April 11, 2022

478: The Gaslighting of the "Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy" Conference (with Arthur Long)

The best way to combat real disinformation is not gate-keeping and algorithmic censorship. It’s asking tough questions and having real conversations.


"The best way to combat real disinformation is not gate-keeping and algorithmic censorship. It’s asking tough questions and having real conversations."

 

On today's episode of The Brian Nichols Show, Arthur Long of The Chicago Thinker joins the program to discuss the “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy” conference and how The Chicago Thinker smoked some of "the most trusted names in news".

 

From The Chicago Thinker:

"This week, the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics (IOP) and The Atlantic magazine hosted a “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy” conference, and we have to hand it to IOP Director David Axlerod for bringing in true experts on the subject. The conference featured some of America’s greatest purveyors of disinformation, such as Barack Obama, Brian Stelter, Anne Applebaum, and a few token conservatives, including Jonah Goldberg and Adam Kinzinger

The media, government, and academia elites speaking at the conference weren’t expecting to be challenged as they self-righteously spewed more lies—but our team at the Chicago Thinker was prepared to hold them accountable. 

Student journalists from the Chicago Thinker respectfully listened, asked honest questions, and reported. Our efforts soon went viral, garnering millions of views on social media. We successfully turned the IOP’s “Disinformation Conference” on its head and sparked a national conversation about the corporate media’s disinformation. 

If this week has taught us anything, it’s that the regime media is incredibly fragile. If a couple hard-hitting questions from college students can rattle the elites to such a degree, just think what would happen if our peers at other universities follow our lead.

Here’s how we smoked some of America’s most corrupt, partisan liars."

 

 

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Transcript

Brian Nichols  
Voting on winning arguments. We're teaching the basic fundamentals of sales and marketing and how we can use them to win in the world of politics, teaching you how to meet people where they're at on the issues they care about. Welcome to The Brian Nichols Show. Well, happy Monday there, folks, Brian, you're on The Brian Nichols Show. Thank you for joining us on of course, another fun filled episode is always your humble host. And today, we're gonna be talking about a topic of conversation that's been sweeping the internet, especially over the past few days if you missed it. We have our guests today, Arthur long. He's joining us from Chicago. And specifically, he's gonna be talking to us today about the disinformation conference that just took place. And how a bunch of student activists were able to poke holes in some of the largest corporate media entities out there just by asking a few simple questions, Arthur long Welcome to The Brian Nichols Show. Hey, Brian,

Arthur Long  
thanks so much for having me on today.

Brian Nichols  
You got it, Arthur. Well, hey, let's dig into this because I'm just astonished. I saw this tweet thread you did hear back on. It was April 8. So we've been Thursday, Friday, Friday, and like I can do math. And you said over the past 72 hours Chicago thinkers, student journalists have eviscerated the mainstream media and you Chai politics, which is the University of Chicago Institute for politics, and their disinformation conference in the thread. You talk about how David Axelrod, who's a Senior Advisor for Obama, he gets eviscerated. You have let's see Anna Applebaum. She gets eviscerated our good friend, Brian Stelter, we have Jonah Goldberg and a bunch of other who are promoted to be these titans of corporate media truth and honesty, Arthur, all of a sudden, a couple of just basic questions from from college kids made some some very famous and powerful people look a little silly. But before we get there, let's introduce you to The Brian Nichols Show audience, obviously, you know, they're looking to get to know who you are. So let's give you a chance here. Introduce yourself to the audience. And how did you find yourself here in this position where your organization over at the Chicago thinker are now all of a sudden, embroiled in one of the biggest media controversies over the past few years?

