It's been clear from the jump that we elected a Fox News Grandpa as President of the United States. But who knew his Large Adult Son, Donald Trump, Jr., was also a low-information voter content to dunk his head in a sea of bias-confirming misinformation? Well, it was always likely. But still.
Junior spent part of his weekend sharing a false meme that appeared to suggest Anderson Cooper was faking his hurricane coverage to make the storm's damage look worse. In reality, the meme was a smear on Cooper, to which the CNN host put paid to in a remarkable debunking on his show Monday night. The normally stoic Cooper seethed with anger, and seemed to relish the sensation of stomping Junior with his Fact Boots.
"The idea I am kneeling in water to make it look deep is idiotic." @AndersonCooper debunks the lies being spread by Donald Trump Jr., and others who falsely claimed he and his team exaggerated the severity of Hurricane Florence. #KeepingThemHonesthttps://t.co/j2HptrYpe0pic.twitter.com/zwfvIXCsIY
- Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) September 18, 2018
Cooper put the meme in the ground with a succession of clips tearing it apart in every aspect, starting with the fact that the photo was actually from his coverage of Hurricane Ike 10 years ago. He also explained, in excruciating detail, why he stood in the deeper part of the water and how he was transparent with his viewers at the time about the decision.
Typically, Junior responded on Twitter today by suggesting-in a series of five semi-repetitive tweets-that Cooper was "crying" about this. Of all of them, this one took the cake:
Not surprised @AC360 lied about me on @CNN last night. Par for the course. I never said the pic of him was from Florence.
When I tweeted out the picture of @AC360 it was with a link to an article about CNN's dwindling ratings. Nothing to do with Florence. https://t.co/fflwOa10GK
- Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 18, 2018
If Junior knew the photo was from 10 years ago, when Hurricane Ike struck under President George W. Bush, why would he attach it to a tweet suggesting CNN was "lying to make @realDonaldTrump look bad"? Maybe because he knew most people who saw it would assume it was from coverage of Hurricane Florence, which was dominating the news at the time. He also had no defense for his claim that the photo was evidence of "lying," when Cooper quite clearly demonstrated it was not.
Oh, and notice that Junior was very specific in this rebuttal, defending the instance where he tweeted the photo. Here's his Instagram post about it:
Are we really supposed to believe this was not supposed to depict Cooper's coverage of the current hurricane? That Junior knew it was an old photo, and that he believed his followers would know that as well when he shared it at the height of Florence coverage? As Cooper well demonstrated, and you can confirm yourself, many others sharing the photo are presenting it as Cooper's coverage of the current hurricane. There's also the strange idea Junior and his defenders are hinting at: that memes somehow don't count as misinformation, because some of them are harmless jokes. If you've spent more than a few minutes on social media you'll know many users treat them as legitimate vessels for political information. It's a cancerous feature of our discourse.
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At the very least, this shows a reckless disregard for the truth. It's an archetypal example of the current power set gleefully spreading anything if it boosts the Trump Line-which made it worth spending 10 minutes on, for which Junior and others mocked Cooper. If you needed more proof of that trend, Junior's tweets protesting Cooper's factcheck were sandwiched between links he shared to a video by Project Veritas (a right-wing "sting" group whose videos are selectively edited and frequently debunked, when the founder isn't pleading guilty to breaking into a U.S. Senator's office or getting publicly humiliated) that purported to show evidence of the Deep State conspiracy theory.
In a way, it's still disturbing to see the president's son sharing the 2018 equivalent of a chain email from your drunk uncle. Of course, it's important to remember that, despite his public face as The President's Son, Donald Trump, Jr. is 40 years old. And he's still doing shit like this:
That's his attempt to mock Brett Kavanaugh's accuser, who says the Supreme Court nominee and a friend trapped her in a room when she was 15 years old, blasted loud music while 17-year-old Kavanaugh held her down and tried to tear off her clothes, covering her mouth when she tried to scream for help. The accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, deserves to have her claims heard and put through due process. She should not be ridiculed by a stunted son desperately seeking the approval of a father who is himself a stunted son.
You'd almost feel bad for Junior if he weren't such a titanic jerk. But the man is 40 years old. He has kids. Maybe it's time to grow up-particularly because it looks more and more likely Trump the Elder is willing to throw Junior under the bus anyway. And, just in case you were wondering, the other son just gets his stupid out more quietly.
SNL has long suggested Eric is The Dumb One-which at this point would call into question whether he can tie his own shoes-but he does have one thing going for him. Unlike Junior, he's not caught up in a federal criminal probe into a possible conspiracy with agents of a hostile foreign power.
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