Props to the mainstream media, the introduction of the term, fake news, has been an overwhelming success, but not as they intended. The label is beautiful; it’s a concise, unambiguous, sticky buzzword that instantly resonates with its receiver. ‘Fake news’ is the atomic bomb of persuasive labeling with the capability of obliterating a story. Yet, the mainstream media is learning that forging a game-changing weapon of war comes at a cost — your enemy will soon acquire it and point it right back at you. The leftist progenitors of ‘fake news,’ much like the men of the Manhattan Project, have come to regret their tool’s ramifications.
Fake news (def.) – a type of hoax or deliberate spread of misinformation published under the guise of being authentic news to mislead in order to gain financially or politically
The term ‘fake news’ has rocketed in prevalence as depicted in Google Trends since late October 2016.
It appears as if this simple phrase came out of nowhere. Journalism has been around for millennia; moreover, news reporting hasn’t changed that much since 2012 and 2014 where that graph line remains flat. Are we to believe that there was no such thing as ‘fake news’ back then? Of course not. So, why the skyrocketing spike? Why the concern now about fake news? In a nutshell, because Donald Trump won.
Media Matters for America is a politically progressive, self-proclaimed ‘watchdog’ site. The organization’s stated mission is to “comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.” Did you catch that? Their stated mission is ‘to correct conservative media,’ and given that Donald Trump won the presidency, Media Matter’s mission just got a whole lot more imperative for the political left.
A confidential memo from David Brock, founder of Media Matters, written sometime shortly after the election, headlined in it’s first few pages that they are committed to fighting against ‘fake news.’ One of the three stated goals of ‘The Media Matters Plan,’ is the goal of “Developing technologies to serve as an early warning system for fake news and inoculate social media platforms from exploitation and abuse.”
The rest of the leftist mainstream media outlets enthusiastically picked up the marching orders from Media Matters and followed suit. Below are just a few examples of mainstream media’s headlines creating that “early warning for fake news“:
The plague of fake news is getting worse — here’s how to protect yourself
November 1, 2016, CNN
This is a real news story about fake news stories
November 7, 2016, Washington Post
How Fake News Goes Viral: A Case Study
November 20, 2016, New York Times
Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say
November 24, 2016, Washington Post
As Fake News Spreads Lies, More Readers Shrug at the Truth
December 6, 2016, New York Times
Fake news: an insidious trend that’s fast becoming a global problem
December 2, 2016, The Guardian
Read all about it: The biggest fake news stories of 2016
December 30, 2016, CNBC
As time went on, these accusations of ‘fake news’ in their headlines got more grave and insidious. Clearly, there was a coordinated effort here among these left-wing churnalists to use the buzzword and associate it with Trump as often as possible.
Well, there has been an equal and opposite reaction to the left’s coordinated attack. Right-wing media fired back at the MSM with their own:
12 Fake News Stories from the Mainstream Media
November 22,2016, Breitbart
‘Fake News’ Isn’t Just a Rightwing Problem
November 26, 2016, National Review
Mainstream media is the chief culprit behind ‘fake news’
December 6, 2016, The Hill
The Ultimate “FAKE NEWS” List
December 7, 2016, InfoWars
The 7 Worst Examples of Fake News From the Mainstream Media
December 10, 2016, Townhall
The Real ‘Fake News’ Comes From The Mainstream Media
December 19, 2016, Investor’s Business Daily
But the ultimate retaliatory death blow was fixed squarely on CNN from the man with the bully pulpit, then President-elect, Donald Trump. When Trump was fielding questions from the press corps, a CNN correspondent continuously interrupted him, begging for a question to ask. So Trump fired back, “No, I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news.”
And in that very moment, the mainstream media lost the ‘Fake News’ War. One shot; many journalists killed (in terms of credibility).
Since then, the mainstream media has continued to take causalities. As reported previously here, the media’s trust is at all-time record lows and that trend is accelerating downward. This ‘fake news’ backfire was entirely predictable. If the mainstream media had a shred of humility, they would have recognized their devastatingly low position of trust, and as such, refrained from projecting their misdeeds onto the alternative media outlets. But Social Justice Warriors always double down; they can’t turn it off.
Even former Democratic Presidential contender, Bernie Sanders joked that, “Maybe he [Trump] was watching CNN, fake news, what do you think? …It was a joke.” Apparently, this hit quite the sore spot for CNN, and their producers abruptly “lost” his feed. The response Bernie received for his joke is par for the course as of late.
Another CNN reporter, Chris Cuomo said on SiriusXM, “I see being called ‘fake news’ as the equivalent of the N-word for journalists, the equivalent of calling an Italian any of the ugly words that people have for that ethnicity.” He later apologized, but the fact remains…this label boomerang has cut them deep.
Washington Post, much like CNN, who previously went on an all out assault to sleigh anything that they construed as ‘fake news’ back in November and December, can’t handle the taste of their own medicine. Washington Post did an about-face, and in a true, Orwellian, double think fashion ran a new story condemning the labeling of ‘fake news’:
Shutting down fake news could move us closer to a modern-day ‘1984’
February 10, 2017, Washington Post
That’s right. Now that the label is sticking to WaPo, the act of labeling opposing opinions as ‘fake news’ is a form of 1984, Ministry of Truth, silencing technique. Interesting. Did that same standard apply when they hastily and unabashedly labeled the alternative, right-leaning media the same thing? Additionally, they openly waved the white flag stating:
It’s time to retire the tainted term ‘fake news’
February 8, 2017, Washington Post
‘Fake news’ has now lost all meaning
February 9, 2017, Washington Post
Unfortunately, for CNN, Washington Post, and the rest of mainstream media, you can’t command the public to turn off the weapon that you pointed at them first. It doesn’t work like that. This may very well go down as the all-time biggest backfires in mainstream media history. This label will continue to be pointed at the MSM, creating a feedback loop of confirmation bias every time the audience catches them in a lie or even an accidental misrepresentation of the truth. The label, ‘FAKE NEWS!’ will immediately be recalled and ascribed to them. This devastating damage will plague their credibility and trust long after their white flag of surrender has been torn in two.