MEIN KAMPF WITH FAKE NEWS

I have outlined before, my long struggle with “fake news” in America these days. So, there’s not much new in this post except to point out the latest irony.

As a consumer of news, mostly on TV, and most of that from the three major networks, I come to these things like a slow boiling lobster. It took a long time for me to catch on, and when I did, I still struggled to understand. Even now, I think I do understand, yet I don’t think what I understand is represented in the lamestream rhetoric.

My first wakeup call and frustration came well over 20 years ago after leaving Phoenix, Arizona where one of the local news stations sloganed their program was “more news; less chit/chat.” I wasn’t sure if that really made their program better, but I certainly appreciated the effort! When I tune in, if the sensationalism, the chit/chat, and the gimmicks were all cut out, I could get the bulk of the information I seek in two to five minutes most days, I think.

But with that Phoenix slogan bouncing around in my brain, I began to notice how shamelessly NBC – especially on the morning news program called The Today Show – had devolved into infotainment with the strong emphasis on tainment. My God! The fruity Halloween costumes and gags looked fun, but really, I think you kinda had to be there. Right? Matt Lauer doesn’t know me from a hole in the ground! Why do I laugh at his gags? He wouldn’t laugh at mine!

Too much chit/chat! Too much fluff! Too much that doesn’t even try to be news. I mean, if you gave me the important headlines in a timely manner without excessive repetition, I would get what I NEED in less than 10 minutes, and then there would be loads of time for deep stories, human interest things, maybe even some stuff that was educational in nature. But no. Free market people want us to devolve to the lowest common denominator so NBC, CBS, and ABC will compete for morons to pay attention!

At the time, I didn’t think of this garbage as “fake news” per se but as fluff, as infotainment, and waste of my time. I came to dread NBC. I found the other networks doing the same to a lesser extent, but it was a sickness attacking all fronts. I understood, because I listened to enough conservative talk radio in those days, that the newscasters presented the news with political biases subtly slanting things in the direction of propaganda.*  At the time I wasn’t prepared to argue with that point, but I still sensed strongly that I was getting the news, basically, whenever these idiots got around to actually presenting it.

I still think that.

Oh sure, there are a FEW stories that go not covered by this or that network, but if it’s particularly spicy (Benghazi anyone?), you will soon enough discover that it wasn’t covered when the story comes out about how it’s not being covered. It might still be politically slanted, but you’re not missing the story! Not for long.

In more recent years, mostly early in the last decade, I found myself tuning in to Comedy Central on cable to get news commentary by Jon Stewart! I rarely got breaking news headlines from him, but he always made the effort at deep dives into the headlines I had picked out of the infotainment. His was a comedy act! This was not REAL news, and he openly confessed that. Yet, he went ahead and held himself to journalistic standards! When he occasionally made a mistake in his reports, he would offer apology and official retractions, LIKE A REAL NEWS OUTLET SHOULD. And I discovered my opinions being shaped profoundly by this program. He made far more sense of the news then I found in the network news or on conservative talk radio.

It was around this time I heard the term “fake news,” and I thought Stewart’s show was what the term referred to! The real news should be jealous of this fake news!  The fake stuff was better quality!

But then Donald Trump ran for president and took his gripe with the media to the next level calling out any news outlets not promoting him as “fake news.” Some standards! Well, of course, he had one outlet in particular which could find nary a criticism of him despite his many escapades. The red telephone in the oval office was rerouted to Fox News. This narcissist could literally pick up the phone, turn on his TV, and it was like primping in the mirror.

Look, I get it. That whole Russian collusion thingy he got impeached for was never proven. And I agree that until it is proven, he is not guilty of it based on our system. I will even say shame on any news outlet that thinks they should present him as guilty before it is proven.

BUT there was evidence suggesting a problem existed (still is) and investigating such a matter is fair game.  It’s something I want to know!  THAT part is not fake news but defending him and claiming the whole story is a sham before the case is settled is FAKE NEWS!

Here’s where I have something new to say, but really, it is more of the same if you see through it. Last night’s “announcement” by Donald Trump that he is running for president again is fake news! Oh, he didn’t make it official until last night, but he teased this event so much and so hardcore about it, there was no news in it when we came to it. I find it curious that the fake news media (the networks anyway) all chose to keep their entertainment programming without breaking this “news” when it came out.

I’m sure that is meant as an insult at some level. I don’t wish to congratulate anyone for the insult. In fact, I think it was appropriate for the cable news organizations to cover it; that’s their job! CNN doesn’t have a comedy show on at 7, 8, and 9pm to interrupt; they cover news.  Same for Fox News. NBC, ABC, and CBS all have news outlets that come on after the 9pm dramas. They all covered it. Not live, but they covered it.

Makes sense to me.

It’s not a narcissists mirror coverage, but it’ll do. And anyway, Trump running for president is not new, nor is it news. And, honestly, I’d rather watch The Bachelor! (And that’s sayin’ somethin’!)

I sure miss Jon Stewart’s news program.  That was fake news I could use, and often did.

But, alas, I struggle on…

*Today, I would argue that NOBODY is capable of a completely unbiased presentation of facts in almost any story. Stories are always presented through biased lenses of the presenters. I will appreciate efforts by newscasters to temper this phenom! Do you best to find neutrality on the one hand, on the other, admit your biases, and this is an honesty consumers can work with! But I wasn’t equipped to make that kind of argument when I was young.

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One comment

  1. Michele Sperber · 21 Days Ago

    We are living in a day in which our freedom of speech is attacked with those in power censoring and maligning sources that are not reporting what they believe. We are very close to being a communist country being fed propaganda on a constant basis. If we are only told one side of the story, how is it possible to be unbiased? Only through the Holy Ghost can we know the truth, but Christian voices who speak what He shows us, are silenced…. Almost all news sources besides the popular ones you watch are being called “fake news.”
    I hope you with an open mind will check out this one: https://trends.gab.com as it records from multiple sources. I do not say that everything on it is true…. Not everything in Christian ministries is true either, eh? But the Holy Spirit lets us know. I watched a video of about 16 major news stations (the ones you watch included) that were side by side and they were ALL reading the same script word for word. Talk about indoctrination!
    Well my brother, we are in that day that even the elect could be deceived, if possible.
    May each of us be watchful asking God to show us the truth and to confirm what is of him.
    I appreciate you and the depth of thinking in your blog.
    God bless you, agent of the Lord.
    ❤️Michele

    Like

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