The post-election buzzword is “fake news.” It’s being discussed by nearly every major and most minor news outlets. For some reason, many are making two huge and erroneous claims about it: Trump’s win can be attributed to it and it’s mostly a right-wing problem.
Folks, I’m going to rant a bit here. As most are aware, I did not support Donald Trump throughout the election cycle, but he’s our Commander-in-Chief and the office deserves respect. When he does well, I’ll cheer. When he lurches left as he’s wont to do, I’ll dissent. It’s important to understand this so my attacks on his media critics won’t appear to be coming from a Trump apologist.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s look at the two false narratives being pushed by mainstream media and leftist politicians. No, fake news did not get Trump elected. Hillary Clinton and the massive miscalculations of the Democrats got Trump elected. I used to think that Trump was the only nominee who could lose to Clinton. I learned very quickly that Clinton was the only nominee who could lose to Trump, and she did so in a spectacular manner. To understand why fake news didn’t contribute one iota to her loss, we have to understand the fallacy of the second narrative.
This is not a right-wing problem. Many “conservative” publications have their share of fake news, click-bait headlines, and propagandized interpretations of the facts, but the left has been doing the same for much longer. The difference is that fake news from the right is called out as atrocious while fake news from the left is slapped with the journalistic misdemeanor of correctable mistake. We’ve seen it time and time again when a left-leaning publication broadcasts loudly false information against the right, then issues a correction a couple of days later in a small paragraph on page 8 after the damage is already done. This has been a strategy used by leftist mainstream media for decades.
There are examples of this pretty much everywhere. Today, a big story shared by tens of thousands that appeared at the top of Google News and got reposted by dozens of smaller news sites hit Yahoo. It claimed that Hillary Clinton received more votes than any Presidential candidate ever. Except she didn’t. In fact, her total vote count isn’t even higher than Barack Obama’s lower count in 2012, let alone his record-setting count in 2008.
This story goes towards the leftist narrative that Hillary should be the President-elect. It’s designed to infuriate Democrats and shame Republicans. Even if they were to take the story down immediately and replace it with a factual story, the damage is done. The left will do anything it can to churn up dissent against Trump. The sad part is that they don’t need to use fake news to make that happen, but it’s in their DNA. They are spindoctors first, journalists a distant second.
Not only will you likely not see them correct the story, but you also won’t see any mainstream media sites or leftist blogs calling them out for it. We’ve experienced this type of fake news journalism for the last eight years. President Obama has received more favorable press than anyone in history. Some might believe that this is impossible to quantify, but all it takes is common sense. The massive expansion of consumed media makes today’s society more connected than ever before. That fact combined with the intimate and open love affair the media has had with Obama since he first won the Democratic nomination makes my claim righteous.
The left will call out every ounce of fake news perpetrated by the right. They will then defend or cover up any fake news they themselves issue. They will use the threat of fake news to push their own fake news narratives. In essence, the left has the best of both worlds. They get to have their fake news and make us eat it, too. Sadly, when the media is so controlled by one particular ideology, they have the power to determine who gets the kudos and who gets the shaft.