Arthur Long  
Sure. So thanks again for having me on, Brian. I'm a second year at the University of Chicago. That's our fancy way of saying, sophomore, I'm from New York City in New York. I lived there for 16 years. And now I live just outside the city. So I'm not new to mainstream politics and the liberal media. But I joined the Chicago thinker, which is the university's conservative and libertarian newspaper, because I care about the truth. And our our motto is out think the mob, and what you see on college campuses across the country, and you see it in the mainstream media is this group think, and this mobs pushing one narrative and one agenda. So I became a staff writer at the Chicago thinker, just to challenge that a little bit. And there's usually just one narrative on these college campuses across the country. And that's what you saw this disinformation conference, David Axelrod, who was a senior adviser to President Obama, he invited all these professors in big academia, big mainstream media, and big governments come and talk about disinformation. And they thought it was gonna be this three day echo chamber for the narratives that they continually push. And what ended up happening was three of my colleagues who were covering the event, asked some real tough questions. And that's what we do here is we think critically, we care about the truth, which unfortunately, not many in the mainstream media do anymore. And they were not well equipped to handle those questions.

Brian Nichols  
So I saw this, this post over the weekend. And it was talking about how Ben Shapiro really made his career of going to college campuses and just exposing leftist myths by just just by answering them in such a blunt and obvious matter of fact, ways when the questions were posing, you hear that the insanity and a lot of the questions that were posed to not just Ben Shapiro, but that was the kind of thing right that Ben Shapiro destroys. That was the big YouTube that would get you a million clicks you put a Ben Shapiro destroys video up oh my god, your YouTube career is set. But what's funny is what you guys just showed is the exact opposite in this case, where rather a bunch of college kids just by doing the journalists job better than they are now are exposing the hypocrisy at the corporate level. So we saw this you know that what was happening behind the walls of academia, you know, I'm obviously older than you are, and I saw it back when I was in college. I'm sure you're seeing it. You Even more so right now, which we're probably gonna dig into later in the episode. But it is interesting to see that now we can really have it on full display where Mike to quote Michael, Michael Scott, my mind my how the turntables you're really seeing now an opportunity for us to just show you the highlight and showcase the the hypocrisy, the the blatant. And I think this is the part that is driving the most people crazy. The blatant gaslighting being told what is misinformation when in to the point that the number one question that was raised was about the censorship of the Hunter Biden emails on behalf of the New York Post they go out they have an article that could literally change the election based on Hunter Biden's laptop being found and having some very damning emails that talked about phobic guy, and all of a sudden that conversation not only cannot be talked about, it can't be shared. If you do you're gonna get suspended on social media, but that's not disinformation know what an ant Applebaum say? I'm sorry. It's totally irrelevant. I don't think I found it. Interesting. Arthur, what are your thoughts there?

Arthur Long  
Right. It's ridiculous. And this is what where the epoxy is is libertarian conservative. right of center speakers come to college campuses, they get shouted down, they don't even have an opportunity to speak. But when these media luminaries, these corporate journalists come and they speak at you Chicago, all we want to do is debate ideas. We want to talk about what the truth is, you're gonna have an honest, disciplined conversation, but what's actually occurring, and you saw that we asked honest questions about Hunter Biden's laptop and and Applebaum just completely avoided it. She said it she didn't think it was irrelevant. She didn't think it was relevant. She didn't find it interesting. And then, Jonah Goldberg, he responded to my thread on Twitter, and he called the question trollish, who is not a troll, it's question my colleague, Daniel Schmidt as a well documented honest question that 16% of voters said that they might have voted differently if they knew who was going on. And then he, Jonah Goldberg went on further to say that my publication newspaper, I'm part of the Chicago thinker, were too thirsty. And what I'd say to John Goldberg is, the only thing We're thirsty for is the truth. We're parched of the truth in mainstream journalism. And if Jonah and his friends at MSNBC and CNN did their job and reporting on the facts, then we wouldn't have this, this issue. But the real problem is these these journalists, and you know, these politicians, they operate in this echo chamber, where it's just one narrative, and they don't know how to respond, and they don't have any commitment to the truth, which should be the foundation of all journalism.

