Disinformation hearing witness Soledad O’Brien falls for disinformation

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A journalist who has perpetuated multiple conspiracy theories on social media will serve as one of House Democrats’ witnesses at Wednesday’s hearing on misinformation in the media.

Soledad O’Brien, a former CNN anchor turned media critic, will speak before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology as part of the Congressional probe into the role misinformation in news media played in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

The hearing is being led in part by Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), who sent a letter on Monday to a dozen cable, satellite and streaming video companies pushing them to address their “disseminating misinformation to millions” of users from some networks.

The channels in question included “right-wing media outlets, like Newsmax, One America News Network (OANN), and Fox News,” which they wrote “all aired misinformation about the November 2020 elections.”

The letter was slammed by free speech activists and media groups alike, as well as House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), the panel’s top Republican.

Media Institute President Richard Kaplar called the letter “an affront to the First Amendment,” while the Federal Communications Commissions chief Brendan Carr slammed the effort as a “chilling transgression” of free speech.

Scalise, meanwhile, argued on Twitter that the effort was “what you’d see in the Soviet Union.”

“Media disguised as journalism has been spreading lies for years, elevating liars, and using the ensuing slugfest to chase ratings, hits, subscriptions and advertisers. Period,” O’Brien’s testimony reads.

The problem: it appears that she has, too.

O’Brien references the term “Truth Decay” in her opening remarks, defined as “the diminishing role of facts and analysis in public life,” noting that the nation faces a crisis of a lack of information.

The journalist is an avid social media user, where she has fallen victim herself to “Truth Decay,” tweeting in support of actor Jussie Smollett and the belief that former President Trump had “colluded” with Russians in the 2016 presidential election, even after it was disproven.

“Racially charged is not a thing. It’s. Just. Racist,” O’Brien wrote in a 2019 tweet referring to the Smollett incident.

After former special counsel Robert Mueller found that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, O’Brien declined to accept the findings of his report.

In an April 2019 tweet, one month after Mueller’s findings were made public, O’Brien wrote on the social media platform, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

She goes on to note that the quote she was referencing came from then-candidate Trump in July 2016.

Soledad O'Brien posted to Twitter prepping before testimony.
Soledad O’Brien posted to Twitter prepping before testimony.
Twitter

In an August 2019 tweet, O’Brien retweeted a post by then Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hi.), who wrote, “Mueller reported Trump did not collude with Russia to influence our elections. Now we must put aside partisan interests, move forward, and work to unite our country to deal with the serious challenges we face.”

“Girl, this is a lie. And all the Republicans enthusiastically supporting your candidacy should be a clue to people watching,” O’Brien responded.

In January of that year, O’Brien slammed the teens from Covington Catholic, who went viral after video of a student in confrontation with a Native American activist at the 2019 March for Life rally circulated online.

The video that initially went viral was largely misleading, and did not show how the activist confronted the students. Multiple news outlets quickly and incorrectly claimed the boys were in the wrong.

O’Brien appeared to paint the students with the same brush, writing on Twitter in January 2019, “What morning show books the Covington teens (and their moms?). Do they ask for forgiveness or tearfully explain ‘It’s not what it looked like in the video’?”

O’Brien could not immediately be reached by The Post for comment.



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