In the early 19th century a man named John Chapman wandered around Pennsylvania, Ohio and other states planting orchards. Orchards of apples. As time went on and stories about his life changed he became a legend.
Images and stories of Chapman wandering across the country flinging apple seeds hither and yon. Creating orchards in his wake. So John Chapman earned the nickname of “Johnny Appleseed”. An American folk hero.
Of course there is a lot of truth in these stories. Johnny did plant orchards of apple trees. Then he protected them from wild animals by fencing, as any good horticulturalist would do. He did travel across many states. He did spread apples across the “western”states.
Those seeds took root. He came out every year and tended those orchards. He made sure his wide ranging plantings were protected and managed. It worked. In the early 19th century clean water was not easy to come by. Which is why “cider” was a popular drink. The trees Johnny planted were not good for eating apples, but were great for cider. A real public service.
Now, on the internet, we have a new Johnny Appleseed. His name is Vladimir. He trolls through the vast web of on line information and plants the seeds. The seeds of dissent. The seeds of doubt. Flinging them hither and yon. Hoping they take root.
He is seeding and tending orchards of misinformation. Of false news. Of divisive, negative nonsense. He pretends he is a black man and sows seeds trying to divide blacks from whites. He pretends he is a Democrat or a Republican and sows seeds of hatred for the other side. He pretends he is a doctor and sows seeds of confusion concerning Covid-19. And it is working. Americans are confused. Divided as never before.
It worked in 2016 and it is working today. Vladimir Appleseed planted the misinformation of “Clinton Corruption” in 2016 and many folks devoured the apples. I recall doing a “search” on the name “Hillary Clinton” during the campaign. At one point the first 2 pages of links were all about the Clinton “health issues”
Of course, there were no health issues. But seeding the internet with false reports and bots, Vladimir Appleseed was able to push Clinton “health issues” to the top of the Google research pages. Because stories are placed in the order of how many others have clicked on the site. Not based on accuracy, just numbers. It worked.
So, Vladimir Appleseed is at it again. Joe Biden is some kind of child molester. Joe Biden has mental issues. Joe Biden is some kind of crook with contacts with the Ukraine. It’s all out there. Joe Biden is a racist. Joe Biden is a socialist. Seeded.
Now, Johnny Appleseed is an American hero. He was a fine man who spread the “good news”of apple trees. An overwhelmingly positive force. Except.
Except. John Chapman also planted a medicinal herb called “dogfennel”. An invasive, quick growing plant that has a certain odor. Unfortunately dogfennel is also poisonous. John didn’t know it, but he was spreading the seeds of poison as well as the seed of cider.
Johnny Appleseed spread apples and dogfennel. A great crop and a poisonous plant.
Vladimir Appleseed has skipped the apples and gone straight to the dogfennel. He knows exactly what he is doing. Spreading the seeds. The lies. the misinformation. And people are unaware of its poisonous properties.