Brian Nichols  
Yeah. And what we're going to do here, I'm actually going to, I'm glad you brought up our good friend Jonah Goldberg, because there are a lot of libertarians who give him a little bit too much love and I am not here for it because he, I would say is much in this camp of creating the narrative and then refusing to respond to anything but his narrative. And and this was seen in one of the clips here that you guys shared, I'm gonna go ahead and we're gonna share our screen here. Now, mind you, this is a live folks. So hopefully, we're not going to mess things up too much here. Right? Standby. Okay, so here's our good friend Jonah Goldberg, saying that he doesn't buy that the Hunter Biden laptop cover up had any impact on the 2020 election and that it was, quote, a preposterous counterfactual, take a lesson,

Unknown Speaker  
talking about a to see, they now think that if only the media had told us about the laptop at the time, as the kid yesterday was suggesting, which I don't buy, as, you know, theory that Trump would have won, you know, but for the censoring of the New York Post, Trump would have won. And it's I think it's a preposterous counterfactual. But it's also it's impossible for me to refute in the same way I cannot refute that this bottle is keeping all the polar bears away. Right. I mean, do you see any polar bears? I cannot I cannot prove a negative and and this is just the it has now become? Can we lock the doors? It has been wrapped into a much larger narrative. And and so when they hear disinformation that Oh, you mean like Hunter lie on top, which actually turned out to be true.

Brian Nichols  
And that right there is what drives me crazy, Arthur, because going back to my point, he has created the narrative. Well, this would not have had an impact and that it's it's a proposed Posterous counterfactual. And he's basically now in turn creating an unfalsifiable claim because not only can you not prove that would have had a direct impact, but he can't prove it wouldn't have. So the exact opposite is true and The fact that he can't get out of his own ivory tower and come down with us plebes and see how just insane that this conversation looks like to your average person. And I know that the people that are listening to him must be, you know, just just resounding applause because he's speaking truth where it needs to be spoken. And yet, is it truth? Or is it? Dare I say misinformation?

Arthur Long  
Right? No, Brian, you're entirely right. And that's one of my big issues with all this is just the the elitism and the pompous tone that all of these journalists came and spoke with at this conference. And you've spoken before on your podcast, about two things that I really want to touch on when it comes to journalism and media. The first is empathy. None of us are perfect, we're going to make mistakes, particularly in the world of news. It moves very quickly, and it's possible to write something report on something that ends up not being true. That's okay, it happens. But it seems that nobody in the mainstream media wants to be honest, and is humble enough to admit their faults. And the second thing I think you touched on this on a recent episode of yours is convictions. People have lost trust in the media, because lots of the media personalities they see are devoid of any conviction. They don't have any commitments of truth. It's everything is seen through a partisan lens, and they're trying to push a certain political point. So I think if we saw, you know, a return of honesty of admitting to your own mistakes, and some journalists who had some convictions and who are grounded in the truth, we'd see a restoration of the public's trust. But until that happens, and this elitism continues to rain, I don't think that's going to happen.

Brian Nichols  
Well, let's go over to the man who I've heard has the most reliable of sources one, Brian Stelter, because he was confronted in terms of Well, you see this, this reoccurring issue where a story will be put out by I don't know, CNN, they will run with a narrative and it happens to be a very anti conservative or just anybody right of center piece. And then you'll have this narrative, make the news headlines for 3456 days, and then all sudden, it's found not to be true, and then it quietly is retracted, and nothing is said. And it just seems to be coincidentally this is all happening on one side of the political aisle. Let's take a listen.

Unknown Speaker  
list. And yes, they dismissed the Hunter Biden laptop state. I name is Christopher Phillips. I'm a first year at the college. My question is for Mr. Salter. You've all spoken extensively about Fox News being a purveyor of disinformation. But CNN is right up there with them. They push the Russian collusion hoax, they push the Jussie Smollett hoax, they smear justice Cavanaugh as a rapist, and they also smear Nick Salman as a white supremacist. And yes, they dismissed the Hunter Biden laptop affair as pure Russian disinformation. With mainstream corporate journalists becoming little more than apologists and cheerleaders for the regime. Is it time to finally declare that the the canon of journalistic ethics is dead or no longer operative? All the mistakes of the mainstream media and CNN in particular, seem to magically all go in one direction? Are we expected to believe that this is all just some sort of random coincidence? Or is there something else behind it?

