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Amanda Marcotte @AmandaMarcotte
, 15 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
No one actually believes Jim Acosta did anything wrong.

This is one of those situations where conservatives collectively pretend to believe something they don’t believe.

Pretending to believe something they don’t believe serves multiple purposes.
One, it signals tribal loyalty. Being willing to say blatantly false things shows you put tribe over truth, and that is a critical loyalty test, as anyone who has studied cults can tell you.
Two, they’re trolling. “Triggering the libs” is the meats and potatoes of their political ideology these days (read my book, Troll Nation). Telling blatant lies and watching liberals make themselves crazy insisting on “facts” and “evidence” makes them laugh in delight.
Three, they are trying to push the idea that violence against women isn’t a real problem, but something people only pretend to care about to score points.

How better to seed that idea than only pretending to care to score points?
Fourth, it's about reestablishing Trump's narrative that the media are the "enemy" to be defeated instead of a Fourth Estate necessary to keep democracy healthy. This helps, in turn, fuel the already strong message that democracy is wrong and authoritarianism is right.
Fifth, it's a straight up distraction. Trump wants everyone "debating" a completely obvious video, instead of talking about how he's trying to conceal what is almost certainly very serious crimes by interfering with the Mueller investigation.
You will notice conservatives filing these mentions with insistence that they do, too, believe Acosta did something wrong.

They are, to the last of them, lying.

I block and move on. You should, too. You cannot discourse with people who lie for sport.
One more thought: Watching the ease with which conservatives pretend to believe something they clearly cannot believe — that Acosta did anything wrong — should really be a moment to think about what other beliefs they only pretend to hold. I'd say quite a few!
Trump is accelerating a process that's been going on for decades, where conservatives pretend to believe climate change isn't happening, abortion is murder, evolution is a lie, tax cuts lead to prosperity.

The lies are just getting more blatant as a show of power.
I see the hill some are willing to die on is "no, I swear, the conservatives I know really believe this stupid lie!" To this, I have a couple of rebuttals.
One, it doesn't matter if you are dealing with a liar or someone who has turned himself into a deluded idiot. Either way, they are someone who has decided that truth must be sacrificed for loyalty to Trump and should be abandoned, as they are incapable of reasoned discourse.
Two, I will bet they don't actually believe what you think they do. Here's a piece I wrote two years ago about how a lot of people don't believe what they "believe". salon.com/2016/09/26/its…
The research shows that people who claim to "believe" false things adjust their "belief" on context. If they are in a "trolling the libs" situation, they "believe" Obama is Kenyan. If they think this is a quiz on political knowledge, they admit he was born in Hawaii.
So your conservative friend insists that he "believes" Acosta did a naughty thing. Remember: He knows you're a liberal. He would like to make you crazy. And how faster to do this than to keep saying a dumb, false thing and bait you into arguing with him?
What you should do is simply tell your conservative friend that if he continues to lie and gaslight, you are ending the conversation and, ideally, the friendship. Why are you friends with lying assholes anyway?
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