Fake news is dangerous to democracy.
Like any form of propaganda, it preys on the ignorance of its readers, appeals to their preconceived notions, and blurs the line between truths and lies. The keyboard warriors who hide their identities behind their computer screens as they try to promote their own objectives and mislead the public are the worst kind of liars.
Fake news has become so common on Facebook these days that it never really shocks me anymore. While I will occasionally bother to un-follow an individual or group page that shares fake news, most days I simply ignore it. Not today.
This morning, a Facebook page called the “Hanover Young Republicans” was brought to my attention. What I soon discovered was an embarrassingly extensive web lies spun by a member of the Hanover County Republican Party.
These so-called “Hanover YRs” took to their Facebook page this morning in order to attack Hanover’s elected representatives and Republican leadership in the General Assembly for not responding to an email sent to them on August 17, 2017. The email in question outlined concerns regarding contradicting statements made by the Governor’s Office and the VA State Police regarding police action during the violent Charlottesville protests. The email also asks whether or not the legislator intends on calling for hearings over the dispute.
The post then proceeds to berate these elected officials for not responding to the original email or follow-up email, before questioning whether or not Delegate Buddy Fowler and Delegate Chris Peace “deserve to be re-elected”.
“Both of Hanover’s delegates, Fowler and Peace are running for re-election. They want your vote and say things publically to give the appearance of wanting to represent you. Personally I find them no different than the members of congress that said for years ‘repeal and replace’ and after winning control over the house, senate and presidency, have done nothing. If they only care about re-election, do they deserve to be re-elected?”
I’m sorry… what?
First off, Delegate Peace’s office did, in fact, respond to the email — written by Hanover GOP member Daryl Carr — letting him know that Delegate Peace was out of town and would respond when he returned.
The record needs to be set straight about the credibility of this so-called YR group.
They are not affiliated with the Young Republican Federation of Virginia (YRFV) or the Young Republican National Federation (YRNF) in any way, shape, or form. I know this because I happen to sit on YRFV’s Executive Board as their statewide Secretary. Hanover County is within the Greater Richmond Young Republican chapter’s member territory.
The trademark for the term “Young Republicans” is owned by the YRNF, so any unauthorized use of the term is trademark infringement. As an unaffiliated organization, the “Hanover Young Republicans” cannot legally call their organization the “Young Republicans”, unless, of course, they become chartered by YRFV. However, if the “Hanover Young Republicans” were actually a legitimate, charted YR club, they would also know that opposing the election of Republican candidates puts them in direct violation of RPV’s party plan.
I am very committed to “growing the GOP younger” and would never discourage young grassroots conservatives from organizing. That’s why I messaged the Facebook group and asked for the contact information of the group’s chairman in order to discuss their involvement.
They have not responded.
Next, I reached out to Republicans in Hanover County to see if anybody knew anything about the “Hanover Young Republicans”, learning that it was first formed back in 2014, but that its founders are no longer involved. Then multiple sources informed me that the current “Hanover Young Republicans” Facebook page is not run by actual young conservatives, but by baby boomers.
While the Hanover Young Republicans page does not identify their leadership, evidence hinting at their identity surfaced in a closed Facebook group, when a post identical to the one found of the Hanover Young Republican page was discovered on the closed “Hanover Residents (Va.) group, posted by the same Hanover GOP member who authored the referenced email. And no, this individual is not a YR.
Apparently truth and transparency become null and void when the self-righteous stand on their soapboxes. The Hanover County GOP should not tolerate this type of dishonest behavior from false Republicans within their committee who openly violate the RPV Party Plan by opposing our duly nominated candidates for public office.
There is no place in the Republican Party for such deceitful, childish ploys. We need to be better than this. We need to focus on winning elections.
What we don’t need is more #FakeNews.