Yes it’s troubling that so many people just take what they read on line at Face value. It’s troubling that they don’t check into the story on even a basic level; such as checking to see if the publication shown as the source actually exists. Or if the story appears with a legit logo (like USA Today) going to the actual site to see if the story really is there. This is troubling. These stories pray on our confirmation bias so that their creators can make a few bucks delivering ads for Cialis or the latest season of Real Housewives of Newark. So now the mainstream corporate media are sounding the alarm. Some like Mike Barnacle on MSNBC this morning think the way to attack these hucksters is to crack down on the dissemination by leaning on silicon valley (Facebook, Google, Twitter…etc) to police their platforms. Really? Has our education system sunk so low in their eyes that they feel we cannot educate people in the ways to uncover lies and fact check reports ? We can’t teach people the basic truth that not everything that passes in front of our eyeballs is true? Fake news on the internet may be a new phenomenon but lies and liars have been around forever and it’s always been safe to venture out into the world with the knowledge that they exist and the tools to combat them. And ironically the internet itself gives us the tools to ferret the fakes out literally at our fingertips. It’s easier to call bullshit than it’s EVER been. Cutting off the flow of information at the point of dissemination- no matter what the information reeks of censorship to me. Fake news.
I think we should expand the definition of “Fake News” to include all the mainstream media pundits who bloviated constantly about how Donald Trump couldn’t possibly win the election. While we examine the impact of “fake news” let’s also look at their effect on turnout and the election results. Did people stay home thinking Hillary had it in the bag? Or cast a protest vote for Trump for the same reason? Fake news.
By far the biggest fake news story of the year was the way that the mainstream media convinced the American public that every single word that fell out of the mouth of Donald Trump was vitally important and had to be covered. They all took his calls, they put a crew on him every step of the way and it continues to this day. MSNBC promises wall to wall coverage of the “Thank -You Tour” where we will learn nothing of value. Fake news.
The most glaring example of this strain of “fake news” came on Super Tuesday March 15th. While all the candidates still in the race were holding rallies or addressing supporters that evening all the cable news outlets kept the cameras trained on an empty podium where according to the “Breaking News” Donald Trump would “soon be speaking”. They kept it there for 45 minutes less we miss a single syllable of what this man would have to say. Fake news indeed.