The term Orwellian gets thrown around a lot these days, and sometimes it’s a bit of hyperbole. But when it comes to the current state of the mainstream media, the term is completely appropriate when describing how flagrant their propaganda and disinformation has become.
One perfect example is how they have now completely inverted two important terms when it comes to journalistic integrity. The terms are “verified”, as in a story has been verified by several independent sources, not just one source. Second, is the term “debunked” to mean that once again, through various sources and rigorous investigation, the claim is untrue.
But all we have to do is look at the latest “bombshell” fake story in the media to see how these terms are now totally reversed.
Last week The Atlantic ran a story claiming that President Trump disparaged military troops in private conversations. Of course, it was a smear campaign as every other media outlet was quick to jump on the story in unison.
Soon, the mainstream media was claiming the story and the conversations reported in The Atlantic had been “verified”. But what they didn’t tell you is how that word has lost all meaning in modern journalism.
As Greg Greenwald of the The Intercept wrote, journalists now use a trick to apply the term “verified” when in fact, the story is totally unverified.
What they do is have the same anonymous source tell the story to several news outlets. Then the first outlet to report the story simply uses the second outlet as their “confirmation source”. As you can see, the verification source is the same as the original anonymous source. So in fact, there was no verification or confirmation at all.
That’s exactly what happened with The Atlantic story that dominated the headlines all last week. The same source The Atlantic used simply told his or her story to other outlets, which were then used to “verify” the story.
As you can see, in the modern way the media uses that term, verified now actually means unverified. In the old days of journalism, a verified claim was one that was backed up by three separate and unrelated sources.
Next is the term “debunked”. Instead of using the term to show they have rigorously investigated a claim, it is instead used to discredit anything they feel their audience shouldn’t be allowed to hear.
A perfect example of this was during the Democratic primary debates. The story about Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son’s exorbitant income from Ukrainian gas companies sand Chinese banks came to light. Most of this was brought up by President Trump himself on Twitter who wondered how Hunter Biden, who has no known full time job, has accumulated millions of dollars while sitting on the boards of giant international companies.
However, the media was quick to label these claims against Hunter Biden as “debunked”. Even during one of the debates earlier this year, Anderson Cooper proposed the question to Joe Biden, but prefaced it by saying the allegations had already been debunked.
The most troubling part of this is that any investigation into the claims against Hunter Biden would yield MORE evidence of corruption, not less. So here again the term is being used in a completely opposite way than what it actually means.
This all sets up a very disturbing escalation in the world of fake news. Twisting the truth or obscuring certain facts is one aspect of fake news. But now, the media is completely inverting important journalistic terms to mean the complete opposite of how they have traditionally been used.
At this point, calling out the media’s lies as Orwellian couldn’t be more appropriate.
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