Fighting Against Conspiracy Theories and Misinformation in the 2016 Presidential Election

Well, I just voted and I thought I’d finally share this document I’ve been working on for about a week (really rushed through it). It is a document about the current presidential election so if you have no interest in reading about politics, stop now.

So, considering the title of this article, it is clear that I am not a fan of ridiculous conspiracy theories or using misinformation and quotes taken out of context to push some kind of agenda or opinion.

Before getting into the presidential election, let me talk about another case of misusing information to push some kind of agenda. Back in June of this year, I read an article from radaronline.com that said some awful things about Michael Jackson based on what they had gathered from the police report of the Neverland Ranch raids. This sent me some bad vibes, not about Jackson but about the article. Something just seemed off. Fortunately, the site was also nice enough to make the reports available for download so I downloaded the PDF and read the whole thing.

Yes, Michael Jackson was weird. But he didn’t do anything illegal, and the report reflects that. He had some weird art books featuring kids, much of which you can buy on Amazon, that were probably given to him by his fans. But that’s about it. The report did not back up anything the article claimed, which was where most of the misinformation about these police reports came from at the time.

Well, I’ve been getting these same bad vibes from claims I’ve heard about Hillary. To me, it seems like Trump’s entire plan in regards to Hillary has been to rely on conspiracy theories and misinformation. Not to say that all of these claims come from Trump, but he has been going along with many of them. But what can you expect from a guy whose campaign in the past has relied on his birther comments to carry it forward? Or how about his tweets saying that global warming is a Chinese hoax? Yeah, he later said he was joking, but he still sent out tweets afterwards stating that it is a hoax. I don’t see how people view him as a man who says what he means when he labels every other comment of his as a joke or a bit of sarcasm, only to then go back on that later on. There’s no consistency with him.

But whatever, the main point of this article isn’t to attack Trump but to clarify some of the many claims made regarding Hillary. Note that this isn’t some scholarly article. Just information I’ve pooled together, very quickly and sloppily. A lot of times, I just copy and pasted certain lines from the sources I found online. I didn’t keep track of the sources I used to address these claims but if you ask me to, I can look them up online and send you the URLs of the sources I used. It shouldn’t be hard to find.

So anyway, here is a list of SOME of the claims followed by some clarification:

Hillary’s mentor was a former KKK grand-wizard and she honored him with a filmed tribute when he passed.
The claim refers to former Senator Robert Byrd.
He had repeatedly apologized for his involvement with the KKK.
Even the NAACP honored Senator Byrd when he passed away. Their president stated, “Senator Byrd went from being an active member of the KKK to a being a stalwart supporter of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and many other pieces of seminal legislation that advanced the civil rights and liberties of our country.”
Also, I don’t think Byrd was a Grand Wizard... more likely some lower rank, but I’m not sure.

Another of Hillary’s mentors was Margaret Sanger, a eugenicist who wanted to rid the world of any nationality that isn’t white.
At no point has Margaret ever said anything about ridding the world of non-whites. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. received the Margaret Sanger award in 1966 and wrote:
“There is a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger’s early efforts. She, like we, saw the horrifying conditions of ghetto life. Like we, she knew that all of society is poisoned by cancerous slums. Like we, she was a direct actionist — a nonviolent resister.”
Additionally, in 1929, James H. Hubert, a black social worker and leader of New York’s Urban League, asked Sanger to open a clinic in Harlem. The clinic was approved by one of the co-founders of the NAACP, W.E.B. Du Bois.
Another point is that Margaret Sanger wasn’t entirely into eugenics. She was a proponent of negative eugenics, which aims to improve human hereditary traits through social intervention by reducing the reproduction of those who were considered unfit. But she also believed “eugenists imply or insist that a woman’s first duty is to the state; we contend that her duty to herself is her duty to the state.” She also didn’t believe in euthenasia for the unfit and she even donated to the American Council Against Nazi Propaganda, as Nazis were known to be engaging in an aggressive eugenics program.
In her letter to Clarence Gable in 1939, she wrote “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” But she didn’t say she WANTED to exterminate any black people. It’s just a quote taken out of context to push an agenda.
In my personal opinion, I think she was a little crazy. But she also happened to do very good things for the community.
Also, I doubt Sanger was a mentor of Hillary’s since Hillary was 19 when she died.
In regards to Hillary saying she admired the woman, she was once confronted by US Representative Christopher Smith who mentioned “the poor, disenfranchised, weak, disabled, a person of color (and) an unborn child are among the so-called undesirables that Sanger would exterminate from the human race.” I don’t think this guy knew what he was talking about but Hillary responded with “I admire Thomas Jefferson, his words and his leadership — and I deplore his un-repentant slave holding. I admire Margaret Sanger being a pioneer and trying to empower women to have some control over their bodies — and I deplore the statements you have referenced. That is the way we often are when we look at flawed human beings. There are things we admire, and things that we deplore.”

