Fake News: What it Is, How it gets Made and Why
Media fake news is everywhere today
And No, the new healthcare bill does not treat rape as a pre-existing condition and Republicans did not celebrate its passage with beer.
The latest media outrage is driven by a Washington Post story about intelligence disclosures based on claims by anonymous sources. The WP’s big hit pieces are mainly based on anonymous sources.
Its latest hit piece runs a quote from, “a former senior US official who is close to current administration officials.” That’s an anonymous source quoting hearsay from other anonymous sources.
This is not journalism. It is a Joke.
Last week, the Washington Post unveiled a story based on “the private accounts of more than 30 officials at the White House.” The fake news story falsely claimed that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein threatened to resign. Rod had a simple answer when asked about that piece of fake news. “No.”
So much for 30 anonymous sources and for the WP’s credibility. But the media keeps shoveling out pieces based on anonymous sources and confirmed by anonymous sources while ignoring the disavowals by those public officials who are willing to go on the record.
The Comey Memo story is based on, according to the NY-T’s, “2 people who read the memo.” And then “one of Mr. Comey’s associates read parts of it to a Times reporter.” And his Dog.
The supposed memo contradicts Mr. Comey’s own testimony to Congress under oath.
The NY-T’s has not seen the memo. No one has seen the memo except the anonymous sources that may or may not exist. The media’s fake news infrastructure relies heavily on anonymous sources. And anonymous sources are the media’s way of saying, “Just trust us.”
The question is why would anyone trust the media?
Comey fake news is popular on the left because it is convinced that he is the Key to reversing their election defeat. Recently CNN, a division of Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) got its fake news fingers burned with a story claiming that the former FBI Director had asked for more resources for the Russia investigation before he was fired.
Where did CNN get its story from? Anonymous sources. Or, as the story put it, “2 sources familiar with the discussion.”
Sources “familiar with the discussion” is up there with “a former senior US official who is close to current administration officials.” And their neighbor’s dog who barks exclusively to CNN.
Rod Rosenstein and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe both shot down CNN’s fake news.
CNN’s headline was, “New Acting FBI Director Contradicts White House on Comey.” Its fake news was referenced only as, “Amid reports that Comey had asked for more resources for the Russia investigation, McCabe testified that he believed the bureau had adequate resources to complete the job.”
CNN did not acknowledge that the fake reports had come from it. It phrased it in passive and vague language. And it left out a Key part of McCabe’s response. “When we need resources, we make those requests here. So I’m not aware of that request and it’s not consistent with my understanding of how we request additional resources. That said, we don’t typically request resources for an individual case. And as I mentioned, I strongly believe that the Russian investigation is adequately resourced.”
CNN did not just push fake news. It covered up its crime. And it’s the cover-up that proves the crime.
Media outlets like CNN and the Washington Post often knows that they’re pushing lies. WP’s fact checkers shot down the claim that rape is a pre-existing condition. But the paper ran a piece titled, “I Was Raped. Thanks to Republicans, I Could Be Denied Insurance.” The editors know quite well which of these pieces will have more of an impact.
But the WP has at least 12 stories mentioning the Comey resources fake news.
The WP is not in the news business.
After its takeover by Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) boss Jeff Bezos, it’s in the business of manufacturing viral Trump hit pieces. It got a viral fake news hit with its lie that Press Secretary Sean Spicer was hiding in the bushes to avoid them.
There was an equally snarky correction issued that was largely irrelevant. Having manufactured a piece of fake news fit for a Saturday Night Live skit, the WP then dutifully reported on the SNL skit featuring its fake news item.
In the past there would have been a World of Difference between the WP and Saturday Night Live. Today they are part of the same lefty echo chamber.
The media, all the various parts of it, is now one big influence operation. The machine works by developing and taking fake news attacks viral. WP and SNL are in the same business. There is not even much of a stylistic difference.
The WP’s “Trump fired Comey because he’s taller” could easily have come from Saturday Night Live, The Onion or the Daily Show.
The truly damning epitaph of American journalism is that there is not much of a difference. Saturday Night Live is not doing comedy and the Washington Post is not doing journalism. They are both manufacturing viral Trump attacks.
So, getting your news from the Washington Post is as worthless as getting it from Saturday Night Live.
While more respectable papers like the WP and the NY-T’s occupy the top rung of the fake news ladder, CNN has become the National Enquirer of Trump bashing.
No story is too petty or fake to get airtime or site space. Recent examples that have gone viral include, “Is the President Afraid of Stairs” and “President Gets 2 Scoops of Ice Cream, Everyone Else 1.”
CNN’s fake news is constantly being shot down by the facts. But it just doubles down on its lies.
“We will not insult your intelligence by pretending it’s legitimate. Nor will we aid and abet the people trying to misinform you,” CNN’s Don Lemon had blustered when trying to suppress the Susan Rice spying story.
CNN insults the intelligence of its viewers every minute that they watch it. It offers up a stream of misinformation while trying to suppress legitimate news. Much of this misinformation takes the form of spreading lefty fake news memes whether it’s rape as a preexisting condition or Republican beer.
And even when corrections appear, they exist only for the purpose of plausible deniability. The original fake news gets rolled into multiple news stories, blog posts and editorials that never get updated or corrected.
And even if they were to be, the damage would be done. That is the way fake news works.
CNN and the WP are throwing mud and assuming that some of it will stick. And even when it is officially corrected, it still sticks around. Months later, the WP site still carries an uncorrected reference to the AP fake news story which claimed that President Trump had threatened to invade Mexico even after it had been denied by both governments and had been pulled for being unverifiable.
It is a safe bet that rape as a pre-existing condition and James Comey’s Russian resources will also stick around.
“Applying the fake news label is an attack on the truth. It is reckless and corrosive to democracy, and elected officials attempt to deliberately and systematically erode the credibility of news organizations because they object to factually accurate reporting,” the CEO of the Washington Post insisted last month.
But it’s the media that is reckless and corrosive to democracy. It has eroded its credibility with fake news.
Factually accurate reporting has become too difficult and unrewarding. The idea of waiting months or years for an investigation to pay off is alien to the nanosecond news cycle. That’s why every fake Trump scandal is the new Watergate, and fake news is constantly being manufactured.
News organizations are throwing away their credibility to reverse the results of a democratic election. And it is not only their own credibility that they are throwing away.
The marketplace of ideas is based on reason and objectivity. Without them, there is no longer a public square we could all live in.
Media bias began to corrupt the marketplace. But bias meant the selective reporting of facts. Falsehoods could creep in. But generally the media would not just casually run stories that were completely false. It would happen from time to time. But it wouldn’t be a constant practice.
Then a tipping point happened.
Historians of journalism will argue over when the dam broke.
Was it the Age of Obama or the Age of Trump?
But the day arrived.
The Sun rose over the CNN Center in Atlanta, the K Street digs of the Washington Post and the offices of other media organizations. And it was no longer a question of selective reporting. We were no longer arguing about the injection of opinion into news stories or journalistic double standards.
Paul Ebeling, Editor
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