This past week I received a forwarded email from a friend with the title “Why Obama Hates Trump,” which stated that, since he had left office, President Obama had taken 692 travel days at the expense of the taxpayers.  It continued by saying that Obama had often taken with him not only his family members, but also friends and staff – to the extent that it had cost taxpayers about $214 million!  There actually is an allowance for ex-presidents to travel at public expense, but only reasonably and when on public business.  But, the article concludes, when President Trump found out about this activity, he immediately canceled the program, and stated he would call for Obama to reimburse the government for all non-work-related expenses.  Finally, the article encouraged the recipients to forward the information on to their social media friends – which I actually did to three people.  The next day, one of those friends responded to me that Snopes said this simply was not true.

           I fell for it!  And me, of all people!  Why?  Because within the last month I have taped interviews on my radio show* expressly talking about “fake news,” and how all responsible people should counteract it.  How?  By being skeptical before believing anything in the social media unless it was first checked out.  As you know, I am a Libertarian, and do not believe in censorship almost ever.  So that is not a way to address the problem.  And the government requiring private online groups to ban some groups or people is not what I believe should happen either.  Instead, we must all understand that sometimes the world can be a cruel and deceptive place.  So what is the answer?  Intelligence and skepticism in what we accept, what we believe and, particularly, what information we pass along to others as being true.  I hope and believe I have learned from my mistake, and for it I sincerely apologize to everyone – especially including former President Obama!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President