Hillary has ties to the witch hunt to dispel President Obama’s American heritage.
Hillary had Mark Penn on her side, who proposed attacking Obama in 2008 because of his “lack of American roots.” The record shows him stating “All of these articles about his boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii are geared towards showing his background is diverse, multicultural and putting that in a new light. Save it for 2050. It also exposes a very strong weakness for him—his roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited. I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values.” He did not, however, suggest that Hillary begin questioning in public whether or not Obama was born in the US. Either way, Hillary did not go this negative route in her campaign.
According to an April 2011 Politico article by Ben Smith and Byron Tau, the birtherism movement came from an anonymous e-mail from Clinton’s supporters. But earliest mention of Obama’s heritage can be found in a March 2008 message board post on conservative site freerepublic.com. That rumor was repeated four days later on conservative blog Ruthless Roundup.

Hillary appropriated $20,000 for access to a white-only golf course.
Generally, when you use the term “appropriate,” it means you’re taking something for your own use, typically without the owner’s permission. But not always. So just to be clear, it was Bill Clinton and he used his own money. When interviewed in a NYT article in 1992, Bill said, “A guy asked me to play nine holes of golf... It was the only place we had time to play. I should not have done it.”
A May 1992 Arkansas Times article states “According to several current members—none of whom would speak for attribution—members Walter Hussman, publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and Bill Bowen, Clinton’s stateside chief of staff, are in the process of sponsoring a local black man for membership.” Additionally, “Membership is limited to 500 ‘active’ members, so even after approval, new members may have to wait for a spot to come open.”
I couldn’t really find more information about the Country Club of Little Rock beyond that...

Hillary mocked the accents of a crowd of black people.
She was actually just reciting lyrics from some gospel music by Reverend James Cleveland... Some fake social justice warriors, such as the people who made this claim, have called Hillary racist for this act but really, they’re just being ignorant. Here’s the video:


Hillary told a Black Lives Matter supporter that she would “talk only to white people.”
The BLM supporter said “If you don’t tell black people what we need to do, then we won’t tell you what you need to do.”
“If that is your position, I will talk only to white people about how we are going to deal with very real problems.”
It’s a quote taken completely out of context and I think she worded it that way not to say that she really means to only talk to white people but to show the BLM supporter that what he appears to be suggesting is not a good idea. That is my opinion on the matter. You can watch the video here:


Hillary has likened people of urban culture to dogs.
This is in reference to a speech Hillary made in 1996 where she was talking about gangs of young people committing crimes. She referred to them as “super-predators” without empathy, a view from the 90s held by politicians from both parties, and invented by researchers from the 90s, that has since been abandoned, and said “we have to bring them to heel.” She was definitely in the wrong for those 1996 comments. She has stated she regretted using those words and has disavowed much of the 1994 crime law the speech was in reference to. It should be noted that although the crime law affected mostly African Americans, Hillary’s comments did not single out African Americans.

