Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Comet Ping Pong, Pizzagate, And The Pursuit Of Truth

What some are claiming is happening in the Pizzagate scandal is sadly not out the realm of possibility. We know that people at times do terrible things and cover them up. I'm thinking of the story about pedophila in the UK parliament; the under-reported story about known pedophile Epstein and the politicians and celebrities who hang out with himthe recent pedophile ring uncovered in Norway; and the bust of a huge child pornography ring in Canada several years ago. I think that's one of the inevitable results of a porn-saturated culture, but that's a topic for another time. 

The problem of pedophilia is real and apparently growing, and it doesn't help that more and more people are defending it. However, we need to make sure that we are focusing our justified anger properly. This is, of course, the debate about Pizzagate: have people uncovered an actual pedophilia ring that deserves righteous anger and swift judgment, or it is a groundless story that has taken on a life of its own? In an internet world full of fake, biased and distorted news, it's not always easy to tell. 

In the interest of letting you read and reach your own conclusions before offering mine, here is a list of relevant articles that represent lead voices on both sides of this story.
Pizzagate Is Real

Pizzagate Is Not Real 
* * * * *

The pizza joint in question, Comet Ping Pong, is apparently an eclectic if not at times disturbing place, and there are no doubt unsavory characters involved in this story. I hope that the things and people worth criticizing in this story don't get dismissed in the midst of this furor. Pedesto's art is unsettling; the posts on social media by Comet's owner and clientele range from fun and innocuous to bizarre and creepy. Too many people at the center of this storm are far too enamored with crude and base things. It doesn't mean the claims of a Pizzagate pedophile ring are true, but it does call into question many of the people's judgment on both aesthetic and moral matters. 

However, based on what I have seen so far, I don't believe that the most disturbing PIzzagate accusations are warranted. Unlike the stories to which I linked at the beginning of this article, no one has been arrested; no witnesses have come forward; there are no known investigations taking place. The DC police have referred to it as a "fictitious online conspiracy theory."  Megan Kelley devoted almost 10 minutes to debunking the conspiracy. There is nothing beyond speculation at this point, and frankly, too much of that speculation stretches credulity. 

I freely admit that I do not want the Pizzagate scandal to be true. If it's true, that would mean horrors have been perpetrated that are too grim to consider. It relieves me that, at this point, the evidence does not persuade me that the claims of a pedophile ring operating in Comet Ping Pong are true. Perhaps there is more to the story; if there is, I will continue to follow the evidence where it leads. 

UPDATE 1/13/17  I am continuing to follow the evidence. The New York Times has a very helpful timeline and explanation showing the remarkable way in which speculation and fabricated evidence fueled this story.

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