Demonizing of news sources for political purposes seems to be the trendy thing these days. One of the most prominent strategies of Donald Trump and his administration… and his followers, his Suckers… is to label everything they don’t want to hear from the media as “fake news”. The idea that the media cannot be trusted, and is reporting distorted, or even outright untrue, information. Be a thinker, look deeper than what you’re told, the implication goes. Kind of creates a ‘boogeyman’ for the faithful to rally around, doesn’t it? The truly sad part is that it has proven to be very effective.
But ask yourself this: Where did they get it? Where did they get the notion that certain media outlets are not to be trusted… ever? Or better yet, where did they get the idea that demonizing opposite news sources is politically persuasive?
They got it from you, Mr/Ms Partisan/Extreme Liberal. You taught them that demonizing of opposite sources of information is a powerful political strategy. For years the left has been outright vilifying anything that comes from Fox. It has become so common and socially accepted, in fact, that those on the left will spout phrases like “Faux News” when discussing conservatives and conservative politics in general without even having a specific topic at hand. How is this any different from the right’s “fake news” mantra? Hint: It’s not.
It’s gotten so bad that I… so that I don’t get sidetracked defending the source because the point of a story has been lost in the shuffle… will often seek an alternative source before I discuss something. I can relate a news story to a liberal, and they’ll reflexively dismiss it if my source is Fox, but they’ll accept it… albeit grudgingly, sometimes… if the source is Huffington Post, or somebody else similar. The information can be exactly the same, but the source ends up being the overriding focus. Makes no sense. We’re losing sight of the issues themselves, at that point.
Now, is Fox News biased? Yes, they are. They have a chosen spin, they’re unapologetically conservative, and make no bones about it. But… they’re no less biased and spin-happy than somebody like National Public Radio (NPR). The difference between the two, other than the obvious opposite leanings, is style. Fox News will often report on many issues and tell half-truths, or lies-by-omission. Most of what they say isn’t necessarily untrue, but it’s also not complete. That’s bad, but is it really worse than the other side?
NPR will generally be more complete and truthful in the stories they report, but their bias and “omissions” are more subtle and take the form of not reporting on stories they don’t like at all. Seriously, if NPR were your sole source for information, you would be completely unaware that some issues and points-of-view even exist. In a way, that’s far more insidious than what Fox News does, yet NPR is respected as some paragon of journalistic virtue by so many.
NPR, this paragon of journalistic virtue, won’t tolerate reporters with opposing points-of-view on their staff. Just ask Juan Williams, who was fired for having the audacity to share an unapproved opinion on a politically charged topic. I’ve read his book, and it’s very interesting and worth the read, if you’re open-minded. And where does Williams work now? That’s right, Fox News, that supposedly blinders-wearing den of conservative reprobates, sharing his generally left-leaning opinions as a political analyst. So much for tolerance and diversity, I guess.
You want to know who is outright dishonest in their reporting? Outlets such as alternet.org and Occupy Democrats (OD) are two perfect examples. OD is probably the worst of the worst on either side. There will usually be a kernel of truth buried somewhere in a story of theirs, as a springboard to their own propaganda. It may be no more than the framing the issue. But the rest will be pretty much total lie-by-omission willful misinformation… yet I see people post this crap all the time as if it’s gospel, right after they slammed Fox News for allegedly doing the same thing. In the interest of fairness, Breitbart is down at this low level, as well, though not quite as blatant. If you post anything by any of these sources, you’re not engaging in honest discussion. We’re all suckers in our own little ways, aren’t we?
In case you’ve read this far and missed it, the point of this is not to defend Donald Trump, his follo… er, umm, his Suckers… or their strategy. No, the purpose is to point out that the left’s indignation over this is misplaced to the point of being hypocrisy. Really, the “fake news” mantra is no different than the “Faux News” label. Sorry, my left-leaning friends, you made this bed.