Brian Nichols  
Now, I probably wouldn't have asked the question that way, Arthur, to be candid, however, I'll appreciate the question being asked to Brian Stelter of all people. So I just wanted to say folks that maybe you can reframe that right. But I think for the point being proven here that the the response that elicits from Brian, Brian Stelter, definitely worth it.

Unknown Speaker  
Too bad sign for lunch. 30 seconds, there's a there's a clock that says 30 seconds. But But I think my honest answer to you and I will come over and talk in more detail after this is that I think you're describing a different channel than the one that I watch. But I understand that that is a popular right wing narrative about CNN. I think it's important, we're talking about shared reality and democracy, all these networks, all these news outlets have to defend democracy. And when they screw up, admit it. But when Benjamin Hall, the fox correspondent was wounded in Ukraine, the news crews that CNN and the New York Times stopped what they were doing, and they tried to help. They tried to help him get out of the country. They tried to find the dead crew members. That's what news outlets do. That's how they actually do work together to your question about sharing those kinds of connections and trust. We don't talk about it enough, though. We don't share that reality about how that happens. And with regards to the regime, I think you mean President Biden. Last time I spoke with a Biden aide, we yelled at each other. So that's the reality of the news business that people don't see that people don't hear. They imagine that it's a situation that simply is not, but I think your question, it speaks to the failure of journalism to show our work and show them reality of how our profession operates. We have a lot of work to do. I think it's

Brian Nichols  
all our fault, but it's not my fault. That's what I heard at least. So yeah, we have a particularly tan. Brian Stelter, I think he took the the Trump tanning regimen here. Very orange. But he was talking about that that argument, Arthur, it's a popular right wing sentiment. Is it though?

Arthur Long  
No, it's not. And you're right. It seems like Brian's spent a lot of time in a Chicago tanning salon before this event, but it's not. And this is the issue is Fox News. Fox News isn't innocent, either. Fox News makes mistakes too. But this was a perfect opportunity for Brian to take a moment and say, Look, we messed up, we did make these mistakes. And And would that would have done is would have restored some faith. He always talks about restoring faith in media, we've all this work to do. Do your job, do it correctly, apologize and take some responsibility when you mess up. And that's how you're going to restore this faith. Not by saying it's a popular right wing narrative. No, it's the truth. And that's what people want. They don't want to hear about you reaching out to journalists in Ukraine. And then if I were yelling at a Biden aide, they want to know about the truth. So I think if Brian really just took the opportunity there and said, Hey, look, we messed up, we're trying to do a better job, it would have been a lot better for him. But instead, he kicked the can down the road. And I refuse to really answer the question

Brian Nichols  
all and not only did he refuse to answer the question, but and I think the audience saw this as well. I was kind of teasing at it that he he started out by saying, well, by the way, his voice, the inflection just makes my skin crawl because everything just sounds like the upward inflection at the end of the sentence. And I just, but also, like, he starts out saying that, well, it must be the channel that you're watching is a different channel than I watch. And then he concludes by saying, but it's us the fault of the journalist that we haven't done a good job. And then it's like, Well, is it the channel that you watch them that's also not doing a good job? And again, it goes back to well, there's a problem, but it's not me. It's like it's a morbidly obese person. Now, I can say that as a former 385 pound guy, like I can do this. But like, it's very easy to be like, well, it's not my fault. It's genetics. Like that's, yeah, that's an easy cop out or I'm big boned. That was always a fun one. But the reality is, no, you're putting too much food in your mouth, Brian, stop doing that. And that was the the moment where you start to see, ah, an epiphany things change. And it's sad, because are things going to change in the world of CNN. I highly doubt it. But then also take it a step further. And we're going to talk about the second part of this in terms of how it's impacted you directly, but talk about an era of COVID where the word disinformation health misinformation has been tossed around so loosely, especially by not only members of the administration, but also elected officials. And we have Senator Amy Klobuchar, who she refuses to define what disinformation is at a disinformation conference. Take a listen.

