Ep 346 – Evaluating Evidence: Trump Dossier Ep. 2 – Infants Disclaimer

Panel Discussion

Posted February 26th, 2017

What is “fake news?”  Scott, Matt, Jake, Bob and Glenn discuss whether or not evaluating the Trump Dossier is a good idea.  Let us know your opinions on the website.






  • I’m with Matt. The fact that you would dedicate an episode to wondering whether you’re generating or promoting fake news pretty much proves that that’s not what you’re doing.

    I think we’re witnessing the establishment of a fascist dictatorship in the US. With Trump proclaiming “the press” as #1 on his enemies list, it will be interesting to see how long it will be until discussions like the one you’re proposing can no longer be had in the open. I, for one, want to hear it, if only for old times sake.

    • DB Cooper


      I can understand why you don’t like Trump. He is pompous, arrogant, braggadocios, bombastic, and a few other things like that. Fair enough. I can understand why you disagree with him politically. But, what has Trump done to indicate he is a fascist or that that he is going to convert his role as president to being a dictator?

      You said Trump proclaimed the press as #1 on his enemies list. What he really said was that FAKE media is the enemy of the people, or the country. Is that really so bad? I don’t like fake media either, no matter which way it leans. I want a media that I can trust and that tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

      I predict that in either four our eight years, Trump will step down peacefully and that we will have a new president from one of the two dominant parties.

      • DB Cooper

        Sorry, more typos slipped past me.

      • CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic Monthly, the New Yorker, the BBC are NOT “fake media.” They are THE media and they (or their progenitors) are what has kept the free world more or less free for two hundred-plus years. The first thing a dictator does is to decry the media as the “enemy of the people” and then proceed to shut it down or wrest control of it. Look it up. They all do it. A free press, as it’s usually called, is the enemy of government over-reach and unchecked power grabs, not an enemy of the people. What exactly has the “fake media” lied about? Nothing that I can think of. Trump’s main complaint is that they report what he actually says and does, which more often than not, amounts to petulant idiocy, because he is SO far out of his depth as the President of the United States.

        I think it was Bannon who was saying a week or two ago that one of their main projects is going to be to neuter the Judiciary so that the president’s decisions will not be constantly called into question. With the republican congress and senate lining up to kiss Trump’s ass, the lack of a functioning judicial branch would pretty much eliminate any checks or balances on his actions, making him pretty much a dictator.

        And what’s this business of increasing the military budget by 10% at the expense of domestic programs? What for? The Bannon administration apparently thinks it needs to get the US on a war footing to stay in power. They need to get people’s attention focused on some imagined external threat and away from what a shitty job they are doing for the actual people at home. All burgeoning dictatorships do this. Look it up.

        Right now, I put the odds of there being elections in 2020 at 50:50. The Bannon administration really needs to do some major power grabs, like shutting down or disenfranchising major sectors of the media, in the coming year. It would be very embarrassing to have both houses of congress flip in the 2018 elections. That would force them to declare Trump Emperor before they were really ready to do so. All of this is going to happen a LOT quicker than anyone thinks.

        • DB Cooper

          Saint Ralph,

          Until last night, I have only ever been a lurker on this or any other site, church related or otherwise. Over the last couple years I’ve noticed that you are prolific in your writing, in multiple places. I hope that I don’t make an adversary out of you. Or vice versa.

          For every dictator or tyrant that has existed, there has been a different path on how they got there. But I concede the point that abolishing or controlling the press and communication is at least one of the first things that dictators do. Dictators get the press to lie, cover-up, downplay, selectively ignore, and exaggerate things for them. I agree wholeheartedly that a free, open, honest press is essential to liberty.

          Just one recent lie off the top of my head, but I can come up with more if need be. The press falsely and without any kind verification reported that the Whitehouse removed the MLK bust in an effort to stir things up and turn people against Trump. I agree that doesn’t really make them fake. It just makes them liars and shows their bias.

          The “fake” thing is just hyperbole and Trump’s way of turning something the press was trying to use to take him down against them. Just a couple days ago I heard Trump in a speech say about the media, and I’m paraphrasing from memory so his wording was a lot different, “that is fine if I do something wrong and they report on it, I just don’t like it when they make stuff up.”

          Trump has fought back to the press that is trying to bring him down. He has insulted them. That is not the same thing as shutting it down. If we start to see Trump sending in goon squads to destroy printing presses either literally or metaphorically, if we see him using the IRS to destroy or stop his opposition, if he uses the DOJ to bankrupt liberals, if he sends in thugs to Democratic rallies, if he gets debate questions in advance, if he sells guns to drug cartels in Mexico, if he gives another 20 percent of the nation’s uranium supply to Russia beyond the 20 prevent they already got, if he lets our embassador in a mideastern country get killed and refuse to send in the troops and then lies about it that it was caused by an obscure hitherto unknown U-tube video, if people around him start committing suicide in unusual circumstances, if he sends war planes to bomb Croatia to distract from his getting caught getting ******* in the oval office by a 20 year old under his employ, if he rents out the Lincoln bedroom for personal enrichment, if he pardons felons like Mark Rich that give him ultra large donations, if he encourages race riots, if he attacks the police, then I will be right there with you.

          I can’t find anything about Bannon wanting to neuter the judiciary in a Google search. Maybe I didn’t use the right search terms.

          On that point, resorting to “look it up” is not a strong supporting argument. In fact, it is lazy.

          The Republicans in the House and the Senate are not all in lock step with Trump. To the contrary, many of them have opposed him and backpedaled all along, and still do, the RINOs and spineless wimps. One thing the Democrats do remarkably well is sick together. They never turn on each other no matter what one of them has done. Republican leaders all too frequently set up circular firing squads or cut and run.

          On your thoughts on tyrants and dictators and fascists and Trump becoming one, how much of that is hyperbole? Because if you really think that is a likely scenario, you really ought to think about selling everything that you can’t transport easily and finding a safer place to live. I don’t say that dismissively, like “leave, get out of here!” What I mean is that if you really really really believe that, then there is likely to be war, bloodshed, and destruction like we have never seen before. You would be best getting out and going somewhere better while you can.

