Mainstream media 'fake news'
By Mark Alexander
The mainstream media's opinion-shaping conglomerates are desperately searching for "plausible explanations" to account for the Trump phenomenon. Indeed, these hapless scribes completely ignored the groundswell of grassroots support nationwide that led to Donald Trump's victory over their shoe-in favorite, Hillary Clinton, and her crime family syndicate.
Clearly, the mainstream media (MSM) missed it because they are a collective of inbred print and cable media echo chambers that exist in a few major urban centers such as New York, Washington and Los Angeles. This collective has little interest — much less contact — with those deplorable grassroots folks from flyover country.
The MSM's latest effort to explain Trump's victory is that his knuckle-dragging supporters were virally circulating "fake news" stories about Clinton. The MSM claims these stories were generated on fake websites by minions of Trump's BFF, Vlady Putin. Yes, apparently another example of how the Russians "rigged the election" for Trump after Clinton's Russian reset button failed and her secret communications subterfuge as secretary of state was exposed.
Late last month the Washington Post led with a claim that Russian fake news websites enabled "an insurgent candidate ... to claim the White House." As the WaPo's "investigative journalists" opined, "The sophistication of the Russian tactics may complicate efforts by Facebook and Google to crack down on 'fake news,' as they have vowed to do after widespread complaints about the problem."
"Efforts by Facebook and Google" to do what?
That's right, millions of Americans turn to their Facebook news feeds for information. Thus, the MSM is lobbying CEO Mark Zuckerberg to modify the software his company produced for the Red Chinese, enabling them to censor content before it reaches their people, and apply that software to the American Facebook and Google market, ostensibly, to stop fake news.
Now, for the record, our editors don't pull news from untested foreign sources, and our American sources are highly reputable. Long before sunrise each day, The Patriot Post's editors review hundreds of news and policy reports in order to select the few important trending stories from the endless loop of MSM noise — so that YOU don't have to. And we have fact-checking redundancies for our news, policy and opinion pages, because even the most reliable sources are wrong on occasion.
Accuracy has always been the first standard for our content.
Indeed, 10 years ago at the annual American Conservative Union gathering in Washington, our staff received the Accuracy in Media award for outstanding Grassroots Journalism. We received that award in part for having coined the term "leftmedia" to describe the MSM's "dezinformatsia" alliance with statist leftists as their de facto public information office. And in every edition we strive to shine the bright light of Truth on that corrupt alliance.
We also defined the "pollaganda effect" to describe how the MSM uses media polling as propaganda, to dictate public opinion rather than discern it — particularly in election cycles like that of 2016. Most media polls are outcome-based, which is to say designed for a subjective outcome, which is then promoted as an allegedly objective outcome in order to propagate and expand the subjective goal — promoting a leftist viewpoint or candidate.
How ironic it is that media outlets claim they refrain from exit polling on Election Day, ostensibly to ensure that they don't influence those who've not yet voted and, thus, the election outcome. However, they promote their outcome-based polling incessantly up until the last minute before Election Day, and they do so precisely to influence the voters and, thus, the election outcome. Of course with advanced absentee voting at almost 40% in 2016, the pollaganda effect is more pervasive than ever.
Of course, we've also continuously exposed the dangers of entertainment as political indoctrination — again, an area where lacking a functional filter of discernment results in a liberal lemming effect.
From day one, our editors' steadfast focus on Liberty has accounted for the success and growth of our highly acclaimed publication, now in its 20th year online — longer than any other news, policy and opinion digest.
Conversely, over the last 20 years the powerful MSM news conglomerates have steadily declined. Notwithstanding their recent "fake news" fakery, the reason for that decline is the MSM outlets are now the most prolific and insidious "fake news" propagators in the marketplace of ideas. Increasingly, the MSM's audience is wising up, and turning to the most powerful First Amendment forum since that very amendment's ratification — the Internet.
The once venerable Washington Post now has a subscription circulation under 500,000 — more than The Patriot Post's subscription circulation, but fewer than the 518,000 people who follow our news, policy and opinion on our Facebook page.
Writing on the First Amendment, Thomas Jefferson noted, "Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe."
But the MSM does not exemplify a "free press" today. It is predominantly enslaved by the prevailing leftist winds, and its pages, bandwidth and airtime are filled with subjective opinion poorly masquerading as "objective journalism."
Thus, millions of Americans whose opinions subsist on a steady diet of MSM "journalism," particularly those who don't develop the gift of discernment, fall victim to the principle of "garbage in, garbage out." Because the MSM's mixture of facts and opinion/fiction still enjoys relatively wide and influential circulation, while being subjected to less scrutiny, it's a far more dangerous form of fake and fallacious news.
There are three modes of truth-telling.
First is "the truth," as opposed to a complete lie. Second is "the whole truth," as opposed to intentionally withholding facts to slant a story. And third is "nothing but the truth," as opposed to adding embellishments that receive the imprimatur of legitimacy by being mentioned in the same story.
The MSM has developed a Pulitzer Prize-winning ability to invert all three modes, often in the same story, to the end that much of what they produce is 10% substance and 90% fragrance. But again, lacking the ability (or the desire) to discern, millions of Americans simply soak it up.
As I was preparing to look for a notable example of how MSM fake news bias is picked up and propagated through social media, one fell right into my lap last week.
At 9:50 Monday morning, there was an attack at The Ohio State University. Shortly thereafter, the MSM launched reports of an "active shooter" on campus and multiple victims.
At 11:52, a full two hours after that incident, former Demo VP wannabe Tim Kaine broadcast this Tweet: "Deeply saddened by the senseless act of gun violence at Ohio State this morning." Given his status as Hillary Clinton's former running mate, he has many followers who instantly Re-Tweeted his Tweet.
So Kaine picked up an MSM news report about an "active shooter," and broadcast it across his social media platform, where it quickly went viral. And his "gun violence" claim kicked off an immediate #guncontrol trend!
Problem is, the "active shooter" at Ohio State turned out to be an "active Islamist" immigrant who assaulted 11 students with his car and then a butcher knife. Fortunately, the only "active shooter" on campus was the police officer who shot the assailant.
Kaine failed to correct his fake news Tweet until almost one and a half hours later, Tweeting: "Updated reports say attacker used a vehicle & knife. Horrifying & senseless."
Again, responding to the lack of media discernment and fake MSM news, I close with those ever apropos words from Thomas Jefferson: "Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the spot of every wind. With such persons, gullibility takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck."
(Footnote: On the subject of Tweets — please, somebody on Trump's transition team, suspend his Twitter account! Though I agree with his sentiments about flag burners, the Supreme Court has ruled on both flag desecration and revoking citizenship. Notably, in his opinion on flag desecration, Justice Antonin Scalia agreed with Trump, noting he would throw them in jail! So get Scalia's replacement on board and let's test this case again. Oh, and a footnote to this footnote, recall if you will that 10 years ago, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton cosponsored the Flag Protection Act, arguing, "I hope ... that we can pass a law that criminalizes flag burning and desecration... I agree that this burning, this desecration, that can happen to our flag, is something that people have a right to ask this body to try and prohibit and prevent.")
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.