When I started using twitter to voice my opinion about politics this election cycle, I did my followers a favor and created a different political handle. It’s @scottlinkpol if you want to follow. I didn’t want to subject the people interested in media to my political rants.
Sunday night I was scrolling through my feed when I saw a post that made me sit up. It said “LEAKED: Trump “off the record” Interview with New York Times” and had a link to a video. If you remember a few weeks ago there was a story that Trump had spoken to the New York Times and in that interview, off the record, had indicated that he would be more flexible on the issue of immigration than his public stance would imply. This came up in a debate, and he talked around it, but refused to let the NYT release the tapes.
I admit, as an opponent of Trump’s campaign, the thought of this off the record interview dropping 2 days before Arizona and Utah vote made me smile. It would likely have a negative impact on Trump. If Trump loses AZ, momentum swings to Cruz in the campaign. This was huge news.
A few questions came to mind. What made them release this now? They had been standing on their principles of journalistic integrity before. And why was there only one guy tweeting about this? Seemed like this would have been released to every major news outlet. So, I clicked the link. Right away, things looked off. I won’t provide the link here because I don’t want to further promote a lie. You can google the title and find it.
Red Flag 1: The video of this so called leaked audio was only :57 long. And the first half was video from the debate where Trump was asked about the NYT interview. Only the last few seconds was audio of Trump talking.
Red Flag 2: The audio of Trump sounded like a phone interview, but the NYT interview was reported as an in person interview.
Red Flag 3: The Youtube channel displaying the video had 8 videos, and less than 60 subscribers. This was not a news organization. Who would ever release a news story this big in this way. On this channel?
I mentioned this to the twitter account that had been posting the video. We, and others began talking. The audio in question highlighted the flip-flop Trump has done on immigration policy, but there was no proof this was the NYT off the record interview. Meanwhile, someone else found the ACTUAL interview the audio had been taken from. It came from a news interview from 2012. You can hear it here, time marker 1:57:
Not great for a candidate that is running in deporting illegal immigrants. But also not audio from an off the record NYT interview. The video was a fake.
So I brought this to the attention of the guy who had posted it. I don’t know him. He is just someone I followed who had been posting interesting things about the election. I won’t mention his name here, you can search my twitter feed to find him. His profile says that he once infiltrated a left wing group that was trying to “take down” a right wing radio host. That he was sort of famous for that. He has a little over 100k followers. Far more than I do on any twitter account.
I assumed he had been taken in by the false video. Turns out, he didn’t care. We had an entire conversation about whether it mattered that the video was false. My position was/is that the lie about the timing of the audio (that it was from the off the record NYT interview) far overshadows the content, which was a 4 year old opinion Trump admits he changed. I said he needed to correct his twitter feed. He was talking to 100k people. Let’s get the truth out there:
He disagreed. He said this was good political strategy. It doesn’t matter when it was said (even though he had been touting the timing and “off the record” in his original post) When I defended my position, he questioned my education and told me that this was propaganda in 2016.
I signed back in with my main twitter account and saw that he had deleted his side of our conversation and posted this ominous tweet:
Yeah, I don’t have a lot of tweets or followers on my new political account. Maybe someone who claims to have infiltrated another political group is predisposed to suspect that of others. The bigger issue was that he had deleted our entire conversation. He was all about lying and sharing videos he knew were false. But he removed all the tweets that exposed his promotion of a lie.
Why is this important enough to share? It highlights a very real danger in this election. For some frustrating reason Donald Trump is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination to President. I would like for that to not be the case. I will use what little influence I have to help people see who he is and the dangers of electing someone like him to this office. I would like very much to win this battle.
What good is winning over Trump if we have to stoop to acting just like him in order to do it? What do I mean? Google “Trump Lies” and see what comes up. When I say that I will vote principle over party, I mean it. I will never vote for Trump. I don’t care who else is running. I won’t vote for Hillary either.
But my integrity is more important than beating Trump. I won’t knowingly share false information in hopes that it will lead to his failure. He has said enough things that have already disqualified him from holding this office. We don’t need to lie. And I won’t be a part of it to win.