          I for one am banking on, in the next few years, more people in the workforce, more companies returning to the USA, more things being built here, lower taxes, greater safety, lower odds of war, less regulation and control, greater states rights, a more honest federal court system, fewer people on the dole, lower insurance costs, the president having the backs of the police, protection of install rights, a stronger military, better trade deals, and fewer actual tyrants thumbing their nose at us, and a higher standard of living for us all.

          • DB Cooper

            Again, a few typos evaded me.

          • I’m not trying to present evidence to convince anyone of anything. I’m not a formal debater. If you’ve read my posts elsewhere you know that I put no stock at all in formal debate and have very little respect for formal debaters who take what they do seriously. It’s Kabuki or Noh or Shakespearean drama. Everybody knows how it turns out. It has to go the way it goes. It’s nothing but entertainment—until it’s not. In a formal debate, neither party could ever admit that they’d been swayed one way or the other even if they had.

            You have to justify your beliefs, but your beliefs will be your beliefs whether you can justify them or not. I’m just telling you what to expect. It won’t take very long to see what I’m talking about. Major power grabs will have to be executed by April or May of 2018 in order to keep absolute control over the 2018 mid-terms. You’ll see soon enough.

          • DB Cooper

            Thanks for the tip. I’ll see if I can figure out how to do it. Because I have plenty of typos spread out in those out-of-control posts I made today when I was bingeing.

  • TK

    Wow. You need to re-record this episode (or at least the first part of it; stopped listening at 20 min) at a time when the participants can keep their emotions in check. Maybe this shows what kind of an echo chamber IoT usually is, if at the first sign of genuine disagreement the participants begin yelling and swearing at each other to this extent.

    • Since my first chance to make a point wasn’t until about minute 23, sure, I could be onboard with this. 😉

    • Ryan Gregson

      The fact that the infants very frequently disagree with each other has always been one of their strengths.

      • DB Cooper

        But it is so much better when it is respectful and with sound reasoning and logic. And when participants listen to each other.

        • Ryan Gregson

          True, or at the very least, tempered with humor.

          • DB Cooper

            Yes, definitely humor.

    • TK

      You know what, I’ve rethought my comment here. I think I was hasty and overreacted. I listen to IoT because of the passion, comedy, and free-wheeling discussion. I like that you pick topics that you enjoy or think are important and hash it out from an exmormon perspective. There’s always npr if I only wanted ‘polite’ discourse.

  • LoTfan

    What a waste of time. I can listen to politics anywhere I want. I come here to learn to cope with losing my faith not here a bunch of blowhards complain about vitriol by spewing even more vitriol. The beginning of the end of this podcast. I’ll just listen to the old episodes.

    • Glenn

      Lol. These responses are fascinating.

      The beginning of the end happened a long time ago. And you are free to listen to whatever you want. But FWIW, the next installment of this series blends the mormon-isms with the politics-isms in a pretty fun and organic way. Scott is definitely on to something here. And the approach and tone we are going to take with this series will be very different than what you heard in this episode. You may not like that either. But we do. And that’s why we still do this. But thanks for the comment. You have been heard.

  • Charles

    This made me feel all those things on the “When you don’t have the Spirit” list.

    • Glenn

      Funny. I like it.

  • Jason Jordan Smith

    WOW! That was…entertaining.
    First, I wholeheartedly see Jake’s concern. While I was listening to this, the one question that was going through by mind was ‘Is there some other motive for doing this dossier thing?’ Since it’s obvious that there’s no love lost for Trump from any of the infants, a listener might walk away from this with the idea that even though the unsubstantiated information was addressed as unsubstantiated, there could be this “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” subtext that everyone believes it anyway, so let’s create a Piss-on-Trump Echo Chamber Party. If that were to be the case, then I think it would be problematic. It could potentially make IOT look like a liberal pundit podcast. I’m not saying that this would actually happen, I’m just saying that I’m interpreting this as being part of Jake’s concern.
    Second, I agree with Jake that if any of the information in the dossier is false, then that definitely calls anything else unverified into question. I cannot side with Scott that the verifiable information only lends credence to the unverified (at least, that’s how I understood what he was saying). I simply don’t see the logic of that, that is, to assume that something is true because other information from the same source is true. For me, until something has been vetted as true and substantiated, then it is as good as a work a fiction. I think it wise to err on the side of caution when it comes to allegations of any sort. Additionally, I think it would be wise to analyze each claim separately (regarding its veracity) and take special care not to lump it in with the verifiable claims while reading the dossier.

  • DB Cooper

    I am feeling extreme cognitive dissonance. I love listening to Infants on Thrones when they talk about the church and its history and expose the lies falsehoods and hypocrisies. But when I hear them support and endorse a candidate who literally sold access to her office to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, compromised the security of our nation having her own private email server in clear violation of the law, who lies and covers up constantly, my head sounds in disillusionment. When I hear the infants bash someone who believes in the rule of law, who stands up for his country, who wants to protect the sovereignty his nation, who doesn’t back down to the biased media, who wants to help our country create well paying jobs, in spite of his flaws, I am dismayed.

    I feel betrayed by the church. The infants have helped me deal with it and not feel alone and be able to laugh about it at times. I am very grateful for that. But why defend a criminal who violated the nation’s trust many many times while in public office. Why attack a patriot who is our duly elected president.

    Fascists are the ones who when they don’t get their way think they are justified by any means necessary to force their way on everyone else. Fascists shut down free speech, prevent the free flow of ideas, can’t tolerate opposing thoughts, block traffic and freedom of movement, rudely shout opponents down, light cars on fire, bash windows, intimidate people, ignore the Constitution and the rule of law, use government agencies to put down their opponents, leave destruction and mayhem and trash and vandalism in their path.

    Trump said the FAKE news is the enemy of the people, not all media. Fake news is an enemy of the public no matter which side it is on. We need a free, impartial news media.

    Liberals are very successful at accusing their opponents of the very things liberals do. Conservatives go to work and believe in democracy and the rule of law. Liberals want power, want to take things from other people, want things for free, want to live off the sole of others, believe in violence if it helps them get their way. Liberals are the fascists. We dodged a bullet by not electing Hillary. It was close, but we were lucky. Hillary and her supporters are the fascists.

    • Glenn

      This may be my favorite comment ever.

      We’ll have to address this in an upcoming installment of this series. Thanks for taking the time to share your feelings.

