The concept of “fake news” appears to be the meme du jour among the serious internet news set … well, the serious mainstream news set, anyway. Calling it the meme du jour is merely a kinder way of describing the mainstream media’s primal scream of denial. Me – I have become extremely suspicious when a meme suddenly pops up all over the national mainstream news and entertainment media and social media takes it up as if they were junior fashionistas entranced with Kim Kardashian’s latest exercise in stuffing ten pounds of avoirdupois into a five-pound sack. It’s as if there were some kind of coordinated list of talking points, similar phrasing, and suggested party lines being surreptitiously circulated among influential cognoscenti … like there was some kind of briefing paper being circulated. But that’s my nasty, cynical mind speaking there. They might have a new name for “JournoList” and circulate it by other means, but yes, that playbook is still operative.
The Primal Scream of Denial from the establishment media is all the more bitterly amusing – because they themselves played a huge part in destroying their own credibility with those citizens of Flyoverlandia who tended to vote for Trump. (With varying degrees of reluctance, I should make it clear. For every voter who went out and voted for him wholeheartedly, there must be at least one who held their nose as they voted for him, and another who regarded a Trump vote as being one big middle finger of protest, extended towards the bicoastal ruling elite.)
In this latest kerfuffle, those major news establishments continue damaging themselves in the eyes of news junkies and bloggers who have been paying rapt attention since the rise of the internet as an internet news provider and fact-checker. The damage is ongoing, and perhaps accelerated to light-speed by the very Primal Scream of Denial. For anyone who has been paying attention over the last decade or even longer – there has been a long, long and sorry series of ‘fake news’ generated, perpetuated and splashed all over Page 1 above the fold, the endlessly hyped headline story on the evening news, or the one promoted in breathless ads for the investigative programs like 60 Minutes.
The long list of so-called ‘fake news’ might be said to begin with Walter Cronkite declaring that the US had lost South Vietnam in the Tet offensive. Four decades before the establishment of internet-enabled alternate news sources, it took years for it to emerge that no – the Tet offensive had been a disaster for the Viet Cong. But Walter Cronkite spoke … and such was his, and the national media’s authority – that saying made it so. So the established national media maintained the grand castle of their authority … for a while, until bloggers, commenters, and interested parties had the ability to publicly report, comment, fact-check and criticize. I’d date this from the early Oughts, just around the time of 9/11, which is when I became acquainted with the concept, although for some who were more technically adept, it may have been a thing for several years before then.
For me, the biggest crack in mainstream news credibility was the Dan Rather/TANG memo debunking in 2004. Here was a huge story, broadcast practically on the eve of the election, a story based on documents of a deeply uncertain provenance, relayed to a Bush-hating reporter by a man with a grudge against Bush. It came over as a breathtakingly audacious attempt to throw an election based on forged memos. Worse; I began to wonder how many other stories that 60 Minutes had broadcast over the years were built on just as shaky a foundation … which had gone unremarked, as interested amateurs with specific knowledge had never gotten a chance to examine the evidence for themselves. The list of other fake news perpetuated by the mainstream media is frankly overwhelming to contemplate; fabulists, fakes, and selective omission. I’ll skip making a comprehensive list of them, as it would make this post the length of one of my books, and those of us of a libertarian/conservative leaning have our own lists readily in mind.
It’s only gotten worse in the last election cycle, seeing that so many media establishments and reporters were so in the pocket for Hilary Clinton – as revealed by the Wikileaks memos. This had been suspected – yea, assumed – for the last decade, at least, but to see it all laid out in detail – names, networks, publications and favors rendered – was depressing in the extreme. I don’t see that the mainstream media can fight their way out of the tangle they backed themselves into. Their credibility with the conservative portion of the population is sunk as deeply as the Titanic. Once-respected weekly news magazines like Time and Newsweek are a thin shadow of what they were, once. Newspapers are shrinking, television news is going shriller, more partisan and fragmented. It may be as Sarah Hoyt observed – organizations tend to turn hard-left, just as they self-destruct. Your thoughts?
14 thoughts on “Fake News”
I don’t know any more.
The half of the country that celebrates the gelding of medically healthy boys and believes Islam is as good or better than Christianity and thinks Trump is a white racist even though nobody discerned this in thirty-plus years of bombastic self-promotion will keep the liberal news alive. They need it. It is the way they self-medicate.
Once again: We are still hated. Nothing has changed. We have gotten a reprieve; gone through a sort of electoral Valley Forge. The Cold Civil War rages on. And the odds are still against us.
“The long list of so-called ‘fake news’ might be said to begin with Walter Cronkite”
Remember the Maine.
So the play book is deny, deny, deny (false news)- then use the strength of your adversary against them by repeating a lie about them challenging them for alleged actions they did not do as a general rule or motivations they do not harbor (such as you are the source of fake news, you caused the release of factual cyber messages of political import, you promote racism, etc.). This is a form of misdirection and it works when you have a persistent and broadly heard megaphone (the lame stream media, LSM).
Because the LSM has lost considerable portions of its credibility, especially recently, mostly they are talking to themselves and their fellow leftists. So far Trump has played it pretty well. He denounces it for what it is, asks for facts and goes about his important business of organizing his cabinet and initial agenda. So far it increasingly appears a majority see this for what it is and are supportive of Trump’s transition progress.
The primary danger I see is an increasing trend by Fox and a variety of of other independent commentators to assume the truth of hacking charges being made. Here is an example, “Do you think the Russian hacking changed the election results?”
