Challenge: Confirm The Reality Of The Walmart Anti-Trump Frozen Fish Assault Meme
Donald Trump’s supporters are struggling with an awful lot of cognitive dissonance.
They claim to be outraged by the brutality of the Islamic State, but then applaud when Donald Trump calls for torture, bombings, and assassinations of the children of people accused of being associated with the Islamic State. They claim to appreciate it when people speak their minds, but then physically attack anti-Trump protesters as punishment for daring to speak out in opposition to their leader.
One way to deal with cognitive dissonance is to redirect the conflict externally, to accuse others of the kind of hypocrisy one is engaged in oneself. A social media meme attempting to accomplish this feat of self-distraction for Trump fans has been making the rounds over the last few days, and it’s got some memorable details: Walmart, frozen fish, and a pun on a tshirt.
“So, as I’m walking into Walmart in p.o. some ignorant asshole threw a box of frozen fish fillets at me, and screamed and pushed me until he knocked my phone and wallet out of my hands. Then he got drilled right in the mouth. Why you ask? Because of my ‘Trump T-shirt’. Fucking idiot. Feeling the Bern now with your fucking lip split and probably in jail? Jackass. Here is my shirt so you can laugh as much as I am.”
The story as it’s told in this post is that a man was going into a Walmart wearing a t-shirt with the logo of the Triumph motorcycle company. Then, a supporter of Bernie Sanders who couldn’t read very well, thinking that the t-shirt said “Trump”, and not “Triumph”, supposedly attacked with a box of frozen fish. The man with the Triumph motorcycle t-shirt, the story says, then punched the Sanders supporter in the mouth, giving him a bloody lip. The violent Sanders supporter then was taken away by the police.
This story portrays fans of Bernie Sanders as dangerous and psychologically unhinged, and Trump supporters as innocent victims of their attacks. It fits neatly into the Trumpists’ attempts to resolve their cognitive dissonance, characterizing the violence of Trump fans as a merely defensive reaction to aggression by deranged socialists.
There’s a problem with the story, though: Nowhere in any local or national news is there any report of this incident taking place. No newspaper or TV news team has written a single thing about any attack at a Walmart by an enraged Bernie Sanders fan against a man wearing a Triumph t-shirt.
The police were involved, according to the story, and law enforcement agencies regularly issue reports summarizing arrest records. A politically-motivated physical assault with frozen fish, provoking a counter-attack, all triggered by a mis-read t-shirt, is too interesting for reporters to pass up. Yet, there is no police department anywhere in the country that has issued any report of intervening in any such criminal violence.
What’s more, this story never tells the name of the man wearing the Triumph motorcycle t-shirt. There’s no follow-up explanation of the story from this person, further explaining the circumstances of the attack. All that’s ever posted is an image, purporting to be a screenshot of the original Facebook posting of the story – the same image you see here.
These factors have led to reasonable suspicions about the credibility of the story. It sounds an awful lot like an urban legend – a story that someone simply made up because it sounded good, and because it fit the emotional needs of the pro-Trump camp.
Then again, maybe it’s real. Maybe there really is some weird fan of Bernie Sanders who actually attacked someone with a box of frozen fish fillets before getting punched in the face. Maybe, somehow, even though that person was arrested by the police, the police didn’t file a report, and the news media decided for some reason that the story just wouldn’t be interesting enough to write about.
If that’s so, and the story is genuine, then there ought to be someone out there who can identify the man who was attacked, the Sanders supporter who engaged in a fishy assault, and the Walmart location where it all took place.
Now is your chance, Trump supporters. Prove that the story isn’t just a fake urban legend. Give us the names, the place, and the date, so that we can verify the tale.
Can you meet this challenge?