Fake News. Is there any other kind anymore?
Today’s episode is a little more satisfying than usual, though: It involves the attempted spread of a lie (at the expense of those conservatives hate of course), but there may be justice in the end, and right in the middle of it all is a key Trump ally, Sid Miller.
Back in January, two Texas hunting guides and a client of theirs made headlines in the right-wing “news” circuit and even on their local CBS affiliate when police found all three shot and bleeding on a ranch in south Texas. At the time, the trio claimed they had been attacked by “illegal aliens” they had seen earlier while hunting.
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Conservative crackpots, aided by Texas’ Commissioner of Agriculture Sid Miller, quickly jumped on Miller’s (now-deleted) Facebook post depicting one of the injured hunters in the hospital, with a heart-wrenching caption:
The aliendswere (sic) ambushing the RV that Walker and his wife. He was shot while trying to protect his hunters from the attack. Walker is a man of God and is now a hero.
The post, like anything that sparks the hatred of right-wingers and seems to confirm their suspicions, was shared nearly 7,000 times before it was deleted. Commissioner Miller’s spokesman insisted that the story was passed along by family members of the injured man, along with a request for prayers, as though that absolves his office from the responsibility of fact-checking a story before blasting lies all over the internet.
Now the two hunting guides, Walker Daughetry and Michael Bryant, are facing charges of using deadly conduct with a firearm, a third-degree felony in Texas. Why they are not currently facing charges for filing false reports is unknown, though it can be assumed these are charges they won’t face, as there are no defamed victims — just faceless, nameless “illegals” — fodder for more right-wing hate. A friend of Daughetry’s fiancée started a GoFundMe account for his medical bills based on the false narrative, raising more than $25,000 before it concluded.
Mr. Miller, who served as co-chair of Trump’s agriculture advisory team and was being considered to head up the USDA before the nomination of Sonny Perdue, is no stranger to spreading Fake News, though that seems prerequisite for membership in the GOP at this point. PolitiFact Texas shows their scorecard for Miller contains just one statement rated as “True.”
Let’s be clear here: This story is a direct result of the lies and propaganda spread by Republicans and those that support them, all the way back to the reason the hunters lied to the police to begin with. Police said that Daughetry had “gotten it into his head that border-crossers were inside” the hunting party’s RV, planning to kidnap them. Even after the fact, Daughetry and his fiancée still insisted that they’d had hundreds of dollars worth of property stolen “by illegals,” though they have provided no evidence.
It’s no surprise that racism is alive and well in Texas, but at least the Sheriff’s Department sorted out the facts from fiction, and the right men are facing charges.