The answer is not, “The cause of Clinton’s loss was her campaign’s actions that the emails revealed. These are factual emails and demonstrate corruption of the nominating process and the bias and improper coordination between the campaign and the mainstream media such as in giving Clinton access to debate questions beforehand, etc.”
The answer is, “There has been no evidence that the Russians gained access to the DNC and Clinton’s campaign accounts or that they obtained them second hand or that they provided them to the releasing entity. What we can conclude at this point is that they are factual and the actions, attitudes and relationships they reveal are factual.”
Further, “There is doubt that they changed the votes of a significant number of voters, especially sufficient to have changed the outcome. There is no evidence that the actual casting and counting of votes was penetrated by anyone on any sort of systematic basis.”
Well said, Phil.
There have been any number of attempts in the past by the Russians, then soviets, to influence our, and other western elections, as revealed by the Verona archives. Unfortunately for the narrative, all of these interventions were in support of socialist/progressive causes and candidates.
The well documented request by the execrable Ted Kennedy for Soviet help is also well known, but also doesn’t fit the preferred narrative.
Where is the proof, or even sworn testimony, in this allegation? Even the CIA, the alleged source of the claim, refuses to present the evidence it may or may not have, and testify before Congress about any of this alleged hacking.
This is hysteria, based on the pathological need for progressives to reassure themselves that they really should have won, if only these outside forces hadn’t perverted the course of the election’s natural endorsement of all things good and progressive.
We are witnessing, in this and the ludicrous “fake news” bs, the desperate ravings of the crew of this political/cultural Titanic, which they truly believed was unsinkable, as the sinking ship tilts and fills with the frigid waters of reality.
The criminal enterprise that is the dem party has been reduced to a bi-coastal party supported by the inhabitants of several major progressive urban populations, but shunned and rejected by the vast expanse of the rest of the country. The extent of the growing control by republicans at the state and local level, and in Congress at the federal level, only reinforces this positive development.
One of the few positive things that can be said for the current regime’s disastrous mis-rule over the last eight years, and progressivism’s creeping ascendency over the past few decades, is that both have resulted in a rejection of the very ideas they sought to promote and cement into the nation’s social and political life, and the collapse of a major political party into a regional power unwelcome outside a few urban centers.
I can’t think of a nicer xmas present than to hear the laminations of the defeated, and watch them run over the cliff they themselves have created by their incompetence and corruption.
If the purpose of the hack was to demoralize the U.S. electorate and if the Ruskies were behind it, it may be that they would have released damaging information on BOTH candidates – if they had it. In Trumps case his failings are public and wouldn’t have the desired effect. Not having been a member of the nomenklatura (indeed having been more or less policed by the nomenklatura), Trump has had to steer a straighter course. It may be that if they had something on Trump they’d have used it.
Certainly hacking private information is reprehensible, should be punished, and, one hopes and prays, that our machines can be made safe from it…but we got the truth and one should be glad of it. If the truth influenced the election I’m glad of it and praise wikileaks. If the Russians influenced the election with the truth I’m good with that too.
IMHO the #1 reason to not vote for H.R.Clinton was the fake news she and her people propagated after the Benghazi killings. The effrontery of her propaganda (the video made them do it) to the American people in general and the families of the slain was monumental.
LOL. I do that a lot these days. The big media is owned by a few corporations, all in lockstep, and is into promoting the goals of the Bliderberg cabal. That’s been obvious for a long time. It’s international, pervasive and ongoing. It’s goal is world domination, well it’s kinda there already really.
Little media is everywhere and ranges from complete fiction to very useful news. One tends to agree with stuff that supports ones position and that has created a host of self congratulating echo chambers, that are grist for my mill. ;)
Really there’s only one way through the swamp. Don’t believe anyone. Wait for the gestalt to reveal what’s real, as the lies trip over themselves, and the truth will out, if you are paying attention.
Isn’t it ironic that the candidate who lied lied and lied again is the candidate who now claims that it is “the other guy” who creates false facts. Yes I whole-heartedly shout that we were saved by wikileaks if indeed some of the mainstream puppets finally heard some truth about Ms. Hilary.
All except for the Bilderberg thing, I find myself semi-agreeing with Penny – a rare, even once-in-a-blue-moon occurance. (Geeze, Pen – are you OK? Is there a full moon out tonight?) Yes, the various news orgs seem to have coordinated their stance in support of the Ruling Party. Remains to be seen how many consumers of news still find them credible to any degree.
And that’s really the sad part – the mainstream establishment orgs went all-out partisan, all the while insisting that they were totes cross-hearts-swear-onna-stack-of-Bibles impartial. But the bias is so naked that a good better-than-half of the electorate managed to see it.
Didn’t matter what disparaging story they published or posted about Trump – better than half the electorate didn’t buy it, or let it affect their vote. That – to coin a phrase – is huuuuge.
Is Wikileaks to be trusted? If they were a news organization, I’d say no. One source of information, no way to collaborate. I don’t remember DNC or HRC denying the releases were false, just damning the hacking and delivery of the info.
And yet I understand that no Wilkileak “leak” has yet been shown to be false. Contrast with newspapers and networks.
Phishing is not hacking – unless you roll-up “social hacking” and “computer hacking”.
No computers were compromised. People did stupid stuff and gave away their own information.
Even if the Russians were behind it, it’s yet more evidence that these people who think they are our betters are actually dumb as a box of rocks.
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