    • Charles


    • Susan Mowers

      It’s interesting having been on both sides of the political spectrum. Each side (liberals and conservatives alike), show evidence of wrong-doing on the other party’s side, and turn a blinder eye to their own wrong doings or hypocrisy. It’s what tribes do.

      • DB Cooper

        My main point, at least the one I started out with and intended to make, was the head-swirling cognitive dissonance I get with the episodes with Trump bashing and that give oxygen to half truths, innuendos, and falsehoods.
        I love love love the infants and appreciate all the hard work they put into their podcasts. I love their wit, creativity, and humor. And they do it out of the goodness of their hearts.
        They are like invisible friends, even if it is one sided and they don’t know me from Adam and I would probably not recognize them if we bumped into each other in the street. I still sort of feel like they are my good friends that I look forward to hearing from with eager anticipation.
        Then when I hear the infants viciously attacking the president, the one who wants to help America the one I voted for, I feel the world spinning out from under me. It is hard to know what to make of it. I love the infants, but they are attacking my political belief system.

        • Gary

          The irony is … you are likewise attacking other people’s belief system. Your characterization of the other side is just as much of a problem. Motivated reasoning is a disservice to all political ideologies.

          As we all learned from Mormonism, starting with the conclusion and working backwards doesn’t always lead to the right conclusion. Starting with the facts and following the scientific method gets us to the best conclusion. Irrespective if it’s a conservative or a liberal ideal.

          • DB Cooper

            On the irony, yes that is a fair point, but only in my opening comment, not in my follow up remark. I don’t think I mentioned anything about the liberal candidate in my second round. Hoisted by my own petard. Ugh!

            I was trying to lay foundation on where my views lie, and to show why I find my head spinning when I hear people whom I respect and appreciate in one area saying things that I find objectionable in another topic.

            I agree entirely with your second point, the paragraph about conclusions and the scientific method. If I was off somewhere in that regard, I’d love to hear about it.

        • Glenn

          DB – I love your comments here, brother. I get what you are saying about dissonance. Have you read Jonathan Haidt’s “The Righteous Mind?” We have discussed it before on the podcast and we will discuss it more in future episodes. The subtitle of the book is “Why Good people are divided by politics and religions.” Such a great topic to explore.

          The important focus of that subtitle — and one that I am really trying hard to understand better and to implement into my daily life — is that first part: Why GOOD (and moral) people are divided.

          When people feel their belief systems being threatened or invalidated, we all too easily devolve into mockery and name-calling and ridiculing. I am as guilty of doing that (if not more so) than anyone. It’s something I’m trying to work on.

          What I hear in your comments is that you are a good person who feels connected to the Infants when we talk about religion, but divided from the Infants when we talk about politics. But that’s OK. Please stick with us on this. Help us see your side of things. There must be some very good reasons why you feel so strongly that Trump is a person who you trust to represent your value system. Even with my TBM Whisperer skills, I have a hard time imagining what those reasons could be for you (or for anyone), because Trump — as a person, regardless of politics — is and always has been someone who does not represent my values at all.

          But I bet that if you and I sat down and talked about our values, we would find we share more in common than than we differ. So this is a fascinating situation to me — to try and better understand why this is — and to try to do that in a thoughtful, respectful — yet still Infantly-playful way (without crossing the line into mockery and ridicule).

          So I genuinely appreciate and respect your comments here. If you ever want to do a listener essay or come on to discuss this with us, let me know. You can email us at infantsonthrones@gmail.com. Thanks brother!

          • DB Cooper

            Glen, I’ve been meaning to reply to you all day but I keep getting distracted by other comments attached to this episode. In one day, I’ve gone from almost never posting anything anywhere to being one of those crazy guys that posts things all the time thinking that people care. I’m going to have to attend one of those church recovery-from-addiction meetings put on by the stake.

            I have listened to every one of your podcast episodes, some of them multiple times. In fact, over the last four or so years, I have burned through every Mormon-themed podcast that isn’t apologetic and sappy that I can find.

            I have not read the Jonathan Haidt book, but it is on my list. I really enjoyed that episode, which is what brought the book to my attention. Right now I am pushing through the book on David McKay by Greg Prince. My TBM wife and I are reading it together. It is the closest thing to a non-apologetic book l can get her to read.

            About Trump. I was never a fan of him. He has been in the news since the 70s. I could never see what the obsession with him was by the media. I found him obnoxious and conceited, but I didn’t pay much attention to him. I never watched The Apprentice nor saw the appeal of the show. When I heard he was running for president, I thought to myself, “what a joke!”.

            I voted for Rubio on the primaries. He is very bright and articulate. And a patriot. At least that’s how he came across to me. I like Cruz too, maybe more. But I have a problem with his not being a natural-born citizen. So does the Constitution.

            Then I heard Trump speak. He says things that no other politician says. He is politically incorrect. He said things in favor of our country. He said he wants to make America great. He never backed down to the press. He stood up to them. He doesn’t pander.

            I liked that. I’m so tired of weak-kneed republican politicians that don’t keep their promises and cower in fear and back down at the first sign of opposition and are full of excuses once they get in office. I’m tired of republican politicians that give up before they try. I’m tired of Republicans that tremble in fear if someone calls them a racist or sexist.

            Trump is a bully and an SOB. I’ll give you that. He is an alpha male. (I’m not, by the way, as much as I wish it weren’t that way.) His speeches are sometimes rambling and not that coherent. But he says bold things.

            The Democrats have lots of bullies. And they stick together no matter what. And they have the press that always covers for them. It is about time the Republicans get a bully on their side for once, someone that will stand up for Americans, ALL Americans. Someone who cares about jobs. About peace, prosperity, and the rule of law. Someone who thinks it is wrong to steal from our children and grandchildren by piling on debt that future generations will have to pay to subsidize our lifestyle today. Someone that won’t tolerate terrorists. Someone that won’t drum up war.

            And unless I’ve missed something somewhere, I have never heard him campaign on anything that is anti-gay. In fact I’ve heard him say things in favor of gay rights. That is at least one thing not to hate about him. I think gay marriage and gay rights will be safe under him. That’s something.

          • DB Cooper

            By the way, I’m not in favor of racism or sexism or gayism (even if that isn’t a word). I just don’t like when Republicans cower and cave at false charges of those things. The left uses those words as weapons, like they are some magic button that is untouchable and indisputable by Republicans that always lets the left get its way.