Hillary has referred to women who have upset her personal relationships as “trailer trash.”
The closest thing to a source that can be cited to back up this claim is Carl Bernstein’s “A Woman in Charge,” (2007) where he claims Hillary called Gennifer Flowers, one of Bill’s accusers (who he admitted to having relations with in 1998), and no one else, “trailer trash.” In the book, Carl brings this up when referring to the Clintons’s 1992 interview on 60 Minutes. I haven’t been able to find anything on record.

Hillary accepted campaign contributions from countries that treat women and homosexuals poorly.
The Clinton Foundation has taken money from countries like Saudi Arabia. However, Hillary did not get this money, much less for her campaign (political candidates cannot use money from foreign entities).

Hillary’s closest aide, Huma Abedin, strongly opposed female equality up until recently.
This claim is based on Huma’s work as assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, a scholarly journal launched in London that the New York Post has described as a “radical Muslim publication.” Experts on Islam and the members of the journal’s advisory board have called this claim “ridiculous.”
Abedin has denied doing any actual editing for the journal, even though she was listed, along with her siblings, as staff members. Their mother is the head editor and the director of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs.

In 2010, Hillary steered construction bids in Haiti after a major earthquake to her business friends. Those friends under-delivered, pocketed the difference, and left Haiti further in debt.
Regarding steering contracts to friends of the Clintons, I believe this is based on a claim that ABC News had learned through a freedom of information request that the State Department, under Hillary, engaged in this activity. However, ABC News actually reported that the State Department worked with the Clinton Foundation to help friends of Bill Clinton who were offering help or seeking assistance in the days immediately following the earthquake. Providing assistance isn’t the same as directing contracts specifically to friends of Bill, a claim that is not backed by any evidence.
As for under-delivering, the Clinton Foundation and the Bush-Clinton Haiti Fund raised a lot of money to aid Haiti with rebuilding but from what I’ve read online, the results of reconstruction efforts haven’t been great for the most part.

Hillary joked about using government resources to murder someone who’s against her.
This claim is in reference to the line “Can’t we just drone this guy?” made by Hillary, in jest, regarding Julian Assange. This is nothing more than a claim made by unknown sources and reported by truepundit.com. There is no evidence to back it up. None that I have seen, at least.

During a speech to businessmen and businesswomen, Hillary said, “I’m kind of far removed from the struggles of the middle class.”
This is in reference to a speech Hillary made to some Wall Street firms. This quote, as I’ve seen often online, is incorrect. A larger, unedited, quote from this 2014 speech at Goldman-Black Rock is here:
“We had good public schools. We had accessible health care. We had our little, you know, one-family house that, you know, he saved up his money, didn’t believe in mortgages. So I lived that. And now, obviously, I’m kind of far removed because the life I’ve lived and the economic, you know, fortunes that my husband and I now enjoy, but I haven’t forgotten it.”
The full, proper quote paints a different picture compared to the edited, misleading quote.

Hillary helped the rapist of a 12-year-old girl get out of jail on reduced sentencing. She later laughed about it during a recorded interview.
Hillary was recommended to the judge on the case to serve as the lawyer for a 41-year-old man accussed of raping a 12-year-old girl. Hillary told the judge she was uncomfortable with the case and wanted to be removed from it but the judge denied this request. She was obligated, as a professional lawyer, to defend this man to the best of her ability. The result, after prosecutors had botched evidence in the case, was the defendant agreeing to a plea deal where he would plead guilty to a lesser count of fondling of a minor. This deal included a five-year sentence, of which the judge suspended four years and then allowed two months credit of time already served towards the remaining year. So the defendant only served 10 months. Sgt. Dale Gibson, the department’s lead investigator, said that it was both the complainant and her mother who were pushing for a plea deal. 2014 statistics show that 97% of criminal cases, including rape, are resolved with a plea bargain and the ratio of plea bargains to trials was similar in 1970.
As for her laughing about it during a recorded interview, the claim seems to imply that Hillary was laughing about letting an accused child rapist get out of jail on reduced sentencing. From what I’ve heard, it seems more like Hillary was laughing about specific aspects of the case, such as the reliability of polygraphs and the judge hiding details of the case from her, a woman, even though she was the defendant’s lawyer.

