In a world where liberal mainstream media has been controlling the political narrative for decades, a new catchphrase has emerged as a way to suppress opposing views and stifle information, and it should alarm everyone who values free speech.
The new catchphrase is ‘fake news.’
Mainstream media outlets gravitate toward simplistic narratives, and nothing is as elementary as denouncing news from alternative sources with a simple two-word retort.
But who, exactly, gets to decide what qualifies as ‘fake?’
The American mass media would have you believe that only they can determine what is real and what is fake. The problem is, the people don’t agree. Trust and confidence in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” has dropped to its lowest level in history.
Is it simply the notion that mainstream media is becoming a relic of the past, or have outlets modernized their tactics in a way the traditional publishers can’t?
Mainstream media outlets labeling anything they don’t deem as newsworthy ‘fake’ constitutes a clear effort to suppress competition, and by extension to suppress actual news that might not fit their agenda. They are less concerned with something being fake as they are in remaining the gatekeepers of what is acceptable opinion.
The reality here is that the mainstream media, in a desperate attempt to maintain relevance, is using the ‘fake news’ catchphrase to further suppress their more modern, nimble competition. It simply isn’t going to work.
In 2015, newspaper circulation continued a long downward trend, with daily circulation falling more than 7%. Meanwhile, nearly 40% of adults claimed to have received their news from digital sources, far outpacing radio and print, while a staggering 65% learned about the 2016 presidential election specifically from digital sources.
We see in the rise of Fox News, the Drudge Report, and the internet in general, that when people are given the choice of establishment, politically-correct liberal media or other alternatives, they choose the alternative. This makes the establishment scared and defensive, leading them to lash out with any excuse – false ‘fake news’ claims, or even the no-evidence, no-source “Russian propaganda” claims.
While traditional outlets would lead you to believe that those in the digital news business peddle fake stories, the reality is twofold.
A good number of news stories would never have been covered this election cycle without online news organizations. Examples would include stories involving Hillary Clinton’s health. Voters would have known nothing of her health woes if they stuck to mainstream media as their source of information. In fact, many heard of Hillary’s health issues for the first time when even the left-leaning news outlets were forced to cover video of her startling collapse at a 9/11 memorial event this past September. Consumers of digital sources however, had already been briefed on numerous health scares – including multiple falls, multiple coughing fits, emails from staff saying she’s “often confused,” constant sleeping, and excessive lying, all of which point to some sort of mental and physical health problems.
For a striking example, just take a look at this:
Conversely, the mainstream media themselves have, on many occasions, pushed certain narratives as gospel even though the stories turned out to be provably fake. ‘Hands up, don’t shoot‘ – a genuinely fake news story, as proved by the Obama Justice Department – is a perfect example. Every major news network ran with that story, to the point where the city of Ferguson burned and was the site of violent protests generated from anger over the fake story. Mainstream media outlets would later rank “Hands up, don’t shoot” as one of the biggest lies of 2015. But who is responsible for pushing it in the first place?
Here is CNN’s newsroom pushing the fake news story that many of their viewers still believe to this day …
But by time Obama’s Justice Department declared the narrative was false, the damage was done.
Dishonesty in the mainstream media is not a modern phenomenon either. As digital journalist Warner Todd Huston explains, the fake news phenomenon “is a thorough invention of liberals” that long before the 2016 election.
… the liberal media spent the entirety of the existence of the Soviet Union purposefully refusing to tell the truth about the Soviet’s murderous record of death and oppression. In fact, the lefty media even awarded itself a Pulitzer Prize for lies when The New York Times’ Walter Duranty was given the award for his shameless shilling for the Soviets in the 1930s.
The most obvious example of the left’s modern penchant to push fake news goes back at least to the Vietnam War when liberals like Dan Rather, Walter Cronkite, and Chet Huntley and David Brinkley convinced America that the U.S. military was losing the war and that our troops did nothing but course through the country murdering women and babies.
And don’t forget that two of the Old Media’s most famous TV News anchors, Dan Rather and Brian Williams, were both fired because of their constant lies on the air.
This is the ever changing media world we live in, where the necessity of pushing out news from an alternative viewpoint, in a manner that guarantees successful consumption by the readers or viewers, should be a top priority. Consumers of online news are no longer content with the same establishment viewpoints accompanying their news. They want the truth, or at least a second opinion.
Additionally, some sites being falsely labeled as ‘fake news’ are beginning to fight back, saying the fact that they’ve been defined as such is in itself fake.
Via the Daily Caller:
One of the websites The Washington Post labeled “fake news” in a November story demanded a retraction and threatened the paper with a defamation lawsuit in a demand letter Sunday.
A lawyer for Naked Capitalism accuses WaPo of running a debunked list of “fake news” sites in the “sensational” story compiled by a dubious team of researchers, without substantiating their claims or giving Naked Capitalism a chance to respond to the allegation. The Washington Post’s actions constitute defamation, the lawyer writes in the letter published Monday.
“You did not provide even a single example of ‘fake news’ allegedly distributed or promoted by Naked Capitalism or indeed any of the 200 sites on the PropOrNot blacklist,” James A. Moody writes. “You provided no discussion or assessment of the credentials or backgrounds of these so-called ‘researchers’ (Clint Watts, Andrew Weisburd, and J.M. Berger and the ‘team’ at PropOrNot), and no discussion or analysis of the methodology, protocol or algorithms such ‘researchers’ may or may not have followed.”
Despite the media’s desperate attempts to cling to the ‘fake news’ slogan, this isn’t their true point of contention. At the end of the day, they want to suppress differing viewpoints, squash debate, and most importantly, keep their narrative monopoly.
Disagreeing with the point of view of a writer for an online competitor – or even the conclusion and opinions of the writer – does not make their reporting fake.
It is the way modern journalism has evolved. And it can’t be stopped.
Comment: What do you think of the new trend of mainstream media labeling outlets with differing viewpoints as “fake news?”