The struggle against fake news is not going to end anytime soon; in fact, it’s just heating up.
In a sense the struggle has intensified because (1) we’ve come to accept the fact that fake news is out there, and (2) the Trump people are using the term to describe any story that somehow derides their hero.
Remember the now-classic story about Trump being endorsed by the Pope? It was one of the most inane and laughable items ever propagated as fact, and yet there exist Trump supporters who believe it still—proof that fake news need no longer border on the credible to be accepted. Take also the popular vote tally—the one that has Trump losing by three-million. Trump has glibly stated that the reports are false; and even though it is indisputable that he has lost the popular vote by a humiliating number, when he claims the story is fake, or the numbers are doctored, or the votes were fraudulent, there are enough of us doubters to make his rantings as credible as the truth.
These are not isolated incidents:
A while back the Trump reich dismissed the rumor that Ivanka would live in the White House as the first daughter. Fake news, they said, except it wasn’t.
December 15—Trump tweets “If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?” Truth: The White House complained midway through October.
December 12—Trump tweets: “We had a massive landslide victory, as you know, in the Electoral College.” Kellyanne Conway called it historic. Truth: The margin of victory is among the lowest, 46th out of 58. (See my earlier post: https://wordpress.com/post/beg-no-questions.com/10240)
His refusal to separate fact from opinion requires that I give the following caveat: My blog is always opinion.
I try to defend my beliefs with facts, but I tend to come at things from a liberal bent. If you count on me for news, you’ll get it wrong, or you’ll get it the way I see it—which might also be wrong. For instance, I often refer to the minority President-elect as an idiot. Now I can’t prove that scientifically or educationally or psychologically or factually. It’s just my opinion…which means that your opinion that he’s an idiot is just as valid as mine. On the other hand when I refer to him as a sex-abuser, a misogynist, a sleaze, a xenophobe, a bigot, a traitor, a liar, a con-man, and any other of a host of descriptive titles, I’m simply reminding people of what Mr. Trump has already proved. That’s different. That’s fact.
As we’ve already observed in his typical authoritarian hatred (and fear) of the press, it won’t be easy for news outlets to do their job in the Trump reign. If you don’t believe me, Google the Enid (Oklahoma) News & Eagle and see how it’s gone for that paper since its endorsement of Hillary Clinton. It’s going to take guts to expose Trump for what he is. (If you’ve forgotten what he is, see previous paragraph.)
Our responsibility now—all of us as citizens—is to remain informed. Trump will lie to us (opinion) with a series of rapid-fire tweets (fact) that are designed to keep us off balance. But an educated citizenry is more difficult to lie to—a fact that 46.4% of American voters failed to realize. Still 48.1% did, and that’s something to build on.