In ABC’s Quantico on Monday, the episode titled “Mockingbird” exposes the dark side of fake news. The story has a political element to it and guess which party takes the hit? Right. The bad guys are Republican politicians.
The town of Brookwall, Virginia is evacuated after an explosion at a chemical storage facility. Concerns over water quality bring in federal agents to conduct tests and monitor the situation. The problem is, though, the story is fake news. An emergency was deliberately created and reported to allow the bad guys – private contractors- to find one individual. That person is a Republican senator’s “media guru."
Harry (Russell Tovey) has rejoined the team for this case and upon realizing that Clay (Hunter Parrish) is now in charge, said “Oh, I didn't know it was "Bring your son to work day." Hmm? What? What, he's in charge? Really? George Dubya Bush?” Clay is a well-known political strategist. Former President Bush has been out of office for nine years and liberals still feel the need to randomly put him into a dialogue to take a swipe at him.
The young woman that was being pursued by the bad guys was a recently terminated staffer for Republican Senator Baynard – his “media guru” who was responsible for creating fake news stories and promoting them on social media and news broadcast organizations with the help of professional hackers. Recently she helped him create a story about a bakery owned by people who didn’t want to bake a cake for a returning soldier – the bakery owners were said to think the military were murderers. The senator was using the story to secure support from the military for his re-election. The story had dire consequences, though, as eleven people died when the bakery was shot up.
Alex: Who are you, and why do these private contractors want to kill you?
Malory: My name is Malory Haynes. I worked for Senator Lewis Baynard. Until a few days ago, I was on his payroll as a media guru, but that's not what I did.
Ryan: What did you do?
Malory: I created stories that weren't always based in facts. You know that bakery in Richmond? Well, we said that the owners wouldn't make a cake for a veteran's return home because they thought that U.S. Troops were murderers. But it was -- it was just to shore up military support for the senator's re-election.
Ryan: Somebody thought the story was real and shot the bakery up. 11 people died.
Malory: And ever since then, Senator Baynard's people have been trying to get rid of any connection between him and the fake news, including me.
Alex: So, what are you doing here, hiding in Brookwell?
Malory: My parents live here, just down the block. It's ironic, isn't it? They use fake news to get the girl who created fake news for them.
Ryan: They clear out the town and grab you. No one would know. It'd just look like she left during the evacuation and disappeared.
Alex: Shh, shh.
As the team brainstorms about the operation, Alex (Priyanka Chopra) says even if the senator wasn’t “working on behalf of the GOP” it would reflect badly on the entire party. Really? Only one political party deals in fake news?
This episode was interesting because of the timely topic of fake news but the random inclusion of Republicans into the script was odd and cynical. Does anyone think that both sides of the aisle aren’t guilty of disinformation for political gain?