          • DB Cooper

            One last thing. Way back in the 90s, when the internet was not yet widespread and most people didn’t have home computers, at least not like today, before Google existed, pretty much pre-email, at least it was really new, I had recently gotten access to the Internet at work. Before then, I had heard of it, but thought it must be something in black and green, like in the movie War Games with Matthew Broderick.

            I was amazed to see that it had color, and graphics and a variety of font sizes, that it was an amazing thing. That it was full of information that you could look up in a moment.

            I stayed late at work one night to see if I could find some answers to things about the church that I had on my shelf, though I don’t think I used that term at that time. I wanted to be able to have ready answers for those hard and awkward questions that non-Mormons sometimes had, you know the people that had not yet embraced the gospel as they inevitably would someday.

            That’s when my shelf broke. I found things that shocked me. I felt my world spin. The lynch pin for me was a site that talked about the book of Abraham and the papyrus. At first I was in denial. Then I saw photos of the papyrus. Actually, I felt my world crash. Except for the time frame, this is a common story among most of your listeners probably.

            Here is one difference. At that time, I also received an E-mail from BYU or read an article by them, one of the two, that featured a young grad student named Glenn who was studying folklore. He had compiled for his thesis a whole bunch of Mormon missionary folklore or urban legends or whatever you want to call it. He was very good at making the research sound like it was all faith promoting.

            This grad student had a web site that I found with all the mormon missionary lore he had collected, well organized and indexed and categorized in different ways. I read the same miraculous stories that I had heard on my mission, faith promoting stories that happened in my mission, specifically my mission, stories that had bolstered my testimony, stories that had kept me strong, stories that made me feel special and brave and protected, stories that had happened not too far back and to people not too far removed from me.

            The only trouble was that the same stories, or close versions of them, had happened in every mission in the world, to every generation of missionary. That was crash number two. It was either the same night I read about and saw the photos of the papyrus or very close to the same night. What a let down! All those miraculous stories up in smoke in about thirty minutes of reading.

            After a while I lost track of the web site. Back in those days web sites came and went a lot.

            I tried to talk about the things I discovered about the church to my wife and a few friends. But that was a disaster. So I let it go, put it on a shelf, found ways to rationalize it, held callings, paid tithing, attended, pretended, and suffered in silence.

            I still go to church even now. And hold a recommend. And a calling, though at the moment it is a peripheral stake calling. Almost entirely my social life is dominated by the church. To keep the peace, I never talk about the historical problems of the church with my kids.

            Years later, four or five or six years ago, I discovered podcasts. Then Mormon podcasts. It was like finding a home, a place where I belonged with people that understood me. Mormon-themed podcasts help me survive.

            Amongst those Mormon podcasts, I discovered Mormon Expression, after a while of working through the history of the episodes, there was a new guy that came on the podcast. He mentioned folklore and grad school and working on a PhD and he knew a lot about it. And then it clicked. This is the guy!!!!! This is the guy!!!! This is that guy that made that web site!!! He has a voice and he’s smart!!!! It was like finding a long lost friend. Sort of, of course.

            As is obvious, that was you.

            I’m a big fan of yours Glenn. I love your insight and way of explaining things. I love your attention to detail and your wry sense of humor. Thank you for your part in Infants on Thrones. And in the past, on Mormon Expression.

          • Glenn

            Wow! Thanks man. I have often wondered if anyone out there ever remembered that missionary folklore site back from 1997-99 or so. I wish I still had it. I’ll have to talk about it on a future episode. I may even still have some of the stories. I was still a believer then as well, and when I saw that the evil Tanners had linked to my French Misshion Apostasy page I realized that my love of these stories was being used by anti-Mormons to make people lose their faith. That was one of the main reasons I stopped doing it. Thanks for this, brother!

        • Gabriel von Himmel

          Beware, I am The Trumpster
          Evangelical Drumming circle

          “Beware the leader who beats the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into patriotic fervor, for patriotism is a double-edged sword. It emboldens the blood and narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need to seize the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am The Trumpster.”

          attributed to the complacent people that want a fake leader

          • DB Cooper

            Trump is pretty critical of war and of creating tensions that lead to war. Hillary voted for war. So I think your attack is misplaced.

          • DB Cooper

            Bill used war to divert attention away from an affair he had with a naive woman young enough to be his daughter and then some, in a huge imbalance of power and then disposed of her like yesterday’s newspaper.

            Save your poem for when Trump starts talking up war. That would be a fair argument in that case.

  • ProudHighway

    The intro clip of what I can only guess is Richard Spencer (?) saying “hail Trump” is foreshadowing of a conscious effort to attribute the most fringe ideas and aberrant factions with an elected president whose policies have mainstream support. Look at the exit poll demos, look at the polls on the “Muslim ban.” Leftist act like the goofy 3-5k white supremacist (who are in fact divided on Trump) handed him a victory and are the ones influencing policy.

    I don’t know any serious people who attributed the NBPP with Obama. Ditto for the truly repugnant Westboro Baptists to the Democratic Party.

    All the commentary was really derivative. If I want snarky, advocacy-commentarty I can watch TyT. If I want classic liberal Dave Rubin. Not sure where this fits in, except perhaps as vanity taking hold. The perpetual outrage machine is what got Trump elected anyway.

  • Kevin Kelly

    Loved the discussion. Please continue the series on the dossier – I trust your listeners to be able to make the value judgments needs to determine the validity of news and opinion AND the difference between the two. I suspect we are generally more informed than the general public. Give us that much credit.

  • Ryan Gregson

    I’ve kinda missed these episodes where you guys get REALLY pissed at each other. Fun stuff.

    • Ryan Gregson

      That being said, damn, you guys are taking it real personally. Interesting how different the tone is with a different subject matter.

  • Morman

    Although I didn’t vote for Trump and disagree with 99% of what he does, it is people like Matt that make me want to support him. Completely unhinged. Hopefully he has more skill in the courtroom than to say ‘f*** you’ to anyone he disagrees with. I agree with Jake. Why read through something that is not verified? Trump Derangement Syndrome seems to have taken over the Infants.

    Not you Jake and Glenn, I always like you two. Usually very level headed.