Unknown Speaker  
I thank you all for coming. My question is for a congresswoman Klobuchar. Senator. Senator No, no. Good. So my apologies. You introduced the bill that you talked about today, that would punish social media companies like Facebook and Twitter for having health misinformation on their platforms. And I'm gonna ask you, if I were to say that there are only two sexes, male and female. Would that be considered misinformation that you think should be banned speech on social media platforms?

Unknown Speaker  
I'm not gonna get into what misinformation. First of all, I think the bill you're talking about is different than the one we've mostly been talking about. So I want to make that clear. We've been talking about the competition bill. But there is another bill that I have on vaccine misinformation. It is that specific in a public health crisis. You wonder why you get that specific? It's because we're trying to find carve outs that I did with this was Ben Ray Lujan that got to that you can have immunity as a social media company. You are broadcasting vaccine, misinformation.

Brian Nichols  
Misinformation misinformation we hear that word all day long, Arthur yet she can't even define what misinformation is. And I think right now, and I always say this when I'm talking about my episodes, your average person right that's who we're talking to below average person. Your average person is waking up to this they realize that this is complete insanity that you have people who are making rules and then using words that they don't even know what the words mean, nor can they define the words to use as justification for these rules. The emperor has no clothes and you You're experiencing this firsthand, right? You're a college kid, and you've had to go now I know. It was rough being a libertarian slash conservative on college campus back when I was in school, but I can't even imagine what it's like right now, especially in an era of COVID. Now I heard horror stories. We had our buddy Trent Ortner, who was in the program talking about some some pretty bad stuff in terms of kids Wi Fi is possibly being turned off or you know, basically unvaccinated is being treated like second class citizens are three, you are the example of that you've had to experience this firsthand. Talk to us about your experience, being a college student who A is a healthy, healthy athlete who you played football, who B is a young male who is at risk, higher risk for myocarditis, and C, you are healthy. Again, I keep on saying the word healthy. You are a healthy individual. Therefore, do you really need to be forced to take an experimental vaccine that's going to stop you from getting COVID stop you from getting sick from COVID? What does it do? Again, I forget what it's supposed to do. It's like the mask thing. My mask keeps me safe and your mask keeps you safe from ourselves. I'm confused. Talk to us, though, Arthur, your experience being a not only a conservative libertarian, but especially in the era of COVID and what you've had to experience.

Arthur Long  
Yeah, so the University of Chicago mandated the vaccine last May. And after speaking to my parents and my cardiologist, I was not going to get the vaccine I had COVID before I have natural immunity, which now it's showing that natural immunity is just as effective or more effective than the vaccine, maybe Amy Klobuchar is. Bill would have called that misinformation and not allowed that to be spread on social media, but are the natural immunity and I'm a healthy 21 year old athlete. I'm not at risk for COVID. So I showed up to football camp, and during preseason camp, I was woken up, banged my doors banged on in the morning by some university officials. And they told me that I had to move out of my room with my roommate to a single room because unvaccinated students can't live with other students. And then over the course of the next three or four months, I lost access to my Wi Fi, I was locked out of my room, I lost keycard access to university buildings just because I would not get the vaccine. And I had a medical exemption from my cardiologist citing studies on the kind of the rate of myocarditis, vaccine induced myocarditis is higher in young males, and that it's not worth it. And they the University for a long time, said, You know what, we're not going to accept these studies, you have to get it. And they just kept on battling and battling. And ultimately I went out and the university accepted my exemption and I'm proudly I'm vaccinated. And the new one moral from the story is because I have so many friends Brian, who got this vaccine against their will young guys just like me young, healthy athletic guys. And the lesson here is it's it's on you to stand up for yourself and your health and your principles. And when you do that this whole bureaucracy just falls apart. It's a scare tactic, and you need to stand up for yourself and when you do, they end up backing off

