be a major priority for Message Box this election cycle. Here is some advice to help you push back on the current Right Wing talking points.
If you find this post helpful, please share it with your network.
1. Good Information for Context
President Biden delivered a statement from the White House on Saturday, laying out his Administration’s response. The statement is strong and worth sharing with people in your network.
My Crooked Media colleagues Tommy Vietor and Ben Rhodes recorded an emergency episode of Pod Save the World that helps explain what is happening, how the U.S. is responding, and providing factual pushback against Right Wing lies.
Here is a statement from the Israeli Prime Minister thanking President Biden for his support:
2. The U.S. Did NOT Fund the Attack
As part of a recent deal to bring home U.S. citizens imprisoned in Iran, the United States unfroze $6 billion and struck an agreement with Iran to bring American prisoners home. Republican politicians and MAGA media accounts used this fact to claim that the Biden Administration funded the attack.
This claim is not true. The money is earmarked for humanitarian assistance and every penny of it remains in the bank account in Doha. But don’t take my word for it. Here is Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin pushing back on the false claims circulating on her own network:
The $6 billion is still currently held in a Qatari bank account with U.S. Treasury oversight, I’m told. The money came from Iranian oil sales to South Korea and did not include U.S. taxpayer dollars. NK spokesperson Adrian Watson said in a statement, ‘Not a single cent from these funds has been spent and when it is spent it can only be spent on things like food and medicine for the Iranian people. These funds have absolutely nothing to do with the horrific attacks today, and this is not the time to spread disinformation.’ In fact, the US has pre-positioned $2 billion worth of weapons stored in Israel. I’m told the US will likely release some of these pre-positioned weapons to assist Israel in the coming days.
3. U.S. Weapons were NOT Used
On Sunday morning, Donald Trump Jr. and others shared a photo as “proof” that the U.S. weapons abandoned in Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrawal were used in the attack.
This claim is also false. The photo being circulated is from 2021, not 2023; it was taken in Afghanistan, not Israel, and the people in the photo are members of the Taliban not Hamas.
It is clear that the Republicans see a ripe political opportunity to paint President Biden as weak. And it is also clear that we must push back on the flood of disinformation.