In Donald Trump’s America, the truth seems to matter less and less. Trump himself bears a large degree of blame for this phenomenon. As a conspiracy theorist and constant liar, misrepresenting facts is his bread and butter. Sadly, his followers are no different. They will push conspiracies to the point of cruelty.
In yet another example of the credulousness of his followers, Trump supporters have been widely sharing an easily-debunked hoax Facebook status, purportedly belonging to the widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson. You may have seen the following bit of fake news somewhere in your social media feeds today:
Myeshia Johnson never wrote this post.
In fact, as Snopes points out, it’s easy to confirm the status is not real. According to the fake post, the status was written at 3:27 PM. That’s more than an hour before the phone call took place. Also, Facebook profile pictures are no longer square in that display and have not been for some time. Any of this is easily verifiable by anybody with an internet connection and a few spare minutes.
‘A phone call from President Donald Trump to Johnson is at the center of what has become a public dispute between Johnson and the Trump administration. But the validity of the screenshot is doubtful.
‘While the date of the post corresponds with that of the 17 October 2017 condolence call, the time listed is actually more than an hour before the reported time of President Trump’s phone call, which was 4:45 p.m. Eastern time.
‘Also, the picture shows a Facebook profile bearing a square profile picture. But the social media site implemented an update in August 2017 that changed the shape of users’ profile pictures in the Facebook newsfeed from square to round[.]’
Yet that doesn’t stop Trump supporters from sharing it. Even when undeniable evidence is presented, they refuse to acknowledge the obvious: This image was created to feed confirmation bias and is not true.
Exchanges such as this one are all too common:
In reality, the family of Sgt. La David Johnson is decidedly with Rep. Wilson (D-FL). That’s why she was present during the phone call with Trump in the first place. That’s why after Trump called her a liar, the family spoke up on her behalf. The White House shut up on that point, instead using Chief of Staff John Kelly to lie about her publicly regarding other issues, in order to try and shift criticism toward the congresswoman.
It’s also why she attended the funeral. And that’s why she did not continue the feud, while Trump did, even on the day of his funeral. So much for respecting our servicemembers. To her, Sgt. Johnson and his family are her constituents, people she is responsible for. Their pain is shared by her (obviously not to the same degree). To Trump, it’s all just politics and opportunity. Fallen soldiers are props to be used as a weapon to attack political opponents with. To him, you’re not an American if he didn’t get your vote, and you’re not worthy of any degree of respect unless you’re licking his boots.
Featured image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images