Media Criticism

No, a Democratic Candidate Didn't Wish Ebola on the NRA

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So, here's a headline out of the right-leaning news site Rare today: This Awful Democrat Just Wished Ebola on NRA Members. Fox News' Greta Van Susteren tweeted about the incident, which also got picked up by a bunch of smaller conservative blogs.

I cannot emphasize this enough: It's a totally bogus story.

Here's the tweet:

Twitter

The "awful Democrat" in question is Mike Dickinson. Rare's Douglas Barclay informs us that Dickinson is a "political lightweight and Virginia candidate for Congress" in the 7th district. That he is a lightweight is true: Dickinson has no political experience whatsoever. But he isn't a Democratic candidate for anything, either. The local Democratic Party has emphatically denied any association with the troll. He almost certainly has no intention of actually running for any office.

Shortly after the above tweet, Dickinson claimed Ben Franklin was a "well known pervert" with herpes, and insisted that "George Washington had several well known mistresses and was known to hit the brothel in many towns."  But thse weren't the first blaring signs of bullshit that he ever put up.

You may recall the man's last headline-making stunt a few months ago. A 19-year-old Texas cheerleader was getting flak for lion hunting in Africa, and Dickinson offered $100,000 bounty for anyone who could find nude pictures of her. Conservatives went berzerk.

Before that he appeared on Greta Van Susteren's show and declared war on Fox News. Outrage, again.

Conservatives from Sean Hannity to S.E. Cupp continue to fall for his act, but the irony is that all of Dickinson's publicity comes from appearances on conservative media. Folks like Barclay and Susteren have no one but themselves to blame for 1) not researching this goober first 2) diverting attention from real candidates and issues 3) helping him make a cool couple grand off his fake campaign.

Kudos to Dickinson, though. He actually does a service to our political system by satirizing it. The fact that someone with zero credentials can put on a suit, say a few provocative things, and let the opposite side's media do the rest is alarming. Dickinson puts up a mirror into which people from both major parties might want to look long and hard.