  • Jay

    The dossier could be a Rorschach test for uncovering bias. For example, some statements in the dossier talk about internal discussions at the Kremlin that undermine Trump’s legitimacy. Just taken at their face, there’s no way that your average Joe can know if those statements are true. If you surveyed 100 registered Democrats, they will very likely report the statements more credible. If you surveyed 100 registered Republicans, they would likely report the statements to be less credible. Both groups would claim to evaluate the evidence based on its merit.

    I don’t believe that such as thing as an unbiased review of evidence exists in this case. We have all been involved in the national conversation about Trump and everybody has an opinion. I’m skeptical of people who claim that they can evaluate information without bias. To me that signals that you simply aren’t aware of how your biases influence your evaluations.

    It’s difficult for me to see how a paragraph by paragraph dissection of the dossier will be constructive.

  • I love the discussion. But if Jake says “pizza sex parlor” one more time, I might 100% believe it’s true 😉

  • Dory Walker

    wow guys – I wish I could have listened to more of the podcast – I didn’t last long enough to find out where the panel went with the topic. When I want to listen to guys yelling and talking over each other to prove their point I need a heads up – mostly so I can choose to NOT LISTEN. I was looking forward, even eager for an intelligent discussion. I got monkeys throwing tantrums (or worse).

  • Susan Mowers

    This was a bit hard to slog through, but at the same time I’m glad you guys share your arguments. They make me think more. Here is what fake news is to my understanding: unverified reports being reported as TRUE *before* they are verified. Also, new reported from suspicious or uncredible sources. Since you guys aren’t a news reporting podcast I have no issue with hearing a commentary on this dossier – all the parts of it, unverified and all. I even wouldn’t mind you commenting on some crazy conspiracy theory because I know you guys take on current issues to give them thoughtful commentary.

    I wouldn’t assume if you had an episode on, say, us never landing on the moon, that it was something I should take as truth because, 1) You aren’t journalists and I know this, and 2) I know it would get just the same commentary (and especially smackdown) that you always do. That’s actually one of the reasons I listen to you guys – because you question things. I expect nothing less in the stuff about the dossier. That you will comment, smackdown where necessary, and everything in between.

    Plus, this “fake news” phenomenon isn’t new we realize, right? It’s just amplified by our increasingly using social channels as a news source. And, you guys have in the past offered lots of commentary and opinions on things without being “verified.” That’s the fun of it. Opinions, arguments, smackdowns. That’s why I’m here at least.

    Let the games begin!

  • Orrin Dayne

    It sounds like the proposed approach is to start with the document’s provenance to set a baseline and then look at each assertion in the document based on its own merits (i.e., how well sourced by the author and, of course, any related factual confirmations by news outlets) without imputing reliability from one assertion to an unrelated assertion. If so, I am interested to listen to your end product.

    Also, it was fun to have the “Book of Abraham Smackdown” version of Jake drop by for a visit. 🙂

  • Skippy

    I think you guys are using the term “fake news” wrong. It’s not news that later was proven to be incorrect. That happens all the time. Legitimate news sources issue retractions, etc. Fake news is when non-journalists create a story and try to pass it of as a legitimate news article for the purpose of furthering a specific agenda or just to make money off of clicks. Trump has recently tried to take over and redefine the term, so maybe that is what has caused the confusion….

    • Bryce Jones

      This is exactly correct. The dossier is most certainly news. Whether it’s true or not is irrelevant.

  • Joshua Peters

    Jake, apparently you all ought to shut up on all this Mormon stuff and leave it to the serious professionals. Folks like Holland and Oaks are the only ones that really have the correct training and methodology to talk and present on Mormonism. The stuff you and the other infants have been doing already has been labeled as ‘fake news’ by traditional Mormons. They might say “anti-Mormon”, but it’s really just another way they have of saying that it is fake news.

    • Gabriel von Himmel

      Professional Mormonism is over-rated

  • Joshua Peters

    You all should absolutely continue doing whatever topics you want. I for one enjoy just about every episode you’ve put out. If it drags on a bit, I might only make it part way through before skipping on to something else. Everyone has the ability to do that, so fellow listeners, quit your whining. Just skip if you don’t like it.

    I’m glad you posted this episode in it’s entirety. That said, Jake–why not just bow out on this one if you fundamentally feel like it’s against your values? You made your objections clear in the first 10 minutes. And your objections add a valuable warning to the conversation. But why do you feel such a need to not let the discussion continue? You admit a double standard–so just make your objections known and then let the others continue as they want.

    • DB Cooper

      There was never any question that the infants can do whatever they want with the podcast. It’s their podcast. They do it in their free time and some combination of them presumably foot the bill for it.

      The question is, do episodes like this one help their brand. Episodes with hostile arguments and insults, episodes that attack the president that almost half the country and the overwhelming majority of states voted for. Why alienate so many of their listeners.

      I may be going out on a limb here, but I would guess that these comments are one of the few ways the infants have to hear back from their listeners. They did choose to make leaving comments available. They didn’t have to to do that, but they did. It is not scientific sampling, but at least it is something.

      I would guess that the infants do these podcasts for a few different reasons. One, they enjoy each other’s company. Two, it is therapeutic for them. Three, they enjoy helping other people. Four, they get satisfaction from having listeners. Those are just my guesses, of course.

      I would also guess that they get satisfaction by keeping their listenership high.

      Do listeners enjoy the podcasts with fighting and politics. Based on some of the comments below, it looks like some people do. I don’t. I like the episodes that have the philosophies of men mingled humor. And especially religion.

      • Gabriel von Himmel

        Religion: Harleys on the Whitehouse lawn. Oh bring it back again.
        Search it for yourself?
        The Me–Trumpublican lives in the psyche of america, hoping for a brighter day.
        Gott will.
        for ever and ever . . . etc.

  • Gabriel von Himmel

    The unreliable narrator and the meaning of truth, the spectrum of alternate facts –– radiant.
    Thanks for trolling beyond the Mormon Organ,

    As mentor, Roy Cohn was the big pimple for excess.
    Basically, I’l believe most anything about trump; the trumpeter is the hyper- chimera of the american way.
    Roy Cohn, Trump and Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy were soul-mates for the highest good –– the art of the deal.
    Me-Trumpublicans will be remembered as a glitch (pit fall) on the path to American Exceptionalism.

    Atavists and Neo troglodytes unite.

