It appears as though this past week may go down in fake news history.
We started off the past week with the now refuted Buzzfeed story that claimed President Trump forced his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie about specific incidents pertaining to Robert Mueller’s witch hunt Russia collusion investigation.
However, this time the news was so fake that Mueller himself had to put out a statement through his office saying that the report was not accurate. This unprecedented move by a Special Counsel publicly exposed how fake the Buzzfeed story really was.
It was such a public humiliation and exposure for anti-Trumpers that many pundits were calling it a victory for Trump as it basically has proven him right for all the times he has called many in the media “fake news”.
Then we had a viral story which appears to be 100% fake, and in reality is basically a non-story and the only real news about it is the way the media transformed it into something it wasn’t.
In the story I’m sure you are aware of by now, several teenagers from a Catholic school were attending the Right to Life march when they were singled out, ridiculed, and called racist and derogatory names by a group of African-American protesters who referred to themselves as Hebrew Israelites.
After this a Native American protester named Nathan Phillips entered the situation and once again singled a boy out from the group and began chanting and banging a drum right in his face.
The media immediately spun the story to say that the teenage boys, who were wearing MAGA hats, were the ones harassing the “poor old” Native American man. The news also claimed they were chanting “build the wall” when no video evidence of such a claim exists.
But the whole story was 100% fake. Videos now released show that the boys showed great restraint, and they were the ones in fact being harassed and targeted, not the other way around.
What makes this story so important is that it wasn’t just fake news, it was opposite-news. Using fake and anonymous sources to slander the president is one thing, and sadly not that new. But taking an event that occurred on video that show the facts and basically turning it into the exact opposite situation is very troubling and Orwellian in nature.
Another issue that makes these two incidents so important is they happened back to back, and were both almost immediately debunked, so the media and those who supported the original story had no choice but to admit they had propagated fake news.
So even those who believe that “fake news” is just an invention by Trump were themselves tricked by actual fake news.
These two incidents represent to me a type of tipping point for fake news and now there is no longer a way that anyone can argue it doesn’t exist and that it doesn’t mostly focus on slandering Trump and his supporters.
Another differentiating point is that most past news stories have been able to linger for weeks and even months before the facts come out and dispute the original story. But by then, most people have moved on and nobody ever really hears about the retractions, corrections, or the true facts. The lie remains even though it is ultimately proven false. The retraction or correction always receives significantly less coverage or no coverage compared to the original fake story.
But with the Buzzfeed article, the news wasn’t allowed to linger for weeks. It was refuted immediately and proven false almost immediately. This caused the media outlets that chose to present the article as fact to have to wipe egg from their face and admit that fake news does indeed exists and it exists on mainstream media outlets, not some fringe news sites.
And now with the MAGA kids story being debunked, it is happening yet again, and almost in real-time. Once again, the speed at which it is debunked is the key factor here. The story doesn’t linger around with the false narrative being allowed to seep into the collective consciousness.
Something I have written about several times on this site is the fact that the fake news media will eventually totally expose themselves by overplaying their hand, and this looks to be the start of it.
Overt propaganda can only work for so long, even if your audience likes it at first. For example, imagine a sports network like ESPN, but they only positively cover one team and bash all the other teams. The fans of that one team may love the network and tune in all the time, at least at first. But eventually they will realize it’s really a waste of time to tune in as the information is mostly fake and biased.
This is what will eventually happen to the fake news media and we are seeing it with these two latest stories. People who hate Trump are seeing that the news they enjoy is really a waste of time – it’s fake and eventually people get tired of fake, even if it’s pandering to them.
Now I’m not saying that fake news is officially dead, but somewhere down the road we may look back on these stories as the start of when fake news started to die.
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