There is a lot of blah-blah-blah coming from the Conservative camp about “fake news.” Am I the only one that read The Onion religiously at the local coffeehouse? Am I the only one that scrolls through the clever, made-up headlines on NewsLo or Landover Baptist?
Made up stories in periodicals or websites like The Onion and NewsLo are not real. These websites are not unlike Mad magazine and are not to be considered truth in journalism. That is their whole angle, making fun of people, circumstances or entities, or putting them in surreal, satirical situations. That is their market: satire. Fake news.
Journalism outlets—CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Democracy Now, Chicago Tribune, ABC News, The New York Times, and the like—are news outlets. They report real events and the real people involved with them. I’m not talking about the commentary shows on said news outlets, as opinion is exactly that: opinion. But the stories and headlines on network news are real, not fake.
Yes, there may be a slant on the story. Some stories are buried or never reported. Some words are chosen instead of others to give shock or to downplay, but nevertheless the events and people are real, no matter what kind of filter you put on the actual story.
You may not like what stories are told, or how the bias spin might have applied. The tilt of the story, or with omitted data doesn’t make the story, periodical or TV network “fake.”
I’ll be the first to tell you that I much prefer independent news over network. I prefer news that is publicly funded over ones that are paid for by commercial businesses. I feel there is more integrity in independent news and the free press, whereas bigger news networks tend to cater to the money for paid advertisements.
But that still doesn’t make those outlets “fake.” They merely lean in a certain direction, to stay alive in the journalism world. While they might be biased in some ways, they still report real people in real events.
You cannot call news “fake” if it’s not. The word “fake” is already defined and any rational and realistic person would know that the term doesn’t fit the situation.
Allowing our President to call all news that he dislikes, disagrees with, or feels is a threat, brings confusion. Not that everything published by network news should be devoured without critique or skepticism, but being anti-journalism and anti-reporting can be the beginning of a horrible thing.
This is a technique used by people who want to discredit others. In dystopia novels, you can see words redefined: “peace is war, war is peace.” You change the meaning of the word and you change how others see what or whom you are defining.
And once you discredit the ones we get our information from—the news—you become dependent on the leader. You find yourself having to trust his or her words. There are no checks. No balances. No skepticism. Because besides that person, everything else is fake.
Essentially, you just imprisoned yourself to where you distrust everyone and everything but the liar.