Interesting article on the power of misinformation

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — In the summer of 2020, as pandemic shutdowns closed businesses and racial justice protests erupted on American streets, Rae Grulkowski, a 56-year-old businesswoman who had never been involved in politics but was alarmed about what was happening to the country, found a way to make a difference.

The connection to the turbulence of national politics might not have been immediately clear.

Ms. Grulkowski had just heard about a years-in-the-making effort to designate her corner of central Montana a national heritage area, celebrating its role in the story of the American West. A small pot of federal matching money was there for the taking, to help draw more visitors and preserve underfunded local tourist attractions.

Ms. Grulkowski set about blowing up that effort with everything she had.

She collected addresses from a list of voters and spent $1,300 sending a packet denouncing the proposed heritage area to 1,498 farmers and ranchers. She told them the designation would forbid landowners to build sheds, drill wells or use fertilizers and pesticides. It would alter water rights, give tourists access to private property, create a new taxation district and prohibit new septic systems and burials on private land, she said.

None of this was true.

Yet it soon became accepted as truth by enough people to persuade Montana’s leading Republican figures and conservative organizations, including the farm bureau, Gov. Greg Gianforte and Senator Steve Daines, to oppose the proposal and enact a state law forbidding the federal government to create any heritage area in Montana. It is a ban that the state has no authority to enforce.

Crazy stuff.

Later in the article:

Most of the heritage area’s key supporters are Democrats, and virtually all of its opponents are Republicans. But partisanship doesn’t explain everyone’s positions.

Steve Taylor, a former mayor of Neihart (pop. 43) whose family owns a car dealership in Great Falls, is a conservative who voted for Donald J. Trump twice, though he said he has regretted those votes since the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Fellow Republicans, he said, have painted the heritage area as a liberal plot.

“They make it a political thing because if you have a Democrat involved, then they are all against it,” he said. “It’s so hard to build something and so easy to tear it down. It’s maddening. It’s so easy to destroy something with untruths.”

What’s most maddening is the way the politicians here took the path of leas resistance. Rather than arguing for or against on the truth of the matter, they sided with the untruths because they were more pervasive with their base.

What a shame.

Can you imagine that her $1,300.00 could influence their Governor and Senator to oppose this? Can you believe they’re too stupid to do their own research and be able to discern the truth about this? Yeah…me neither.

…that sheople regurgibleat the nonsense they were fed.



But Ms. Grulkowski’s interest was piqued.

At the time, she was becoming engrossed in the online world of far-right media. From her home on 34 acres in Stockett, a farming community of 157 people south of Great Falls, she watched videos from outlets like His Glory TV, where hosts refer to President Biden as “the so-called president.” She subscribed to the Telegram messaging channel of Seth Keshel, a prolific disinformation spreader.

And she came across a vein of conspiratorial accusations that national heritage areas were a kind of Trojan horse that could open the door to future federal land grabs.

When Ms. Grulkowski, who owns a septic cleaning company, tried using Ms. Dodd’s group to push the idea that Montanans’ property rights were at risk, Ms. Dodd kicked her out for promoting lies.

“I’m not happy with people saying it will seize your property, because that is disingenuous,” Ms. Dodd said. “I said to her, ‘I think you need to be careful about the message. It isn’t actually the way that it works, what you’re saying.’”

But Ms. Grulkowski plowed ahead.

It’s a free country my friend and she has every right to pursue her happiness…even if we both disagree with her? What you stated is that the Governor and Senator bowed down to her line of thinking, without using their own discernment. I may not have much knowledge or respect for her but I do think that to achieve those two positions, they are smart enough to think for themselves, based on the facts that they are more privy to than her and have made their own decisions/conclusions that happen to align with her’s. That’s quite different than what you regurgibleated.

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The NYT writing about fear mongering?


Yes it is, eventually.

The car dealer is wrong.


Well…that is what happen, Stupid? Maybe. Conveniently lazy, most likely.

Today’s Republican is more about opposing anything from the D party, no matter what it is.

Imagine if that happened on a national scale and the elected officials get together to impeach a president on that info. Oh wait….



What does that have to do with teh false claims about Heritage sites?



They aren’t false.

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Who runs the “Heritage Sites”?

This thread actually brings to light a very interesting phenomena I’ve been researching.

And COVID really shined a light on it.

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Hey @tnt , come tend your thread!


I think we can apply these

primitive communism
slave society
global, stateless communism

To information/knowledge as well as material/property.

Personally I didn’t know about this particular situation or this type of issue, nonetheless I found this perspective on it:

“Now that they know: National Heritage Area proposal has many Montana landowners concerned | TSLN.com

PS - I couldn’t open the NYT article in the OP.

From my link:

“Once these designations are established, they just keep taking a little bit more and little bit more,” says Grulkowski. “They’re called buffer zones – but they won’t stop with just this one. They will keep working to incorporate more and land. It’s critical that we work to stop it from getting a designation.”

With private property right infringement being the umbrella issue, key concerns of opponents also include transparency, accountability, and tax payer expenditures.

“This board is self-appointed and self-annointed,” says Grulkowski. “They created the board and took the steps toward designation. We don’t have a way to vote them in or out. Also, there is no requirement for any exchange of information.” Additionally, when NHA programs sunset, they have always been renewed and are a constant drain on the taxpayer, she says.

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In the NYT article Grulkowski couldn’t name a single instance where a property owner was adversely affected because of an area being named a heritage area.

She also believes the following -

The Covid vaccine is more dangerous than the coronavirus. Global child-trafficking rings control the political system. Black Lives Matter was responsible for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The United Nations is plotting to control world population and seize private land. Mr. Trump was the rightful winner of last year’s election.

She doesn’t need to.

So what? All irrelevant.

But this is a great example of what’s going on.

What’s your definition of an “expert”?

If someone tells me the sky is green and grass is blue I’m not going to put a lot of stock in other things they say.

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