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Written By: Squiggly Line Guy
Follow on Twitter: @CallMeSquiggly
President Donald Trump last week set off a new firestorm calling the media “Enemies of the American People.” Senator John McCain responded that “this is how dictators get started.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017
Fake News. It’s the new phenomenon and the ultimate form of dismissal. It jabs the source as purposefully false or unreliable. Hell, even I’ve been called fake news by people who simply didn’t like what I had to say. Clearly based on the platform that I write for, I have a bias. I won’t apologize for it either. I’m a Libertarian. If you don’t like it, take your roads and go home. Just like everyone else who writes, I have a perspective. This is an Op-Ed. That should be a clue.
Every reporter or writer has a bias. That can be displayed in how they cover a story, or simply if they choose to cover it or not. It is important to remember that some news is fake though.
The #FakeNews phenomenon began during the election. It was also mostly directed in Donald Trump’s favor. Many fake news sites originated from Macedonia and were mostly fake pieces that played to Trump’s base. It was red meat ripe for the clicking, and it was fake. Why? Because some Macedonians learned clicks was money. This is where the widespread term “Fake News” originated from, where Trump supporters were time and time again sharing fake stories from fake “Independent” outlets.
The mainstream media however does share guilt here as well. Where were all the Trump supporters who are today decrying mainstream media Fake News when it worked in Trump’s favor?
Where did the mainstream media go wrong? Sensationalism is where they went wrong. Covering the election like Reality TV. Treating Donald Trump like Truman Burbank of The Truman Show. Thinking they could treat the election like Reality TV and trump the person who did Reality TV as a business. Hindsight is always 20/20. As much as we disbelieved Trump ever had a shot at the presidency, he stayed one step ahead of the curve.
He would outfox the media for coverage. During his campaign he held a press conference on the Obama Birther issue, only to quickly say he put an end to it. That Obama was born in the U.S., and then proceed to spend the time in front of cameras talking about his hotels. He didn’t play the media for fools. He simply played the media. The media were fools all on their own. He hardly had to take out any campaign ads because he dominated the airwaves anyway. That wasn’t all Trump’s doing. That was equally the media’s choice.
Trump managed to make the Fake News claim work in his favor both directions, in a two way street. The infamous #PissGate scandal that never was. A fake dossier of how Trump enjoyed getting urinated on by Russian Prostitutes hit the airwaves. The dossier was released by Buzzfeed, and a report was also made by CNN. The two networks pointed fingers at each other over the screw up. That was all Trump needed to turn the Fake News narrative around.
Trump supporters proliferated fake news that worked in Trump’s favor. And now they’re decrying any news as fake that criticizes Trump. Trump gets away with it simply because the mainstream media is not smart. They allow themselves to get trolled and rolled.
The media sold their soul for ratings and clicks. It made sense in the short terms business model, but in the long term, they facilitated the damage they’re now receiving. Trump has long said he wants to open up libel laws to suppress the freedom of the press. The press knew the stove was hot. They touched it anyway. It directly parallels any given MTV episode of Jackass. They got their ratings ultimately at their own expense.
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