Until yesterday, I had never heard of “Diamond and Silk”. In fact, I had to Google them. Turns out they are actually two sisters from North Carolina, Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson who are live-stream video bloggers and social media personalities best known for their very vocal support of Donald Trump. (Obviously not too well “best-known”, since I never heard of them). Apparently the sisters were registered democrats until mid-2015 when Trump threw his hat into the ring.
“When he announced and we heard everything that he stood for, it was on and poppin’, and we’ve been on the Trump train ever since.”
Oh my head!The main venues of these two appear to be Twitter and Facebook. Last September, they claimed that Facebook had banned them, was restricting access by viewers to their account. Data, as reviewed by ThinkProgress and others, show their claims to be false, for their average views have been consistent for the past year. However, some of our esteemed men & women in Congress believed them without bothering to check the data, and they were hotly defended by the likes of Ted Cruz, Joe Barton and Marsha Blackburn, all republican members of Congress.
Which brings us to yesterday, when Diamond and Silk popped onto my radar because they were testifying, under oath, before Congress at the House Judiciary Committee hearing on alleged filtering practices of social media platforms. Under oath. But, like the ‘man’ they so admire, Donald Trump, that oath seems to have little, if any, meaning, for they told more falsehoods than truths. A few snippets of their testimony:
“Facebook censored us for 6 months. Facebook censored our free speech.”
“… subtle and slowly, Facebook used one mechanism at a time to diminish reach by restricting our page so that our 1.2 million followers would not see our content, thus silencing our conservative voices. When we reached out to Facebook for an explanation, they gave us the run around.”
All of which are blatant lies, as proven by the data of views to their Facebook page. And then came this question:
“Ms. Hardaway, have you ever been paid by the Trump campaign?”
And another lie …
“We have never been paid by the Trump campaign.”
The denial was repeated not just once, but at least four times. And it is untrue, for there are FEC (Federal Election Commission) records showing various payments to the women during and shortly after the 2016 election. Those records were provided to the FEC by the Trump campaign itself.
Then later in the proceedings, once they had been apprised of the FEC filing, they did that old standard Trumpian trick of going on the defensive:
“We’re familiar with that particular lie. We see that you do look at fake news. What should’ve happened is you should’ve come to our mouths to see what exactly happened, before a false narrative was put out there.”
Representative Hakeem Jeffries then asked the women if Trump had ever asked them to “monetize” their official Diamond & Silk Facebook platform, to which they responded ‘yes’, but added …
“You, as an African American, are not going to make us feel guilty because we’re going to get out here and take advantage of these platforms and monetize. I don’t see you walking up to a white person and saying ‘Oh you shouldn’t be monetizing that,’ so why are you, as an African American, making it seem like we’re doing something wrong …?”
Now … why is any of this important? We have a couple of vociferous, obviously attention-seeking women playing a Facebook version of Fox and Friends in their spare time, and they falsely claim that Facebook banned them and that they never received payment for some obscure services from Donald Trump. Big deal, right? Well, it is a big deal, but perhaps only because it speaks to the value of “testimony under oath”. If they are lying, under oath, then who else is? They did such a bad job of lying that it is nearly a joke, but others are more experienced, smarter at it, and not so easily caught in their lies. When we cannot trust those who testify at congressional hearings to tell the truth, do the hearings, then, have any value? Does anything that happens in Washington have any value anymore, or is it truly all a circus act?