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JV Editorial

The Insidious Nature of Fake News

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FAKE NEWS! is the term introduced into the lexicon of the English language by Donald Trump with as much of a splash as any Shakespearean quote. It’s basically a rebirth of the description of the type of yellow journalism utilized by William Randolph Hearst that helped push the American public to support the Spanish American War resulting in our taking over Cuba and the Philippines. Today, substitute Russia for Spain and start to sweat.

FAKE NEWS (FN) is the deliberate reporting of inaccurate, sometimes sensationalistic information created to deceive or damage a reputation. FN, with the internet, instant reporting on TV and the various informational networks that abound, easily manipulates the reader or viewer to accept what is given as fact. If the FN is aligned with the audience’s point of view, the content will not be questioned or discounted. And that causes us great concern. Since Trump’s election, the media has been in a crisis, one that is self inflicted. That cause is the hysteria over Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton. If you recall, immediately after November 8th, 2016, New York Magazine claimed that “a group of prominent computer scientists and election lawyers” were demanding a recount in three separate states because of “persuasive evidence that {the election} results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked.”

Joy Reid,of the infamous, MSNBC, jumped on the story and was retweeted over 4,000 times. Then Paul Krugman, the NYT financial maven columnist, famous for claiming that if Trump were elected, the market would crash 1929-like, shared the story and he was re tweeted over 2,600 times. This was FN to delegitimize the outcome of an election that the media failed to predict. Since then, Trump has been labeled by much of the media as our “non-president.” This is how FN works. The fake story goes viral while hardly anybody reads about the retraction or recantation of the false claim or report which is usually tucked away amidst the help wanted ads. And oh yeah……let’s wait and see who (if anyone) in the White House wrote that op-ed for the NYT. Could be another FAKE NEWS gift from them.

We’ve had many warnings about the credibility deterioration of our sources of information over the years that seemed to go unnoticed by their consumers. Take for instance the biased anti-Israel reporting of the late mega media reporter, Peter Jennings. Who knew that at that time that he was the lover of Palestinian spokesperson Hanan Ashrawi? In 1972, while covering the slaughter of 11 Israeli athletes by Palestinians at the Munich Olympics, Jennings whitewashed the event to his American viewers by referring to the killers as “guerrillas” and “commandos, never as “terrorists.” Fake News.

During the final days of the 2004 presidential election campaign,CBS News biggee and anchorman Dan Rather released a story that claimed that the Republican candidate for president, George W. Bush had been AWOL from his post in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam war, that he had a letter from the then squadron commander to that effect and therefore, Bush was unqualified to be re-elected. That letter was proven false, the charge phony and Rather was fired. But not before attempting to destroy Bush’s election efforts. Fake News.

And then there’s the New York Times the Royal Crown of the print media who hired and then fired reporter Jason Blair in 2003 for, in their words, “Frequent acts of journalistic fraud.” He had been reporting ostensibly from other cities while writing from his own apartment. He had been warned many times previously by his supervisors until they could no longer avoid his release. But the damage had already been done. Recently, that same paper hired on to its editorial staff, after what one must assume, a thorough vetting process, Sarah Jeong, who had openly sent out the following tweets: “Oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men.” “I was equating Trump to Hitler before it was cool.” “#CancelWhitePeople.” And “I open my mouth to politely greet a Republican, but nothing but an unending cascade of vomit flows from my face.” Ms. Jeong will write “unbiased” editorials for the New York Times. More Fake News to come from that tabloid.

Then there is the current hullabaloo over internet giants, Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., and Alphabet Inc.’s Google over alleged antitrust violations and concerns over data-privacy abuses, as well as growing complaints from some Republicans that conservative speech is being suppressed. Mark Stoller, a fellow at the Open Markets Institute has criticized these internet platforms. The current focus on their treatment of conservative viewpoints could suggest, “an attempt to use legitimate concerns to organize legal power for one party and point of view and that’s dangerous,” Stoller said. The Justice Department may step in to halt this apparent abuse. In a recent IBD/TIPP Poll an average of 54% of the respondents felt that the news media has assumed the role of the opposition party to President Trump and his policies and the media will not cover the Trump presidency fairly. Republicans questioned in this poll agreed 85% that the media was biased in favor of the Democrats.

A biased media will continue to issue Fake News to influence the nation of the dangers of the “Far Right.” The term “Fascists” will be used more often in the future if progressives assume more power in the next election. It is a stabbing word that is utilized to shock and attack. It works. So what will be the outcome of this Fake News crisis? If by some miracle, the MSM begins to view the Trump administration and its decisions genuinely, holding it accountable not only for its mistakes but support it for its achievements the chasm between our people may be closed. If it continues as it is now, we will be in for a rough couple of years till 2020. With the New Year, we pray for salvation of this great land by the return to the media of fairness and genuine concern in their reporting.

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