The term “fake news” was coined to discredit information shared on social media networks like Twitter and Facebook. Global info overlords Google, Facebook, and Twitter claim to be concerned about the sudden rise of fake news on their platforms, but it’s nothing new. To most people, fake news is obviously fake. Or is it?
Ever get a Tweet or Facebook post claiming some famous person has died only to find out they’re on holiday in Spain? That was an early, harmless form of fake news. These simple hoaxes soon spread like a virus driven by the public’s desire to virtue signal. They want friends to know how saddened they are by the death of [insert famous person here]. Everyone wants to be the first to share the news.
Over time fake news evolved into full stories hosted on monetised websites covering more outrageous content. The greater the shock factor the greater the chance it would spread, earning clicks and money. In the age of social media where no one looks up from their phones or chats on the morning commute, we are desperate for acknowledgment. We share with the hope that someone in our digital circle will perceive us a certain way. In reality, recipients simply view these moments as a means to boost their own image (as knowledgeable, virtuous, intelligent, funny etc). It’s an addictive vicious cycle, demanding ever greater doses.
“Fake news” was intended to mean obviously false or misleading information that spreads to a large group of people, quickly. So why did Donald Trump famously label CNN “fake news” and later upgrade their status to “very very fake news”?
My research into CNN and fake news received its cherry on top yesterday, when CNN posted the headline, “Sean Spicer just forgot the first rule of politics, never compare anything to Hitler”. I don’t know whether the editors at CNN are incompetent or vindictive, but the hypocrisy is obscene.
Over the last six months, CNN made numerous Hitler/Nazi comparisons (mostly to denigrate Donald Trump). Who’s responsible for violating “the first rule of politics?” One prime time news anchor on several occasions, three analysts, and four guest contributors for over 65 references.
Let’s further consider CNN’s coverage over the last year to see if they do indeed qualify as fake news. In the last 12 months CNN has covered or reported over 300 fake or misleading news stories, used props to create “crime scenes”, interviewed their own cameraman as a “protester”, photoshopped to add effects that support their narrative, and even quoted obviously fake news from social media. In other words, CNN keeps a bucket of stones in its glass house. Below this article, I have linked references.
In a week where 50 people died in explosions targeting Christians and an 11-year-old girl was shredded by an Islamic Truck of Peace, the mainstream media focused on some guy getting dragged off a plane.
Why did it all go so wrong? One major reason is the slow death of traditional broadcast and print media due to advertising dollars being diverted to social media platforms. The first people let go by media conglomerates tend to be the investigative journalists – the people who get knee deep in shit to expose the truth over weeks or months or years. In an industry of rapid-fire headlines and opinion these guys are dinosaurs.
“Reporters” today resemble glorified carrier pigeons transporting verbatim notes from the top to their narrow-focus, headline-only readers. If you made it this far down the article you don’t fall in this category of reader.
Fake news is all around us, but we the public should be able to see through it. We should question everything and keep journalists honest and accountable.
We don’t need Google’s Ministry of Truth.
Be it a ridiculous post on Facebook or CNN pushing a biased narrative down your throat, you don’t have to share everything. Make news personal again and expect a standard that will inform and enlighten. Don’t use news as a means to signal your virtue to 400-plus Facebook friends (who you never talk to anyway). The fight against fake news cannot be won by Google. It is up to you, the intelligent reader.
That said, please go ahead and share this with as many people as you can. We owe it to our fellow citizens to let them know when they’re being lied to.
For an outstanding summary of CNN’s crimes against the truth, check out CNN Fake News. Compiled tirelessly by Redditor u/ShitsInYourSafeSpace, who is happy for you to share any and all artworks.
Please subscribe for real daily news and frank opinion.
Follow us on twitter @rightofB