Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Foul Facebook falsehoods about Fauci

I’m going to sit down and send a week’s pay to the folks at Snopes so they can continue the Lord’s work of using research and facts the rest of us are too lazy to mess with to combat the spread of misinformation on the internet.

As Snopes might say: The above paragraph is partly true and partly not or MIXTURE as they put it. The true part is I’m going to send them a donation and the less true part is it will be a week’s pay. I mean, I like them and all, but I’m not made of money. (TRUE)

I’m particularly high on Snopes these days because you can practically hear them sighing deeply before they seek to explain how “Fauci’s Experiments With Puppies Caged With Sandflies That Ate Them Alive” isn’t completely, or even mostly, the truth. I won’t get into why that headline is horrendously inaccurate and misleading because all y’all got the Google and I have a 650-word limit so let’s move on.

Context. It’s everything but it’s gone missing. We need to work to find context like it was a sorority girl who disappeared on a fruity island over break.

The recent screeching about Fauci personally ripping the vocal cords out of beagles in a research lab is designed to get people fired up and clicking and sharing and all the other learned behaviors we now find as natural as breathing.

I blame Facebook. Because…why not? Poor ol’ Facebook. Zuck’s feeling like a banjo cuz everybody’s picking on him. But between Facebook, Twitter and the rest we have been conditioned to like and share anything that jibes with our personal agenda. It’s enough to make you miss the good ol’ days when you asked the youngest person in the household what a cursor was and why must it blink all the time.

When something appears in our news feed that seems suspicious, we should pay attention to our gut. Sometimes, to be fair, our gut is wrong, and the thing is true. It’s like the first time you went to a fancy restaurant and they brought mayonnaise for your French fries. Remember how your face looked? All scrunched up like, “this can’t be right.” but it WAS! Now you don’t even think it’s weird. (TRUE) You even ask for mayo sometimes with your fries. (TRUE) And you almost always mispronounce aioli. (TRUE AGAIN)

The hue and cry over Fauci as beagle abuser is a good example of a half-truth covered in a toxic mix of toppings that are way false. Cue outrage! Although you should temper this with the fact that animal trials are responsible for every significant medical advance in human history.

Just last month, a pig kidney was transplanted to a woman on life support and functioned perfectly. Nearly half the human patients waiting for a transplant become too sick or die before receiving one. (TRUE) Are we understandably conflicted about this but ultimately realize the benefit to human lives outweighs the reluctance to use animals? (MIXTURE)

Poor Facebook has decided a name change to “Meta” will fix it all but in the very wise tweet-words of @BoogFinkelstein: “They can call it whatever they want to as long as I can still see what the dumpy kid from 7th grade social studies is having for dinner and all 238 pics of my third cousin’s baby in the same pose.” Preach, Boog.

You can change the name of Facebook but it’s still the same thing. We have to figure out a way to ask, every single time, “Who is reporting this?” “Is this a reliable source with no hidden agenda?” “Should I spread this story unvetted just so I seem relevant?”

Zuck and mind-boggling greed may have gotten us into this mess, but context will help us get out. (TRUE)

Celia Rivenbark is a New York Times bestselling author and columnist. Write her at [email protected].

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