    Infants, I love the do the way you do. Carry on please.

    • Holy shit, von Himmel! Those Roy Cohns are the same Roy Cohn? No fucking wonder! The repetition of history is getting looped back on itself almost too tightly to even follow. Wow.

      • Gabriel von Himmel

        Yes my Sainted Ralph.
        I’m glad you took a look.
        Smarmy is as smarmy does.
        J. Edgar and Richard M. would beam with humility.

        • Gabriel von Himmel

          St Ralph, our collective connection is rooted in our understanding of the sakes at play,
          Gary Cohn is mentor to Roy –– ENJOY.

    • Brandon

      Wow… Guess who else worked with Roy Cohn… From Wikipedia: “Cohn aided Roger Stone in Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign in 1979–80”

  • Zelph’s White Lamanite Dossier

    This episode was painful to listen to. It’s disappointing that a non-lawyer (Jake) had to explain to two lawyers (Matt and Scott) why it’s a bad idea to devote a series to discussing a document that consitutes double-hearsay by anonymous sources (identified as Source A, Source B, etc.) and which was paid-for by Trump’s political opponents. No lawyer who has even a cursory understanding of the rules of evidence should need someone to explain to him why the dossier is biased and unreliable as evidence of anything. And the overwhelming majority of reputable news organizations have understamdably stayed away from the dossier for the same reasons.

    But a couple of the IOT guys are more qualified than the entire judicial system and reputable news organizations to know how to sift truth from error when it comes to the dossier? Really? Wow.

    Jake was 100% on target with his reservations and criticism.

    There is plenty to criticize about things we know Trump has actually said and done. So there’s no need to devote a series to things nobody actually knows Trump’s team said or did. It’s the political equivalent of devoting a series to the alleged merits of aluminum foil deflector beanies.

    At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s abundantly clear that the only reason a couple amateurs who know better than to do this would want to do it anyway is to lend credence to rumor and innuemdo that maligns a President they dislike.

    Neither Matt nor Scott can confirm whether Source A referenced in the dossier said X on any given day. And they know it.

    So what’s the point of discussing something they cannot possibly know is true? None whatsover. I’ll be skipping the rest of the series.

    • DB Cooper

      Discussing the dossier is along the lines of the old political dirty trick of throwing out allegations that you know are not true against an opponent because it is fun to watch him or her have to squirm to explain it away.

      Harry Reid on the floor of the Senate accusing Romney of not paying taxes when Reid knew it was a lie is such an example. Political ads accusing Romney of letting his employees die due to insurance is another. I’m guessing that most of us that listen to the infants have at least some pain caused by the church. But whether you liked Romney or not, you have to admit that he probably a decent guy. The mud slinging against his was unfair.

      The “dossier” against Trump is also pure mud slinging. Trump has a lot of qualities that are not likable and are fair game. But that doesn’t excuse giving air time to the mud. To pretend like “we’re just investigating” is a ruse to besmirch someone that that at least some of the infants dislike intensely.

      • DB Cooper

        Sorry for the typos. It’s that dang auto-correct.

    • Samuel Rogers

      Well said

  • Charlie Brule

    Some thoughts on this discussion…

    Jake: I love you, man, and you have something important to say but you have to shut the fuck up every once in a while. This is a dialog, not Hamlet’s fucking soliloquy. It’s okay to let Scott and Matt say a few words.

    What ruined this election wasn’t Fake News per se; it’s the fact that everyone seems to be walking around sniffing their own farts and ignoring intellectual honesty. This sort of dissection of source material isn’t the sole principality of some sort of journalistic royalty; point in fact, the lack of let’s say “commoners” executing this sort of critical thought is what got us in this godawful mess in the first place.

    Have you read Trump’s Twitter? The pee pee party is probably real, truth be told. What’s scary is that his followers couldn’t give less fucks.

    Bob Caswell. You need to be on more often because I universally enjoy Bob episodes. I have a hard time swallowing the presumption that a man who literally took the Mormon experience and quantified it into an analytical score lacks the toolkit to think critically about this dossier. You’re just as smart as everyone else here; definitely smarter than Glenn ;). You’re the only one who thinks otherwise.

    Where the hell was Randy? I’d have been interested to hear his viewpoint on this issue.

    Overall, great episode and good discussion, guys. Especially Matt who is right. But that’s not News. 😉

  • Big bubbaa

    Fake news isn’t anything new and has been around for a long time. In association with the internet in the early-mid 2000’s it has been a long standing terminology in certain circles for Chinese and Russian social media and news sites for purpose driven trolling and response testing to news that is almost always completely fabricated. In the last few years its morphed into a specific agenda driven propaganda that fits in with an echo chamber narrative that can later be proven false as a means to discredit an entirely movement, ideology, candidate, etc. As for the recent election before the MSM started using fake news it was specifically a term that was being passed around occasionally to describe paid shills working for Correct The Record and organizations being paid to spread misinformation and discrediting Julian Assange as a Russian agent, rapist and pedophile. It was also being used to describe the Main Stream Medias lack of journalistic integrity, transparency, and making backroom deals with Hillary Clinton and the clinton campaign.

    Fake news was then co-opted by Podesta, Clinton, etc to fight against “pizza gate,”
    which basically started from weird wording and odd phrases thought to be code words found in Podesta’s emails that involves pedophilia. Along with purported use of unclassified FBI pedophile terms and symbols. This led to accusations towards Podesta, the Clintons, and many other DC insiders and Hollywood of practicing satanic rituals, child sex abuse, child murder, and child trafficking. It was also a political move on Clinton and Podesta’s part to associate wiki-leaks with said movement thus flipping the tables and deflecting the damaging emails and documents from various leaks. Jake was 100% right on this point that the fake news angle was now being used to warn against spreading news etc through social media and and other sources that has not been vetted by trained journalists etc. The irony is that many of these Journalists and their employers were the reason fake news started getting thrown around in the first place because more and more leaks were showing a systemic lack of journalistic integrity.

