By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
OPINION: Fake news hard at work at Williams conference
This is an article of the writer's opinion, and they may not reflect our views. To send a letter to the editor, go to

Scarcely recognized until recent times, the information age from which we all benefit brought with it an opposing disinformation protocol, its sponsors using various tools to limit the extent to which real truth might ever seat itself in the public mind.  That is because a disinformed population is much easier to control than an informed one. 

It is just too easy to put up a news and information website these days, make it look professional but use it to administer daily doses of purposeful deceit guided toward anyone who might venture a glance at its headlines. And then there are the mainstream media sources, each owned by one of only six multi-national media conglomerates, which perform the same disinformational activities, but on a national scale. 

Last year, I volunteered to work with a friend who made a primary run for the 9th District congressional seat.  And that experience taught me a lot regarding how the public is manipulated by purposeful political disinformation disguised as “news.”  

Here’s how it works: If a particular candidate desires to push a political message out and make it seem as though his or her campaign material comes from an impartial, disinterested, and thereby trustable source, all the candidate has to do is pay for favorable press but do it through an intermediary, such as his or her political consultant. That way the candidate can keep expense reports clean, appear in compliance with campaign regulations, and the political consultant can run the pay-for-play news operation under the radar. That is “information laundering,” fake news at its finest. 

The candidate, through a political consultant, can also pay for that “news” website to politically disembowel a competing candidate. And what I discovered is that many, perhaps even all of the headlining, major establishment candidates, use “pay-to-play news.” If you are reading a scathing review of an establishment candidate’s opponent, within a supposed news media website, or even a printed newspaper, chances are that it was paid for one way or another. Whatever happened to simply reporting what happened, what was said, and letting the people figure it out? 

And so it didn’t surprise me to read several supposed news accounts of last week’s Capitol press conference involving local state senator and gubernatorial candidate Michael Williams, who, in full disclosure, I heartily support. The sources to which I refer could only have purposely missed the point of Williams’ conference, even to the extent of placing false headlines, reporting words Williams never uttered and events that never occurred.  

According to the AJC, for example, after he was done speaking, Williams “rushed for the nearest exit … skeedaddled … vamoosed … fled the journalists.” Not true.  Williams took questions until there were no more, at which time he expressed, “Thank you guys for coming out,” turned and walked away. It’s all on video.

Another so-called news source claimed Williams’ remarks were “thin on substance” because the senator did not choose this event to fully inform the press regarding the nature of claims alleging provable offenses by Casey Cagle, which according to Williams would demonstrate that Cagle is unsuited for Georgia’s highest office. Williams’ purpose in calling the press conference, stated clearly, was to publicly advise Casey Cagle that if he did not drop out of the race, all of that would be disclosed in the future. That was not a press conference thin on substance. It was one in which the press simply refused to recognize substance when it was not of its liking. 

Shifting the focus of Williams’ remarks away from satisfying the so-called press and placing it where he actually directed it, toward Mr. Cagle, any unbiased news outlet would recognize that Cagle knows what he has done and hasn’t done. That outlet would also recognize that Cagle knows whether Sen. Williams might have anything on him or not. 

Understanding Williams’ clearly stated purpose, and recognizing that the race will proceed for another 10 months, and importantly, recognizing that Williams’ given purpose did not go beyond advising Cagle to drop out of the race, why should the press expect Williams to choose that opportunity to spill everything he might know about Cagle, offering whatever proof he might have, in total? 

Cagle could easily see the writing on the wall and drop out as Williams advised him to do. What the press willfully disregarded is that Sen. Williams demonstrated no interest in destroying Casey Cagle personally, only to advise Cagle to take a graceful way out. 

Time will tell whether Williams has anything on Cagle. If Cagle drops out, the press and the public will gather that Williams likely had the information he claims to have, along with the proof. If Cagle stays in, Williams will be forced to disclose what he knows about Cagle, alongside any proof, at which time the press and the public will have the opportunity to analyze the substance of the information Williams offers.  

Until then, the press should report what happened and not what did not happen. 

What am I missing? 

Hank Sullivan is a Forsyth County resident, businessman, author and speaker on American history, economics and geopolitics.