No, Media, #FakeNews Is Not Something Donald Trump Just Made Up
During President Trump’s rally in Jacksonville, FL, he made mention to (surprise!) the size of the crowd:
A reporter for the Washington Post named Dave Weigel couldn’t resist so he immediately sent out this tweet:
This tweet had been deleted for reasons that will soon become apparent.
The place was, according to all reports, filled to capacity.
Weigel is laughing this off, doing his version of Jon Stewart’s “clown nose on, clown nose off” routine–or, to be more current–he’s acting like he’s Al Franken who says sticking his tongue down your throat was just a joke.
His fellow reporters are claiming what kind of a great reporter he is:
Really, knowingly sending out a fake report to build your #Resistance cred makes you “one of the best reporters in the world?”
And then the constitutionally illiterate constitutional law take was provided by TheSecondMostSlappableFaceOnTheInternetTM
But we have to ask, why did Weigel feel professionally justified to start a malicious and false story using the same twitter account he uses as a Washington Post reporter?
What is most interesting about this, is the media treatment of this and similar incidents. Axios devotes a story to How Trump is spreading the “fake news” virus around the world.
After President Trump tweeted that CNN International “is still a major source of (Fake) news,” Libyan media published an article questioning the authenticity of a major CNN report on the Libyan slave trade.
“It is reported in international political circles that many of the reports broadcast by the American channel often come as ‘collusion’ to serve political objectives in certain parts of the world, and here the possibility arises that the channel has published the report of slavery in Libya to raise a political objective that is still hidden,” the report said, per a translation.
Why it matters: Trump’s rhetoric on “fake news” is having direct and indirect effects around the world, and playing into the hands of those for whom distrust in the media is beneficial. There are many more such examples.
Because no one ever thought of distrusting the media before last year.
This is nonsense. As I posted yesterday, you can’t demand to be trusted when you are willing to post virtually anything that damages Trump or his administration and you’re unwilling to clean up the mess afterward. It took ABC all day to retract Brian Ross’s fabricated story on Mike Flynn. As far as we know, nothing was done to discipline the reporters and the editors at Bloomberg and Reuters that okayed a totally bogus story on Mueller subpoenaing Trump’s financial records. CNN is still boasting that it didn’t retract a patently false story on emails to Donald Trump, Jr., it only “corrected” it. The correction refuting the premise of the original story being of no concern.
Fake news was not created by Trump and, despite any purely cynical reason he might have for promoting the idea, he has not spread it overseas. More importantly, and an issue not addressed, is that the idea of #FakeNews would be off in some tiny corner of the internet if the reporters who comprise the media simply stopped acting as a partisan hit squad. Unfortunately, we have reached a point where the media is obviously making a conscious decision to become a political force in its own right. It can’t do that and expect to be trusted.