    I’ve already written way too much so I’ll just point out that the CIA has made official reports about Russia hacking the election with zero evidence. None. In effect it is fake news that Russia hacked the election and worked with wiki-leaks. None of the reports have any evidence showing such. So what does this have to do with the dossier? If the CIA is willing to put out reports that the Russians hacked the election when they can’t offer any evidence at all yet the CIA is unwilling to back the Trump Dossier perhaps this should tell you something about the credibility of the claims being made in the dossier. Not to mention it was floating around months before buzzfeed published it and no reputable papers were willing to publish it because not only was most of it unverifiable but many intelligence community professionals rejected its credibility in almost all respects. It’s also worth noting that besides the dubious nature of the politically backed dossier a number of claims and people mentioned outright reject the allegations being made in it.

    P.S. Trump then hijacked the term fake news to fight allegations of Russian involvement with his campaign and himself, much of which is a mirror to the “pizza gate” accusations. There’s not much evidence for both and a whole lot of unverifiable claims being made. Sounds like fake news to me… whatever that is.

  • Chpruc

    I love you guys and respect your intelligence individually and collectively.

    But it’s obvious none of you had journalism training or experience.

    With your reach, surely you could’ve invited an investigative or forensic journalist or a professor in the field to join you.

    The problem with Journalism is that everyone thinks it’s easy and they can do it. Many don’t realize the training and experiential demands. One has to take two-to-four more law classes and many more internships than their pre-Law peers at Pepperdine, for example.

    You guys worked some things out but missed huge procedural, techical, philosophical and ethical aspects of the topic.

    At times, you were struggling with terminologies and nomenclatures with specific definitions in journalism.

    Legal training can be a good bedrock for journalistic work but the operational framework of the journalist is quite a bit different.

  • Ryan Gregson

    I think there’s some confusion as to what the purpose of the series is. I think that Matt and Scott and everyone are smart enough to distinguish credible from non credible sources, but the thing is they can’t go any further than the journalists who have done the leg work to properly validate. I think that’s where some of the talking past each other happens. Jake is saying ‘you can’t validate any more or less than what the journalists have done, and the journalists have deemed this document as untrustworthy, as a whole’. But that may not be Scott’s intention.

  • NA_Rules_33

    I fell more on the side of disagreeing with Jake, but could not
    believe the response from Matt. I’ve always appreciated Matt’s voice and
    perspective and had great respect for him as a professional. I hope
    he’s embarrassed of his behavior because I sure am, I hope none of
    the people who I have recommended this podcast to ever listen to this
    episode. He sounded like a red-faced Alex Jones yelling “fuck you” to
    someone who is apparently a friend. I’m seriously suspect of the sanity
    of someone who can lose control their emotions to that degree, partially
    because I have experience with family members who have borderline
    personality issues.

    Not sure if Matt is included in this but I
    know several of the infants have been diving down the Sam Harris rabbit
    hole. I have too and some of the best ideas he has to offer are about
    productive civil dialogue. He said “We have two options as human beings.
    We have a choice between conversation and war. That’s it. Conversation
    and violence.” Behaving like Matt did is skipping the conversation and
    heading towards violence. If this is the tone you guys are capable of
    producing you need to skip political discussions. There’s a dark
    satisfaction in watching Jerry Springer guests lose their shit at each
    other, but not at all when it’s people you respect and even care about.
    This is more like seeing your parents in a violent argument.

    • DB Cooper

      I like that last line, the analogy (or is it a simile?) about it being like see your parents fight. Funny.

  • Rick

    Come back to Infants after not listening for a month or so ready to binge some episodes and this is what I choose to start with. That was a wild ride guys.

    Thank you, as always, for your desire to share your interests and thoughts and issues with the world. You guys have great insight, and I genuinely enjoy listening to every single one of you. I almost didn’t make it through this episode. The feeling in my gut when y’all were battling it out was scary, it felt like my parents were arguing while I was in bed! However, I know this is an emotional topic and it was self-aware of you guys to have this conversation, and interesting for you to post it. I like the thoughts behind this series, even if I’m not sure I like the idea of “smacking around” the dossier.

    I recently realized I’m starting to hit the “past Mormonism” phase of my life. The exmo subreddit is becoming less enjoyable to go on, I don’t worry about what the church leaders have announced this month, and I don’t get nearly as annoyed by relatives’ social media posts as I used to. That being said, I like listening to you guys, and probably will continue to do so long after I don’t do anything else Mormon related. Keep doing what you’re doing.

    Last question I have for you? How long had you guys been discussing this stuff over email before you got on to record? It felt to me like you guys started recording ready for battle. I think some of the disjoint people have had with this episode (the yelling and cursing at eachother, etc) is due to the fact that this episode kind of hit the ground running with it, whereas generally tensions get high organically during discussions (when it happens).

    It’s nice to know that you guys aren’t sitting in a complete echo chamber doing this podcast. Thanks again for providing something to listen to on my drive in to work. Looking forward to catching up on Jan/Feb podcasts and whatever you have next.

    • Ryan Gregson

      Yes, that was a big difference, tensions were obviously already high before recording.

  • Holy shit. Is Matt ok? I’m looking forward to this series but Matt either needs to have a couple more drinks before recording or a couple less. I’m not sure which.

  • DB Cooper

    What if the group evaluated – publicly, over a series of episodes – a dossier that claimed Matt Long beat his wife? The group wouldn’t have to say if the allegations were true or not. They could just weigh the pros and cons of the evidence and discuss the credibility of the witnesses and talk about the probability of the allegations being true and let the public decide for themselves. Then maybe some other podcasts would pick it up and have conversations about it. And then the local news puts his face on the television and asks the question of he beats his wife and says “You decide!”

    Even if after the infants finished the series it concluded the allegations were false, there would be a cloud of doubt hanging over Matt. It would clearly be an effort to tarnish Matt’s reputation, to cast shade on him as is the trendy term nowadays.

    That is what you guys are trying to do to Trump. “We’re just evaluating”. Suuuuuuuuurrrrrrre you are!. Be honest about your motivations.

    What I’m really worried about is that you are going to harm your podcast and I don’t want you to go away. I want you to be around.

    • Glenn

      If a former MI6 agent puts together that dossier about Matt and the dossier becomes part of the public domain then you bet, we’ll discuss it.

      • DB Cooper

        How about this then? If Hillary had won the election and the same dossier came out on her and everything else about the dossier situation were pretty much the same like timing, provenance, author, leaker, and sponsor, would you treat it the same? Would you dedicate a series of episodes of your podcast to it?

        • Gabriel von Himmel

          You do know that DB is dead?
          Patriotism is the evil twin of Willful Ignorance.

