Given the penchant of many of my fellow Americans to believe any preposterous spoof, spin or allegation that pops up on their computer screens -- I'm talking to you, Victoria Jackson! -- I want to make it perfectly clear that every statement in the next paragraph is false, no matter how much you may want to believe it's true.
President Barack Obama visited a mosque and hosted Muslim leaders at the White House on the Fourth of July (false!). Obama also plans to host a Muslim gay marriage ceremony for St. Louis Rams football star Michael Sam and his boyfriend (false!). Meanwhile, the Obama's own marriage is on the rocks after Michelle caught Barack drunkenly flirting with actress Halle Berry at a White House event (false!). In fact, the president and first lady have been secretly divorced for more than a year and reports say there is a sex tape of the president engaged in a threesome with Ms. Berry and singing superstar Beyoncé (false!).
This is all mighty big news and it comes to us from National Report, the media organization that also says ISIS has discovered Saddam Hussein's hidden weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that, in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision, Wal-Mart is creating a corporate religion.
Even if I hadn't tipped everyone off, readers capable of critical thinking would have discerned that National Report is a news satire website that just makes stuff up. But, if you are a right wing knucklehead who desperately wants to believe every bad thing said about President Obama -- yes, that's you, Victoria Jackson -- each one of these fabrications would resonate with authenticity.
I keep mentioning Victoria Jackson. She is the former member of the "Saturday Night Live" comedy troupe who usually portrayed a bubble-headed ditz. Her characters met the criteria of every dumb blonde joke ever told. Apparently, she is just as dumb in real life. After seeing the National Report's story about Obama hanging out with Muslims on July 4th, she re-posted it on her website and sent out a message of alarm on Twitter.
Jackson was not joking around. She opened her post by writing, "Obama continues to slap America in the face and spit on her. I am outraged. If you're not, you are uninformed."
This champion of being "informed" is a fervent right-wing evangelical who posts lots of curious items, including allegations of a government plot to force people to move from the suburbs to the inner city, creaky old exposés about the evils of Freemasonry and "proof" that President Obama is a Muslim who not-so-secretly aids America's enemies.
Ms. Jackson's fans immediately swallowed the Muslim Fourth of July story and went ballistic. "Of course," wrote one respondent. "He has to drop in on his terrorist 'bros' and say hello." Another wrote, "This story should surprise no one. Obama is a MUSLIM."
The comments went on like that until somebody posted a message pointing out the inconvenient reality that the story was satire. In response, one of Victoria's comrades wrote back, "Doesn't matter."
And it really does not seem to matter to the fantasy mongers on the right. Even before Mr. Obama's first inauguration, paleoconservative bloggers were spreading the mendacity. Not only was the new president a Muslim, a socialist and a noncitizen; some religious sites made the case that he was very likely "the Lord of the Flies," aka the Antichrist. Lately, they've added the charge that he is secretly gay.
The publisher of National Report says he and his merry bunch of faux reporters purposefully aim their straight-faced satire at right-wingers because they are so gullible and quick to spread misinformation. That would be hilarious if it were not so depressingly true.
Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Horsey is a political commentator for the Los Angeles Times. Go tolatimes.com/news/politics/topoftheticket/ to see more of his work.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun