Fake News We Can Use

On the evening of Jan. 3, an out-of-service N.J. Transit commuter bus experienced a tire blow-out on southbound Rt. 23. No one was injured but the blow-out caused the engine in the rear of the bus to catch fire, fully engulfing the bus.  The driver was uninjured.  But according to the local newspaper report, he was unresponsive when authorities entered the bus and that he said he was suffering from a diabetic condition.  He was then transported to Chilton Medical Center in Pompton Plains.


That’s the official version of the story anyway, as told to the local newspaper by the Department of Transportation.


What they didn’t say and the reporters either didn’t know or didn’t bother to report was that the incident actually began farther north on the highway in Riverdale. A female motorist reported that her vehicle had been struck by a bus by the Kia dealership on Rt. 23 in Riverdale and that the bus was on fire.


She told the dispatch operator that she was following the bus to try to get it to stop. Meanwhile, the Riverdale Police Department dispatched a patrol car to the scene of the accident.  When he arrived, there was no “scene of an accident.”  He reported finding no signs of an accident but would proceed down the highway until he found one.  He periodically reported still finding no accident scene.


Finally, at the border between Riverdale and Pequannock Township, on the other side of the Jackson Avenue light, there was a bus, fully engulfed. He reported that it was in the center lane.  Since it was no longer in his jurisdiction, he reported the fire to the Pequannock Township Police, who then responded, along with the fire department.  The police closed off the southbound lanes of the highway and the adjoining road.


The newspaper report made no mention of the other vehicle involved in the incident. That’s what happens when you rely on the “authorities” – in this case, the Department of Transportation, which owned the commuter bus.  Was the NJDOT trying to protect itself in the event of a lawsuit from the driver of the other vehicle?  If it had been a private bus, there would have been no protection from the newspaper; their duty would have been to report both sides of the story.


In another piece of fake news, there were reports of a prowler in a hillside development in Bloomingdale. After several reports of an individual prowler, the police then got a report of a suspicious vehicle with Arizona license plates.  The patrol car reported finding the truck at an intersection, abandoned, its doors open and its engine running.


You would think, wouldn’t you, that the “authorities” would want to alert the residents of that neighborhood to be on the lookout (BOLO) for prowlers in the vicinity. I don’t know whether the story make the local newspaper or not.  If it had, a friend who has a regular subscription to the newspaper would have let me know.


The reason I know this is because I asked that friend to give me a police band radio for Christmas. With only a two weeks to go until Trump’s inauguration, I’m worried about unrest both in my town and in the nearest blighted city.  We have very little news coverage in this corner of New Jersey, although, to their credit, New Jersey News12 did run the story about the bus fire.  But only because a passenger in a vehicle driving on the northbound side of the highway saw the flames in time and got their IPhone going.


See? Fake news.  That passenger wasn’t a “licensed” reporter; they were a passenger in a car – and we were only watching News 12 New Jersey because we already knew about the fire.  If we had to depend upon our weekly newspaper for the latest news flash in the event of civil unrest, we’d be sifting through our burnt-out homes by the time the paper came out.


That news was certainly important to my friend; he lived on the other side of that highway. It took two hours to clean up the mess.  If the highway was backed up, he wouldn’t have found out until it was too late.  Instead, when he went home, he took another route that allowed him to get across the highway.  By that time, it was all over and in fact, it was at Jackson Avenue that he crossed and there was no more sign of the accident.


The reason my friend was a little later going home that evening was because we decided to watch Sean Hannity’s full hour interview with Julian Assange of WikiLeaks. Assange is basically being held prisoner in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for reporting news officials didn’t think was fit to print.  If Assange sets one foot out of that embassy, he’ll be arrested.


He told Hannity that he and his organization considered confidentiality of sources their absolute priority. The source of the leaked Podesta e-mails was in no way connected with Russia or Vladimir Putin, despite our government’s insistence to the contrary, that they have numerous “reports” that indicate Putin was “interfering” with the U.S. presidential election.


Even to the WikiLeaks-friend Hannity, Assange refused to divulge his sources. Assange said that while he could deal with his confinement in the embassy, and in fact was proud to make this stand for freedom of the press, the estrangement from his young family was very difficult.  He hoped that they would understand one day.


“A 14 year-old kid could have hacked Podesta’s e-mails,” he told Hannity.


“We published several … emails which show Podesta responding to a phishing email,” Assange said during the first part of the interview, which aired on “Hannity” Tuesday night. “Podesta gave out that his password was the word ‘password’. His own staff said this email that you’ve received, this is totally legitimate. So, this is something … a 14-year-old kid could have hacked Podesta that way.”


Fox News, which aired the interviews, said he “also claimed that Clinton herself made ‘almost no attempt’ to keep her private emails safe from potentially hostile states during her tenure as secretary of state.


“Now, was she trying to keep them secure from Republicans? Probably,” Assange said. “But in terms of [nation-] states, almost no attempt.”


Hannity interviewed Assange at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. The Australia native has been holed up there for five years battling extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges, which Assange denies.


Fox News reported that “WikiLeaks published more than 50,000 emails detailing dubious practices at the Clinton Foundation, top journalists working closely with the Clinton campaign, key Clinton aides speaking derisively of Catholics and a top Democratic National Committee (DNC) official providing debate questions to Clinton in advance.”


The government and the media have entered an incestuous relationship where control of information, rather than reporting of facts, has become the primary objective. The government and their media allies have sent out a BOLO alert for “fake news”.  Meanwhile, citizens have mounted their own BOLO alert for “fake truth.”


The government, at least here in New Jersey, has already embarked on a program called “Project 25” which will make the police bands unavailable to the general public. The police bands will only be available by subscription to news services that don’t report the news anyway.  Wayne, N.J., is involved in this program.


We’re all for not alerting the criminals to police activity which can lead to their arrest. We have no problem with that.  But it would be nice to be kept directly informed in the case of weather emergencies or accidents which can involve our commutes to and from work, prowler alerts to criminal activity that might involve our homes, our children, or our elderly parents, and civil unrest that could mean the difference between life and death.


We don’t have enough police to guard us in our little towns. We don’t want to wait until the National Guard arrives (although there is a National Guard unit nearby) to get out of town if there’s trouble.  Or get our guns and our ammunition together in the same place before rioters break down our doors or crash through our living room window.  Here in New Jersey, it’s pretty much a case of keeping the match in one drawer in one room and the flint in another drawer, locked in another room.


Since we can obviously rely on neither our government officials (law enforcement is fine; it’s the politicians who write the laws causing the roadblocks) nor our media, we have to keep our own heads up for the latest news.


Stay tuned.


Published in: on January 9, 2017 at 1:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

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