I’ve hated the term ‘fake news’ since it became a thing about a month ago. To start, the word ‘news’ implies that it’s factual on some level, so the phrase ‘fake news’ is essentially an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp or sanitary landfill. Plus, it almost make it sound friendly or funny instead of what it really is….lies. It’s also become a rallying call for the right against the horrible, terrible, horrible media. A vast majority of the claims of ‘fake news’ against the media are unfounded. Those stories aren’t fake…they just make you look bad because they expose a part of the story you don’t want told…the truth. So, by pointing your finger and claiming it’s fake, you try and deflect from the real story, and solidify your side behind a common enemy, the media.
Back in the good old days….maybe a year ago or so….we had websites or magazines that specialized in fake news. National Lampoon, the Onion and others were widely read as news parodies….but most people knew they were parodies. They were there to make a point from a political standpoint and usually tried to make the other side mad or look bad, but again, they were done as comedy and they were never confused with ‘real’ news. But, since everyone has a website, blog or YouTube channel, everyone apparently decided they would start publishing totally fake stories, but purport them to be real. Thus, fake news is born. I would like to say, ‘what kind of brainless idiot would believe that Hillary Clinton ran a child-prosititution ring out of the basement of a pizza place in DC?” I’d like to ask that, but apparently there are all sorts of brainless idiots who saw that story and thought, ‘it’s in print, it MUST be true.’ And I’m not only talking about the moron from NC who went there with a gun to break up the sex-ring, I’m talking about Trump’s National Security advisor Michael Flynn who tweeted that story last year and later refused to say out loud that it’s not true. He also forwarded the obviously untrue stories that the UN wanted to outlaw Christianity and create a single world-wide religion and that Sharia law is being implemented in several states. THIS is our national security advisor? You would think being able to differentiate between the possible and the incredibly stupid, outlandish and impossible would be a job requirement. I guess not.
Of course, we all know that every cable news station or newspaper has their own slant or bias…some more than others. I don’t consider this to be ‘fake news’. It’s news, but it’s presented to highlight or downplay what fits their narritive. Whether it’s MSNBC or Breitbart, any agency can take the same facts and twist them to fit their needs. Last week, when NBC reported that some recent decisions by car-makers to add jobs in the US were NOT prompted by Trump’s election, the new president responded by calling them ‘fake news’. First of all, if it were untrue, it would be lies, not fake news. Secondly, it was true since some of the automakers said their decisions were made months ago before the election…so Trump had nothing to do with them. But…by raising the spectre of ‘fake news’ and the dishonest media, Trump again tried to use the occassion to rally his troops against the big, bad, super-mean, common enemy, the press. Even though they were just doing their job.
You may have missed an interesting story from last month with a Carolina connection. Cam Harris worked as a legislative aide to a Maryland lawmaker. The Davidson College grad took it upon himself last Fall to create a story out of thin air and make it look like a legit news article. The title was “Tens of thousands of fraudulent Clinton votes found in Ohio Warehouse”. The story went on to chronicle how Hillary was stealing the election. Harris later said that since Trump was telling everyone the election was rigged, this would play into everyone’s fears and be very believeable. It was. The story was shared by 6 million people. How many of them believed it? Probably most of them. Did it affect the election in some small way? Hard to tell, but I would venture a guess that casual Trump supporters that may not have voted, may have now been moved to vote against Hillary because of her deceit.
Some social media sites, like Facebook has promised to install ‘fake news’ filters to make sure that only legit stories could be shared online. How’s that going to work? Most of what people put on FB is lies….”Having a great night out with my loving, adorable husband….” 60% of that statement is probably fake…how you going to tell if a news story is real, fake, or just slanted? You know what MY fake news filter is? Half a brain….that’s what, because that’s all you need to be able to know that Hillary isn’t involved in a child-sex ring, or that Sharia law is being instituted across the US. I guess it’s just easier to believe lies abot the person you don’t like than to take 30 seconds to verify or disprove the outlandish claim you just read. As a matter of fact, that’s my other fake-news filter: If the story is too outrageous to be true…it’s usually not true. So, if you have half a brain, and a BS detector, you can probably avoid looking the fool and believing some of the stuff you read online. Of course, some people don’t want to use their brains….and it shows.