Hillary instigated the suicide of Vincent Foster.
Former FBI agents Coy Copeland and Jim Clemente claimed that Hillary ridiculed Foster in a White House meeting and that following that event, Foster’s behavior changed. A week later, on July 20, 1993, Foster shot himself.
The case was investigated by Kenneth Starr. His final report on the death of Foster consisted of two volumes, was 137 pages, and discounted the claims made by these two agents. Other investigations (there were 5, the fifth one lasting a few years) don’t seem to mention these claims either, as far as I know. It probably doesn’t carry much weight.

One of Hillary’s aides, Patrick Kennedy, “pressured” the FBI to downgrade the classification of one of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails as part of a “quid pro quo” last year.
The FBI denies that any “quid pro quo” was offered. John Kirby, the State Department spokesman, said, “Not only is there no proof. It’s absolutely not true, a completely false allegation. It just didn’t happen that way... There was no bargain sought by the FBI. There was no bargain rendered. This was simply an inner agency conversation about the classification over one particular email. So there was no wrongdoing here.”

Hillary supports NAFTA.
The NAFTA agreement goes back to the 1992 presidential campaign when Bill Clinton ran against incumbent President George H.W. Bush. On Aug. 12 of that year, Bush finished negotiating NAFTA with Mexico and Canada. During the campaign, Bill Clinton said he would support NAFTA if elected, but would demand supplemental agreements to protect worker rights, the environment and sudden import surges. Today, Hillary Clinton’s campaign Web site says that NAFTA has not lived up to its promises. At a debate hosted by CNN in November 2007, Clinton said, “NAFTA was a mistake to the extent that it did not deliver on what we had hoped it would, and that’s why I call for a trade timeout.”

So that’s all I could muster for these claims against Hillary.

I would also like to direct you to factcheck.org, which reviews false claims made by both Clinton and Trump and reveals the truth, with sources, for these claims. You could browse the whole site if you wanted but I’d specifically look at their reviews of the three presidential debates.

The two made the following number of claims that were either deemed false or no evidence was available to back them up (the numbers include claims that were repeated from prior debates and at other times).

First presidential debate http://www.factcheck.org/2016/09/factchecking-the-first-debate/
Trump: around 12
Clinton: around 4

Second presidential debate http://www.factcheck.org/2016/10/factchecking-the-second-presidential-debate/
Trump: around 15
Clinton: around 5

Third presidential debate http://www.factcheck.org/2016/10/factchecking-the-final-presidential-debate-2/
Trump: around 16
Clinton: around 5

Also, I should note that clearly, Hillary, who has been in politics for a long time now, has made misleading or regrettable comments throughout the years, such as her “bring them to heel” comment in 1996. But she isn’t spouting misinformation at the rate Trump has been.

The last thing I should say is to vote for who you want to vote for. But keep in mind that if you vote for Trump, you’re voting for a guy who gets his facts wrong (he at least makes incorrect claims about three times as often as his main opposition, if we’re looking at the debates), has no real experience in politics, and uses misinformation and conspiracy theories to get voters on his side.

Don’t let conspiracy theories get the best of you. We’re all better than that.

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Edit (11/1/2016): I suppose it’s only fair to point out that conspiracy theories have also come from Hillary. Saying that Trump has some close ties with Russia can be considered one. I haven’t really looked it up too much. However, it is true that the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security are both pretty confident that Russia was behind the hacks. That in itself does not mean Trump is in cahoots with Russia or anything. There’s still no evidence of that, that I’ve seen.

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