          • Special Agent Dale Cooper? Dead? Say it ain’t so!

          • DB Cooper

            That must be a different Cooper.

          • F.B.I. Special Agent Dale [Bartholomew] Cooper was one of the main characters in the Twin Peaks TV series, whose name was supposed to have been a shout out to the famous DB Cooper who jumped upout the airplane with a parachute and $200,000 in extorted cash and was never found. When the FBI officially called off the 45-year search last year, hilarious old people, like myself, emailed the Bureau telling them that if they really wanted to know what eventually happened to DB Cooper they needed to talk to David Lynch.

            That’s why it was a shock to hear from Herr von Himmel that he was dead.

          • Gabriel von Himmel

            Well St. Ralph we can argue over DB forever but I’ve moved on.
            D B Cooper: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._B._Cooper
            I, missed the David “Twin Peaks” Lynch reference having never seen the tv series.

        • Glenn


          • DB Cooper

            I woke up to NPR news this morning talking about how the Washington Post broke a story about how Jeff Sessions met twice last summer with the Russian ambassador and that he didn’t disclose the meetings in his congressional hearings for his nomination to become the AG.

            All I could think about was your podcast episodes on this topic and the string of comments I have been involved in on this page and I felt depressed. That crow tastes terrible.

            Then this afternoon I read a headline that Sessions is recusing himself from the investigation on the attempt by the Russians to influence the presidential election. And I read how some Republican RINO politicians are piling on.

            I’m getting the feeling that more and more news will be made on this topic.

        • Matt

          Re Hillary: abso – freakin – lutely.

          Re Kristin: I welcome that inquiry. It’ll be a pretty quick a boring one though. But that’s usually what happens when there’s absolutely nothing there.

          • DB Cooper

            About the wife beating thing, just to be clear, I’m not implying that any of that is going on in the Long household. I’m just saying that people can and do use that type of dirty trick just to drag people through the mud and cast aspersions on their character.

          • DB Cooper

            Oh, and I picked your name for the hypothetical example only because you were the one that most lost his temper in that discussion and dropped the most f-bombs at your own friend and it kind of bothered me.

  • Nate

    Jake’s reference to the study saying people believe allegations to be true the more they are repeated is troubling to me. What better case is there to never, ever read anything but church approved information? The argument effectively silos a person with their current opinion, paralyzing them from seeking more information, or forces them to find out if the information is true before they can read it.

    I do not doubt the study Jake referred to actually arrived at the conclusion he stated, but I think there has to be more nuance to applying those results to ones choices about what to read, talk about, or repeat on a podcast. This repeated exposure theory has to be very low on the list of things that influence making an informed decision, at least I hope so, or else I may have lost my testimony just by hearing anti-mormon lies the requisite amount to believe them with no basis.

  • Samuel Rogers

    Agree with Jake. What else is there to add by discussing the unverified stuff?
    If you would discuss all the verified stuff first and explain how it was verified, that would be interesting. Such as: point A was verified by this reporter by method Y, point B was verified by this reporter by method X, etc etc. That would add value for the listener. Plus, if you do this, once you get to the unverified stuff you will realize you have nothing to talk about (and thus probably shouldn’t do it).
    Discussing the unverified stuff would be like: points F,G, and H haven’t been verified because nobody has been able to confirm the sources… and of course we have nothing to add… but wow those are some interesting unverifiable points that sure make Trump look bad. Ok…. why go there again? What is your point?

  • Chris Logic

    Guys, I come late to the comments to say thank you for posting this conversation. I am a highly conflict-avoidant person, and listening to people who respect each other disagree so vehemently and end up in a reasonable place in which everyone is free to speak his truth, say f you, disagree, thrash it out, and emerge with greater understanding and intact respect was so illuminating for me.

    In some ways, the subject matter (which is uppermost in my mind the last couple of months) was secondary to the argument itself for me as a devoted listener. That said, please do keep the political commentary coming. If you rankle Trump supporters along the way, then so be it. That, too, needs to happen.

    So, applause, applause and thanks for both content and form in this episode.

  • Monica

    I, for one, am so glad you guys are taking up this topic. It’s something I’m interested in having more knowledge of, whether or not it can all be substantiated.

    But my biggest reason for liking this topic, and move away from the usual, is that as I find myself moving further and further away from Mormonism, I don’t want to talk or listen to discussions about the religion. I’m much more interested in topics that actually affect my life or the world as a whole. Mormonism doesn’t really do that anymore.

    I would also like to add that I was not bothered by any part of the discussion. If the listeners that had complained stuck around to the end, they would have found that you all ended up in a good place, agreeing or not. If everyone just sat around a table, smiled, passed around the talking stick, and spoke softly, I’d get bored fast. That’s not real life. But what you guys gave us in this discussion was. Thank you.

  • DB Cooper

    Hmmmmm… Recent news. It turns out Hillary and the DNC paid to have the dossier made up.

    Oh, and the Russian collusion? It turns out the only collusion was by the Democrats, specifically Hillary through John Podesta who was Hillary’s campaign chairman. Also involved in the corruption and bribery was Tony Podesta, John’s brother.

    While Hillary was secretary of state and with her permission, the Obama administration allowed Russia to gain control of 20 percent of our nation’s uranium supply, some of which has left the country and vanished, as published by the NYT. The Clintons and her phony foundation received hundreds of millions of dollars in return.

    What gall the far left has to falsely accuse Trump of the very things it was guilty of.

    It seems like your lengthy discussion on the dossier and assumption that Trump was guilty was because you were blinded by your hatred of him. You believed what you wanted to believe in spite of the weak evidence and justified it after the fact. That sounds like the elephant going where it wanted to go and the rider thinking it was in control.

    • DB Cooper

      This is developing news, so who knows at this point what the story will be down the road.

      At this point however, it is looking like all the false finger pointing and feigned outrage by the left is starting to backfire. Special counsel Robert Mueller is turning his investigation toward the Podestas and the Clintons.

      About time!!!!! For decades, for some inexplicable reason, no matter what level of outrage, bribery, hypocrisy, and blatant corruption the Clintons commit, the left to their dying breath excuses and defends them. Maybe they will finally get their comeuppance.

    • DB Cooper

      How sad! I replied to my own comment. Oh no! I did it again.