Don’t tell me about “fake news.” Please don’t try and convince me what fake news is. I’ve seen it too long.
Those tabloids you see lining the aisles of the checkout stands at stores, with huge-font headlines about Bat Boy, Bigfoot, space aliens meeting with Newt Gingrich, Dick Cheney being a robot … that’s fake news. Recognize it as such. Please.
Alex Jones and InfoWars … Breitbart … Rush Limbaugh … Sean Hannity … Laura Ingraham … Drudge Report … Michael Savage … nothing journalistic about any of them and their ilk. Each of them, opinionated blowhards who rake in too much money by spreading nonsense too many people eat up, too easily tempted and too easily convinced that what they’re hearing just has to be true without lifting a finger in an internet search to see whether it is indeed factual. Alex Jones can spout all kinds of conspiracy theories about all kinds of garbage, and he’ll say over and over that he’s “seen the white papers” that back up his claims. When has he ever produced those “white papers” for closer inspection by his gullible fans?
Here’s what’s not “fake news.” It’s the work that’s done by people at newspapers large and small, television stations large and small, radio stations large and small, who put aside biases and ask honest questions seeking information from all sides of a story so they can present all sides to the public. It’s a way of getting at this thing called the truth.
Such a thing does exist.
I used to be one of those people who made a modest living as a journalist asking questions to those on all sides of a story. I even discovered a bullet hole in the side of a red Ford Mustang I once owned around the time I was asking questions, and I tend to think some people didn’t like the questions I was asking. I was getting too close to the truth.
Maybe someone wanted to scare me off. Instead, I kept asking questions.
So you could definitely say it irritates me to no end when the so-called President of the United States throws more credibility to the Alex Joneses and Breitbarts of the world and calls bonafide outlets practicing the craft of asking questions and reporting their findings as “fake news.” All because they’re getting at facts, getting at truth, and he doesn’t like it.
Instead of grabbing a gun and shooting at a reporter’s car, he takes old video from his days as just a reality TV star, from a performance in which he faked taking down the head honcho of one of the fake wrestling organizations (whose wife is now in charge of the Small Business Administration), has someone superimpose the CNN logo over the honcho’s face, and posts it on Twitter.
And his followers think he’s so tough.
Instead of grabbing a gun and shooting at a reporter’s car, he just comes out and calls legitimate journalists the “enemy of the people.”
And his followers believe him.
This is the so-called President of the United States. Emphasis on so-called.
Trump supporters whine and moan about anonymous sources in reports from major outlets such as The New York Times or The Washington Post when it comes to information presented on any Trump campaign ties to Russia. Anonymous sources have been around for many, many years, and they stay anonymous for valid reasons. There’s nothing criminal about it. It’s not an act of treason.
If the use of anonymous sources was criminal, then we owe Richard Nixon an apology for sullying his image and former FBI special agent Mark Felt — known during and for a long time after the Watergate years as the anonymous source “Deep Throat” — should be posthumously executed.
Are we okay with the dirty tricks Nixon played? If not, then why hang the media out to dry for using anonymous sources in trying to dig up information that could make Nixon’s actions look like nothing more than a third-rate bungled burglary?
The major media has some serious blame to share in this mess emanating from the White House or Mar-a-Lago or wherever Trump happens to open up that spoiled, childish brain of his in order to share his latest dim-witted and warped thoughts. On the television side, Trump can’t say that he was treated unfairly during the campaign. If anything, he was given gifts that kept on giving in terms of free air time and the ratings that can come from having a talkative sociopath appear or phone in.
Among the worst offenders from that time: Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski from the Morning Joe show on MSNBC. I’d like to say I have more sympathy for those two after the Twitter attacks the immature so-called POTUS leveled at them on Twitter recently, but they helped create the monster.
Joe and Mika didn’t present “fake news.” They presented an open microphone and cameras and phone lines to an outright fool, a bully, someone historically unfit to claim the title of POTUS. They did it for ratings, not the truth.
We’re paying for it now. This isn’t how you make America … greater. Some of the greatest freedoms we have come through the First Amendment, including freedom of speech and freedom of the press. If you look carefully lately, you can see from Trump and his people ways in which that freedom is being threatened.
That’s how we’re going to make America … greater?
Search out the truth. Reject the real fakery. As citizens, do the job that citizens need to do to put feelings and ideologies aside and seek out the truth.
America demands it. America requires it. America deserves it.
Part 4: The Fakeness of America
Part 5: Turning Things Around