Really Lost

Really Lost

Yes, I’ve found a connection between the Serengeti and right-wing propaganda. Didn’t expect it would be so easy, but the take-home is that somebody out there – governments or dictators or god incarnate – needs to control social media. The wild west of information dissemination is destroying truth and I worry it may never be restored.

I’d been laboring about how to present my recent naive surprise at how incredibly deep and pervasive is the anti-vaccine sentiment on social media. I mean we all know it’s there, but when you start to mine it you realize it’s the largest black hole in the universe.

There it was, an unfathomable amount of dangerous disinformation. So much that by that fact alone it was irrefutable.

Ideas on social media develop in strict forensic ways. Some site says something, another site refutes or disputes, and still another defends the first. This back-and-forth is endless.

Take Dr. Al Johnson and his Jeff Crilley shows on YouTube. There you’ll find a very respectable looking Texan who touts his medical degrees and publications just before concluding something insane like vaccines don’t work. With a regular half million viewers, Johnson falls in the mediocre range of followed crazies.

In one short show dozens of incorrect and dangerous statements are delivered about Covid. So along comes to systematically break down the lying. That’s followed by Johnson’s Facebook followers who send comments into the viral zone, Facebook flashes up warnings, until the CDC dares to comment on the insanity through Uncle Fauci.

And then? Tucker Carlson brands the CDC the “Center for Disinformation and Confusion.”

No one on either side changes their beliefs. Everyone on every side reinforces their beliefs because of the mass confusion caused by an overwhelming amount of information, albeit that at least half of it is simply wrong.

I don’t dare try to untangle this mess, but before I leave my dispositions I wonder if something similar might be happening in an area of reality I know well.

The amount of disinformation easily unearthed by a simple Google or YouTube search of “The Serengeti” is heart-breaking. I immediately stumbled on “Lost LeBlanc,” a YouTube travel channel staring Christian LeBlanc, one of the most unappealing persons – much less world travelers – I’ve ever seen.

LeBlanc has just under 2 million subscribers to his YouTube channel and a few months ago he went to Tanzania to produce several under 20-minute shows about – among other things, the Serengeti.

Practically everything he said was either wrong, nonsensical or completely misleading. The exceptions were what he said about his sponsors, including the Four Seasons Serengeti Resort and various camera and film gear. LeBlanc has been so successful that he’s opened an online consulting business and shop to peddle his ways and means.

There’d be nothing at all wrong with this if what he was dishing out to 2 million people represented some modicum of reality. Of course I can’t speak to his many years of wild travels round the world after quitting his job as an accountant in Vancouver, but I was incensed watching his several month-old productions on the Serengeti.

Won’t take up your time with refutations. You’ll either have to believe me or not, but it was clear from the get-go that LeBlanc went where the money took him, not where his heart or curiosity might have.

From the lodges to the transport companies, it was all a scam.

The Serengeti Four Seasons Resort has a storied history starting as a Kempinski, then a Hyatt and all with corrupt political money. It’s located in one of the worst places on the veld. It may, indeed, be among the most luxurious safari lodges in East Africa but as a base for a safari it’s absurd – far from nearly everything important.

Yet that became LeBlanc’s entire Serengeti.

All I could hear myself thinking is, ‘Why doesn’t Facebook shut this down?’

Well, it’s for the same reason that Facebook hasn’t stopped Dr. Al Johnson from killing people with his false information about vaccines. Social media is out of control. We need to rethink censorship. Someone, something has to control the lying.