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Mike Cernovich's HOAXED: A Defense of Freedom of Speech

Laurence Jarvik

Posted on February 16, 2019 14:34

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I admired Mike Cernovich for his stand for freedom of speech with Milo and Pam Geller at UC Berkeley in September 2017 (an event Ann Coulter declined to attend). He stood up for freedom of speech then, and he has stood up for freedom of speech once again in this film. HOAXED deserves to be seen by every American who cares about the First Amendment, without regard to political orientation.

Filmmaker Mike Cernovich couldn't have hoped for a better narrative to frame release of HOAXED than recent news about Jussie SmollettNathan Phillips and Covington Catholic High School. With "Fake News" in the news once more, Cernovich seems to have perfect timing.

On one level, HOAXED explores the history of media hoaxes with a lawyer's precision, going back to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in the Johnson Administration, following developments (including "Pizza-gate") up to the Trump Administration.

Cernovich's, Scooter Downey's and John du Toit's best material is about what was once called the "alt-Right." HOAXED puts faces to names that have been denounced in mainstream media, so viewers may make up their own minds. 

Among the interviewees are banned and shadow-banned celebrities such as Dilbert creator Scott Adams, Infowars' Alex Jones, Proud Boy Gavin Maginnis, Project Veritas' James O'Keefe, and ex-Rebel Lauren Southern. In addition, Cernovich features YouTubers like Professor Jordan Peterson, Stephen Molyneux, Tim Pool, and Luke Rudowski, who enjoy apparent cult followings.

Cernovich also interviews marketing guru Ryan Holiday, explaining how persuasion operates in general; filmmaker Cassie Jaye, describing media attacks after directing The Red Pill, a documentary about the Men's Rights Movement; and Black Lives Matter leader Hank Newsome, who talks about outreach to Trump voters, as a Christian. All are memorably non-pigeonholed.

This seems in keeping with Cernovich's interest to move beyond labels of "Left" or "Right" into the questions of what is reported versus what is not.

For example, one episode features Cernovich's YouTube coverage of protests at the 2016 Democratic Convention--where 25,000 Bernie Sanders supporters demonstrated against Hillary Clinton. Cernovich says that when he saw that, he knew Hillary would lose. That prediction was correct, if not prophetic. But no one else covered it.

Cernovich concludes that media decisions to ignore inconvenient or unpopular events is a gross disservice to the public, because the public has a right to know, in order to participate as informed citizens of a democracy. So, HOAXED is not only about false or misleading stories--it is also about stories that remain unreported.

Odd man out in this movie is Anthony Scaramucci, short-lived White House Chief of Staff for President Trump, who must have been included as comic relief in an otherwise depressingly serious review of journalism and Big Tech.

Scarmucci's commentary is strangely amusing and endearing, displaying qualities which didn't come across during his 15 minutes of fame, so worth watching if only as a demonstration of how the media demonizes people who might be quite appealing, if you had a chance to talk to them.

I came to admire Cernovich for his stand for freedom of speech with Milo and Pam Geller at UC Berkeley in September 2017 (an event Ann Coulter declined to attend). He stood up for freedom of speech then, and he has stood up for freedom of speech once again in this film.

HOAXED deserves to be seen by every American, without regard to political orientation. 

Laurence Jarvik

Posted on February 16, 2019 14:34

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It started as a viral tweet and video clip and ended in a political firestorm. Viral footage of white Catholic students...

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