The analysis of Trump and ‘fake news’
Before the modernization of technology enabled the creation of news outlets tailored to each individual political stance, it seemed the electorate was less sensitive about the information they consumed.
People would read each section of the newspaper and whether they disagreed with it or not, that was the news. If there did happen to be a mistake, which humans are prone to making, the paper would run a correction the next print issue.
It wasn’t ever interpreted as fake or malicious, just simply an error. However, in today’s America, if you disagree with something that may even be in the opinion section,or find one flaw in a journalist’s work, it is termed “fake news.”
This dangerous convolution of terminology is led and emboldened by, none other than, the President of the United States, Donald Trump.
Originally, “fake news” articles were on these bogus, unprofessional- looking websites with strange domain names and claimed something along the lines of being able to lose 20 lbs in a week by only eating chocolate — or something just as ridiculous.
Now, Trump has not only labeled the New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and many other long-standing journalistic institutions as “fake news,” but also as “the enemy of the American people.”
In an interview on “Meet the Press” regarding Trump’s comments, Sen. John McCain said, “When you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press. And I’m not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I’m just saying we need to learn the lessons of history. That’s how dictators get started If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and, many times, adversarial press,” McCain said. “And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time.”
In the very first press conference of his presidency, Trump sent Press Secretary Sean Spicer, to the White House Press Room in a jacket that didn’t fit him, nor was even his own, to tell the media, on behalf of the President, something that could be so easily disproven — that the inauguration crowd was the largest one ever.
Despite the over- whelming evidence to the contrary, the Trump administration maintained its stance and continued rhetoric that the crowd was the largest in inaugural history.
In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Trump’s former campaign manager turned White House Senior Advisor, Kellyanne Conway, told the host, Chuck Todd, “You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary — gave alternative facts.”
“Alternative facts aren’t facts, they are falsehoods,” Todd said.
Trump has mastered the art of dominating an entire news cycle.
Following the same pattern almost formalistically: Trump will say something outlandish, the media will react, those that reacted unfavorably toward Trump are then called “fake news,” those called “fake news” are then personally invested, making it a battle between who to believe — the president or the press.
However, if reporting does not challenge the president (e.g. FOX, Brietbart, Infowars and etc.), he may even use the report over the information he receives from his daily intelligence briefings (the Sweden incident).
Also, if a journalist reports favorably towards Trump, the president may even praise the reporting on Twitter rather than calling it “fake news.”
After the media was critical of Trump’s first lone-press conference since being elected, Trump took to Twitter to blast the “mainstream media” and praise conservative radio host, Rush Limbaugh.
Trump’s tweet read, “‘One of the most effective press conferences I’ve ever seen!’ says Rush Limbaugh. “Many agree. Yet FAKE MEDIA calls it differently! Dishonest.”
Anyone who reports unfavorably toward Trump is deemed “fake.”
The morning of Feb. 6, Trump tweeted out, “Any negative polls are fake news.”
In nearly every single one of Trump’s tweets over the past few weeks, there has been a mention of “fake news.”
Just the other day, Trump tweeted, “Give the public a break – The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!”
And then again just the day before, “Don’t believe While members of the the main stream (fake news) media. The White House is running VERY WELL. I inherited a MESS and am in the process of fixing it.”
In a letter written to Richard Price on Jan. 8, 1789, Thomas Jefferson expressed that a well- informed electorate is a requisite for democracy.
With the leader of our country tweeting, “FAKE NEWS media, which makes up stories and ‘sources,’ is far more effective than the discredited Democrats — but they are fading fast!,” how is the electorate supposed to distinguish between what is reality and what is not?
Though Congressional Republicans got what they wanted and no longer have anything/anyone obstructing their desired policy, this is not a partisan issue; this is an American issue.
While members of the Republican Party idly stand by, the head of their party, arguably the most powerful man in the world, claims to be the only true source of information, shunning (attacking on Twitter) anyone who disagrees.
This is worse than Nixon. Even Former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean, said “I’ve never seen a more classless president.”
Our democracy is simply an idea maintained by ordinary people; people working in hospitals and medical centers; people building roads and bridges for families to safely get from place to place; people in news organizations and government institutions; people educating our youth so that they are — in the words of former President Barack Obama — one day able to put their “hands on the arc of history and bend it toward the hope of a better day.”
People are not perfect, they are prone to making mistakes. But that does not mean that they are irrelevant, and that certainly does not make them fake.