Our View: Risky business: Believing everything you read or see

Published on Monday, 4 December 2017 20:13
Written by

Recently, we told you about a scuffle between a conservative speaker at the University of Connecticut and a member of his audience who didn’t much like what he had to say.

The woman, a Quinebaug Valley Community College employee, grabbed paperwork off Lucian Wintrich’s lectern during his talk, titled “It’s OK To Be White,” but police ultimately decided it didn’t rise to the level of theft.

Apparently, Wintrich’s fans felt differently, because she is now receiving emailed death threats.

It seems obvious that the threats are coming from people who heard about the incident on far-right websites, including Gateway Pundit, the one for which Wintrich is bureau chief and White House correspondent.

In fact, Gateway Pundit, a right wing blog that “has 15 million visits each month,” reported this fake news story: “November 4th … millions of antifa super-soldiers will behead all white parents.” The Gateway Pundit story, authored by Wintrich, has been shared more than 40,000 times on Facebook.

We believe in a free press but, because we also believe in the truth, we become concerned when “the press” is used to incite hate, fear and violence. Too often, as was the case last year when it was reported that a D.C. pizza parlor held young children as sex slaves, some people fail to question what they read. In fact, sociologists have said that most people read or watch only that which reinforces what they already believe - hence the divide between Fox News and CNN.

That is, of course, our right. But what is not our right is to threaten violence to those who don’t share our beliefs.

Or worse, to take action.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Editorials on Monday, 4 December 2017 20:13. Updated: Monday, 4 December 2017 20:15.