September 9, 2021

How NOT To Do a Conspiracy Theory Video

Conspiracy theories have been around for centuries, but the advent of the Internet and social media has amplified them exponentially. Some conspiracy theories, of course, have proven to be true. But many, if not most, are nothing more than paranoid people expounding on things they don't understand.

I don't post here much these days, but now and then something comes along that spurs me to.

This woman is @lovemycountry326 on TikTok
She is @lovemycountry326" on TikTok.
We don't know her real name.

This time it was a TikTok video, posted ("tweeted") on Twitter. It included a video (below) that is so mind-numbingly stupid that it begs for deconstruction, and the 280 character limit on Twitter just isn't enough. So here we are.

In the video I referred to, it's a woman who insinuates that the major renovation project of a Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C. is proof of sinister goings-on by mysterious nogoodniks. The  building is the William McChesney Martin, Jr. Building (the "Martin Building"), dedicated in 1974. It's been undergoing a multi-year modernization, and the outside of the structure is full of construction equipment and fencing. There is nothing strange about it.

The woman who made the video and posted it to TikTok on Sept. 8, 2921 calls herself "lovemycountry326." While she technically qualifies as a "citizen reporter," she has no idea how to be a citizen journalist

Let's watch the video and then break it down into all of its gloriously inept elements.


"So," she said, "this is [zooms in] you can see right there, this is the Federal Reserve." [zooms back out] 

Note: She never tells us which city this Federal Reserve is in. There are 12 of them around the U.S.

"Okay, so I've showed [sic] you guys pictures of this before, uhm, but it's interesting because I got a nudge to come back and do a live to show you and I'm glad that I did because I just met one of the guys here and sat and had like a 15-minute conversation with him. And it was a very good conversation, uhm, and he is going to get me some information."

Note: I find no other "pictures of this" on her TikTok account. She said "it's interesting because I got a nudge to come back," but doesn't explain that. A "nudge?" Did somebody "nudge" her to go back? Did  she mean an "urge?" Why does she think that recording a video for later uploading is doing "a live?" 

The William McChesney Martin Building,
Washington, D.C. before renovation began
(Source: Federal Reserve Board)
Although she was reporting (telling us something), she was not doing journalism.
That would involve explaining why she felt a "nudge" (urge?) to return. That would involve telling us which Fed building she is showing us. Real journalism would have her tell us who that guy she "just met" is. Not necessarily his name, but at least what he does at the building. Is he a high-up exec at the Fed, is he a janitor, a security guard, one of the contractors working on the renovation? 

She said the guy "is going to get me some information" but gives no hint as to what kind of information, how he will obtain it, or when to expect it. 

"I'll just show you right quick [changes camera angle] right here, so we know we were given information last year that the Fed was, uhm, absorbed into the Treasury. Okay?"

Note: Not okay. That's wrong. The Federal Reserve was NOT absorbed by the Department of the Treasury. Again, she's not doing journalism. She's giving an erroneous report about erroneous crap that she heard and is mindlessly repeating without doing proper research. According to a June 29, 2021 article in Investopedia, "The U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve are separate entities." 

"Okay so this building has been like this for three years, he told me." [camera pans along ordinary construction site stuff outside of the building] "Three years! Think about that! Uhm, the one thing that he told me is that September 17th here is a big day. September 17th!"

Note: That guy only told her "one thing?" September 17th! Did he tell her why? If so, why didn't she tell us? If not, why didn't she ask him? 

And that's it, the whole report, just to tell us this: 

(1) She's shown us pictures of the building before 
(2) She met "one of the guys here" at the building 
(3) She had a "good conversation" with the guy and he'll get her "some information" 
(4) She was told last year (2020) that the Treasury "absorbed" the Federal Reserve (false);
(5) The construction has "been like this for three years." Yes, three years!
(6) Three years is a suspiciously long time for a major rehab project (in her opinion)
(7) September 17th "is a big day" there

None of that gives us any useful information. She gives us plenty of paranoid innuendoes, though. We're all a bit dumber after watching her video. If she had practiced some journalism, instead of simply reporting her suspicions, she might have learned that the Fed was not absorbed by Treasury and that the construction in front of the Martin Building is in no way suspicious. But @lovemycountry326 would have us believe it is.

Hensel Phelps is a contractor doing much of the work on the project. From their Facebook page:
Our Martin Building Renovation and Expansion project hit a major milestone when it topped out last week! 12,000 pieces of steel weighing 1.8 million pounds have been installed throughout construction by trade partner The Berlin Steel Construction Company. The 500,000 SF building is undergoing a complete gut renovation and construction of an additional 42,000 SF. Designed to preserve the original 1974 architecture, the project will be a model of a successful modernization that still reflects the historic landscape of Washington, D.C. [My emphasis added]

As for that thing about September 17 being "a big day here," well, she doesn't say exactly where "here" is. Does she mean at the Martin Building? The District of Columbia? 

Men In Black: 3rd Annual All Black
Men N Black, Sept. 17, 2021
We know that every September 17 is National Apple Dumpling Day, but many other things that happen on that day too. The Moon, for example, will be in a Waxing Gibbous phase. 

September 17 this year falls on a Friday, perfect for Men N Black The 3rd Annual All Black, presented by Bilal and DJ Schemes. Could that be it? It's their third year doing that event, you know. ("Three years! Think about that!") Yes, think about it: A celebration of a top-secret organization that probably works with the reptilian aliens who secretly run the New World Order. 

There's also the IBPO Elks Summer Vendor Expo Extravaganza on September 17-19, put on by the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World. Could that be the "big day" that @lovemycountry326 spoke of? Nah, probably not. The Elks are not a secret society. At least, not as far as we know.

We may never know what @lovemycountry326 meant by her unexplained reference to September 17. Will "the guy" she met ever give her that promised information? Is "the guy" her idea of an unnamed source? 

One of the best and most concise definitions of "journalism" I've ever read comes from Robert Niles. He said, "Journalism is a form of writing that tells people about things that really happened, but that they might not have known about already." (In addition to writing, of course, this could also include speaking.) 

To repeat, @lovemycountry326 was not doing journalism, try as she might have to do so. "Reporting" can be journalism, but not always. If I report a theory or hearsay to you, I have not performed journalism. Similary, @lovemycountry326 did not tell people about things that really happened, with the sole exception that the construction at the Martin Building has been ongoing for about three years. And even that was vague. A true journalist would have told us when the renovation began and the reasons for the renovation, along with the names of one or two of the contractors. A true journalist would not have even made a video like that one without first doing at least some background research. 

The rest of @lovemycountry326's video report was nothing more than innuendo, breathlessly trying to make us believe that there was something sinister about a perfectly normal, albeit large, renovation project. What she gave us was half-baked opinion, unsubstantiated statements, outright false information (Fed absorbed by Treasury), and breathless references to a meaningless date (September 17) and some "guy" she spoke to. 

There are far too many videos and social media postings that do the same kind of nonsensical fear-mongering. "Three years!" she said, and "September 17th!" in hysterical tones dripping fearful worry. 

Uninformed, putrified misinformation lodges in someone's head and rots like roadkill. The stench wafts in the breeze, and gullible people swarm like buzzards to feast on the decaying flesh of conspiracy paranoia. It's a rotten business.

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