The United States of Fake News
If you have been paying attention to the US political climate over the past year then there is no doubt you have heard the terms “fake news” and . Whether it come from the current president or MSNBC, this term has been thrown around, and has seemingly lost all meaning to a significant portion to the American public. In this essay I want to specifically explore the strategy of the Trump campaign surrounding the term “fake news”.
It all started during Trumps first press conference, Trump dropped “fake news” like an atomic bomb to his then feeble group of supporters. Finally, someone had appealed to the under-represented portion of America that not only didn’t believe in the bullshit that the liberal media produced, but condemned them for what they are, fake news. This skyrocketed the support for Trump, this unforeseen side of America could now rally under someone who didn’t care about any political agenda and spoke his mind, someone who told the culture around political correctness to “screw off”.
However this was not a calculated attack; as seen throughout his campaign, Trump shot a hail Mary just about every couple of days in attempt to further appeal to the more radical side of America, this was just one of those shots. However, to Trumps credit, he capitalized on this message to win the election. How do you take someone down who has instilled a disbelief in almost all of major media? Write an incriminating article about his past in the Washington Journal? What will that do? Maybe rile up some democrats, but it will fall on deaf ears to the right-wing. In doing this Trump made himself quite literally, untouchable. No scandal was too large to overcome by uttering the infamous two words “fake news”. This is without a doubt, absolutely horrifying. For a presidential candidate to use manipulation as his primary method of drawing support, is something that resembles the leadership you would see out of a dystopian novel.
However this was not the only way Trump secured his victory. As seen early before his decision to run for candidacy, Trump was willing to by publicly endorsing basically any news source that praised him, he took the trust of his supporters and directed it toward some of the most despicable websites on media ever to exist in the modern age. The most famous of them, Breitbart. Any rational human being that has ever been on Breitbart.com could tell you that there is nearly nothing of substance on it. This individual website contains baseless accusations to nearly every single public figure that came out against Trump, aswell as some of the most disgusting articles ever written about a human being targeted directly at Hillary Clinton.
Trump’s supporters didn’t just stop at believing Trump’s baseless claims that all negative media that was directed toward him was fake, they began to take initiative and call all media that didn’t exactly fit the rhetoric as fake news. This was seen when the members of the alt-right (a white-supremacist group that originated on the internet) turned on fox news, a historically ridiculously conservative news station that seemed to continuously pump out lies propagated by the republican party, for not fully pledging their support to Donald Trump prior to the primaries.
How can you appeal to a people who are deluded in their intake of media that they won’t even consider any article written by CNN or any other major news organisation as legitimate? Well, you can’t. There isn’t a way to get this group of people out of the hole that the left pushed them towards. Yes, I said the left, because it is true that instead of engaging in discussion we as a liberal society have created a taboo on certain topics and words that eliminated discussion and breeds ableism surrounding those topics. In an attempt to eliminate racism/sexism/homophobia etcetera, all America did was socially ostracize this large group of misguided people into this cesspool of hate and fear that played a large role in Trump becoming president.
Trump lives up to every negative notion he is associated with, he lies, he cheats and he manipulates his way into power. Nothing the left has done to stop him in his tracks has worked, every action taken against Donald Trump is an action taken against his supporters because they believe that he is their savior from the socially imposed silence that they have had to hide in to remain in their social circles. The only remedy to this drastic situation is to somehow reinstall belief in the mainstream media for Trump supporters, and the only way to do that is to continually initiate conversation regarding all beliefs and viewpoints no matter how tentative the subject is and no matter how hard it is for the focal group of said topic. Discussion is the most important thing for a society to stay socially ept and not turn into a dictatorship. We created this mess and now it is up to us to clean it up and create an America free of fake news.