One of the most bizarre features of the run-up to the US election campaign is the broken computer of Joe Biden’s son Hunter.
According to Donald Trump’s favorite newspaper, the New York Post, it was handed in with water damage to a repairman three years ago, and now it turns out that it contained e-mails revealing his father’s, the presidential candidate’s, collusion with Ukrainian businessmen.
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Twitter and Facebook decided to label this story as potentially harmful content, pending a fact check. “Careful now, Twitter,” Aftenposten wrote in a leadership position on Friday, warning of such restrictions on freedom of expression. Aftenposten believes that this case does not fall into the category of false news or misleading information.
That does not sound reassuring.
It is said that reality often surpasses the wildest fantasies. That’s not really the case. I have known this since I was eight years old and read the monthly magazine Superman.
I realized that the man who could fly, was invulnerable and had X-rays was an adventure. Then I came across the story of his origin, of the planet that was about to perish, and the parents who sent him in a rocket to earth. This was so credibly made that for a while I thought it was true!
The magazine was my only source, there was no internet, Superman was not mentioned in the encyclopedia, and what the adults had to think about the case was relatively uninteresting.
Superman’s fate was also no more fantastic than much of what was presented as facts in the religion classes at school. At that time mainly biblical story from the Old Testament.
The problems come when you continue to believe in such stories after you have turned nine.
Comment: I dream of the day they shout on the phone: “You have to get up! Donald Trump has lost the election! “
Conspiracy theories come in so many forms. That Elvis Presley lives on the moon, where no one else has ever set foot, is acceptable entertainment. At the opposite end come notions of Jewish conspiracies, and denial of the Holocaust.
It is an honest matter to be skeptical of the side effects of vaccines, but not to claim that there is a comprehensive conspiracy behind it to subjugate the world. Why should the authorities take such a comprehensive step as vaccinating humans one by one, when it is much easier to spray condensation strips from planes (chemtrails) across the sky to affect them chemically?
In order not to be too full of contempt for different thinking, I send some thoughts to him who for a few years walked around the center of Oslo with some small, homemade posters that warned against the emissions from diesel cars that both authorities and environmental organizations recommended so warmly. Established truths are changing.
Alternative truths must be taken into account. But sometimes there has to be a way.
The New York Post’s report on Hunter Biden’s computer is so rich in content that we can not sit here in Oslo and check the facts ourselves. The New York Times has tried.
It should be said that they are both competitors to the New York Post, and to put it mildly Trump-skeptical, but they say at least that the reporters have been forced to put their names on a case they themselves thought was difficult to vouch for. Here we can only use reason and the common skepticism one has been assigned, and see what one believes oneself.
The disputed emails are said to originate from a computer that was handed in to a repairer in Delaware in April last year. In addition, it will contain files showing Hunter Biden smoking heroin and having sex, some claim with minors.
Let it throw the first stone that, despite a very prominent public position, has never delivered computers with highly compromising files, asked strangers to retrieve them, and refrained from retrieving the computer afterwards.
That the story is not well received in the industry for computer repairers may be another matter.
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The owner of this workshop must at least have snooped in the machine, taken copies of the hard drive and passed these on to Steve Bannon and Rudy Guiliani, who are the sources of the oddities.
Now I’m not a US expert, but former Trump strategist Bannon and Trump lawyer Guiliani are two names I tend to relate to with a certain skepticism, every time they appear in the news. But I’m just a left-wing Norwegian journalist.
At what level this newspaper article grinds the most remains to be seen.
Maybe the emails are real, maybe it’s just the bizarre story of how the emails became famous that was invented? Each must consider their sources. I see on Fox News that the owner of the workshop can not say for sure that it was Hunter Biden himself who handed in the machine, since he is very visually impaired. Almost blind. He is to be a member of the Republican Party.
Aftenposten had a new case about facts on social media on Monday, this time a report that Facebook is starting to set limits for what they want to convey next. The problem for Facebook, and all of us, is to distinguish between those who distort reality for fun, those who have pure foolishness in mind, and those who truly believe in their own delusions. You can not arrest people for lying so they believe it themselves. But it can still not be a human right for others to pass on their lies.