Another day, another lesson learned

On 5 February 2018, Shaun Usher, the owner of the blog “Letters of Note” posted an image on Twitter that purported to show Donald Trump opining that any president presiding over the United States during a stock market crash of more than 1,000 points should be “shot out of a cannon.” Although the image was intended to poke fun at now-President Trump’s prolific Twitter use and his timeline that has offered a running joke that puts his past criticisms of his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, in context with current events (such as a precipitous stock market drop a few hours before), this tweet was not real[.]

Like thousands of other Americans, yesterday morning I got snookered by a fake tweet, one which purported to be an archived tweet from Donald Trump. Like so many of his Twitter broadsides, this one made him look like a right asshole. No surprise there, eh?

I do most of my posting very early in the morning (like 4 a.m. early in many cases), and at times I’m guilty of not exactly being on top of my game. I was mortified to learn that the tweet was, in fact, fake…and so I quickly deleted it from WWJD and Facebook. In retrospect, I’m still trying to figure out how I didn’t immediately pick up on the “Dow Joans” misspelling, which should have been blindingly obvious. I’m going to blame it on lack of caffeine.

By all indications, it was a joke which took on a life of its own once loosed upon the Internet. Sometimes we can’t control how things are taken when we set them free. Every now and again, what was intended as a joke ends up being widely assumed to be nothing of the sort.

I don’t blame Usher, who was just trying to induce a bit a levity into the Twittersphere. I blame myself for not immediately recognizing that the tweet was not authentic…and for not doing my normal due diligence.

There are a couple of different ways to interpret this saga:

1) It’s a sad commentary on the stunning ignorance, arrogance, and lack of self-awareness displayed by Donald Trump on a daily basis that people took this as the real deal. That a joke like this could be taken seriously is a pretty pathetic commentary on the quality of the man (or lack thereof).

2) All of us (myself included) need to do a better job of being aware of the prevalence of fake news…and I don’t mean the “fake news” which Trump bemoans on a daily basis. There’s a pronounced difference between that sort of unenlightened self-absorption and the myriad sites actively distributing propaganda and fake news and information. We need to be alert to the possibility that if it seems too odd/weird/inflammatory to be true, it very likely isn’t.

Me? There are lessons to be learned from this, and I plan on learning them. First and foremost, I just need to give the caffeine enough time to complete its assigned task. Then I need to pay closer attention to what I’m reading at oh-dark-thirty.

“Dow Joans?” REALLY??

2 thoughts on “Another day, another lesson learned

  1. Racer X

    “I do most of my posting very early in the morning (like 4 a.m. early in many cases)”

    And this is greatly appreciated!!!

  2. Jack Cluth Post author

    Thanks! Sometimes it feels as if I’m just throwing stuff against the wall and hoping something- ANYTHING- will stick. Then again, what was once a habit long ago became an obsession. I fear that if I stopped doing this I may well cease to exist. 😉


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