By John R. Smith
Fake News is a new national catch-phrase. It’s a real deal, but it’s also a real disease that has stricken what used to be called, at least in Europe, the “Fourth Estate.” It is a blight, a rottenness that has come to taint the traditional American press and media, made all the more dangerous by some journalist icons who hollowly deny they practice it. But such icons are some of the same people who believe that the media should give people “what they need to hear”, and those biased media powerhouses decide daily what people should hear. The truth is often a casualty.
Let’s look at some facts: the modern-day “fake news” moniker/insult was first injected into the news cycle by left-wing media journalists like CNN and the New York Times during the 2016 presidential election, and by left wing politicians like Hillary Clinton.
The Left’s purpose was to undermine any serious news coverage that diverged from the propaganda that served their political agenda, and to mislead readers in order to damage a political or financial foe.
As noted by Fox News Radio host Tom Shillue recently, the leftist media re-invented the term in a bid to smear and eventually silence all conservative publishers. But when the president successfully turned the weapon around on the media, starting in December 2016 and early 2017, the Left freaked out. President Trump took over the “fake news” and “fake media” terms, besting the Left at their own propaganda game. Prior to that, leftist media used the term against the political right. The Left had derided Alex Jones’ far-right statements and leftists used the term “fake news” to describe “right wing news” or “conspiracy theory” news. The Left claimed that the bulk of “false or misleading” news (“fake stories”) appearing on Facebook, where nearly 44% of all adults obtain their news, was coming from “pro-Trump” or “far-right Facebook pages” with far less coming from (“pro-Clinton”) “left-leaning pages”.
“New York Times loved to use that phrase, loved the term fake news,” says Shillue. “Week in and week out in 2016 and 2017”, when referring to “right wingers”, NYT always used fake news without quotes around it, an example being the NYT article “As Fake News Spreads Lies, More Readers Shrug at the Truth” (12/6/2016); but when Trump began using the term fake news, the NYT put quotes around it. The hypocrisy is stunning. In another example, in a CNN Politics column on October 26, 2017, CNN employed its own version of fake news when they tried to make a liar out of Trump by putting words in his mouth.
But make no mistake: it was the leftist mainstream media that began trying to use the term “fake news” as a political weapon. From Wikipedia: “the issue of fake news turned into a political weapon, with supporters of left-wing politics saying that supporters of right-wing politics spread false news, while the latter claimed that they were being ‘censored’.” While it is true that fake news on some social media outlets tended to be more pro-Trump, it is also true that the mainstream traditional media played a large role in publishing and broadcasting anti-Trump fake news, especially following Trump’s victory. In fact, in June 2018, a poll by Survey Monkey revealed that nearly three out of four Americans believe that mainstream “traditional news outlets knowingly report false or misleading stories at least sometimes”.
Trump moved quickly, full-bore, to popularize the term “fake news,” telling Mike Huckabee in an interview, “I guess other people have used it (the term) perhaps over the years but I’ve never noticed it.”
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) cleared it up by rejecting the Left’s claims: “To say that President Trump was the first politician to deploy the fake news term would itself be, well, ‘fake news’… On December 8, 2016, Hillary Clinton made a speech in which she mentioned ‘the epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year.’ “
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