Brian Nichols  
helps better myself off mute. You know, it is super important for us to speak values and this goes back to something I was talking about when I was up in Wisconsin and speaking to some business owners was you they asked you know, Is it tough to talk sales and to talk politics, especially in such a hyper a hyper polarized world? And I paused I didn't really expect the question because I was there to talk about cybersecurity but um, it makes us like, know it because if you're your authentic self, and you focus on on what matters and you focus on speaking truth, then the right people the people that you want as your target market, they will they they might I won't say they will find you because they will find you but it's going to be easier for them to find you and that right there speaks to why I think a lot of us on the right have been losing I just listened to it was Jeremy boring. He did his speech to daily wire. I cannot recommend enough to folks to go listen to this this little talk he did because there was one part where he outlined what's what's been failing. And for in the business world it was you had have conservative organizations or conservative entities play the nonprofit route Oh, please donate to us and then just lick their wounds while the left would play the game of corporate governance. They're going to Disney and Coca Cola and name the massive organization and entities that are out there using capitalism using the market against conservatives against libertarians again Folks I consider to be allies of the liberty movement. And they're doing it. And then they're destroying our ideas behind it. And it's time for us to play offense. I talked about this a while back about not responding to narratives, setting narratives. And now it's it's in the world, the business not responding to the problems, but now we're establishing alternative solutions. And that is right there. He's creating the new solutions, creating a different environment where you're helping make the old institutions irrelevant. And that's what you guys have been doing over at the Chicago thinker. Arthur, I cannot thank you enough for joining us today. So how about this as we wrap things up, some final thoughts for the audience or words of wisdom you want to leave folks with and also work with folks go ahead and follow if they want, go ahead and keep the conversation going? Sure. So

Arthur Long  
you can follow me on Twitter at Arthur underscore, underscore long. And please follow the Chicago thinker at thinker Chicago on Twitter. And I think the one thing I'd say, particularly with young folks is something my personal hero, I think he's the greatest living American Justice Clarence Thomas said, he says, Don't just be a consumer of liberty be a defender of it. And it's on all of us nowadays to defend liberty. It's not easy. People will come after you for it. But we all have an obligation as Americans to do so. Particularly in this increasingly polarized world. Please support us read our article share. We're trying to do a good job of combating the corporate media. We had a great week last week, and we have some great pieces coming out in the next few weeks. And this is just real college journalism, strictly in the pursuit of truth, so please support us. Thank you,

Brian Nichols  
Arthur long, the Chicago thinker, I will include all those links in the show notes, so it's easier for folks to go ahead and find all you got to do. Go to your podcast catcher, click The Brian Nichols Show artwork, it'll bring you to today's episode, where yes, you can find all those links. You can find Arthur's links and social media. Plus, you can find all the entire transcript for the entire the episode today plus all 475 Plus episodes of The Brian Nichols Show over at Brian Nichols show.com Oh, by the way, if you're a brand new subscriber here, The Brian Nichols Show, do me a favor and do yourself a favor, head over to your podcast app and download all previous episodes. So you're not missing. Yeah, one of I think it's around 500 Total episodes we now have there for The Brian Nichols Show that I'm pretty sure they'll leave you educated, enlightened and informed. That being said, Arthur long from the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Tribune, Chicago thinker. There you go. Thanks for joining The Brian Nichols Show.

Unknown Speaker  
The Brian Nichols Show. Find more episodes at the Brian Nichols show.com

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Arthur Long Profile Photo

Arthur Long

Student

Arthur Long is a second year student at the University of Chicago. He is a staff writer for the University's conservative and libertarian newspaper, The Chicago Thinker. In addition to writing for the Thinker, Arthur plays defensive end for the Maroons football team.