Some supporters of President-elect Donald J. Trump have also taken up the call. As reporters were walking out of a Trump rally this month in Orlando, Fla., a man heckled them with shouts of “Fake news!”
Until now, that term had been widely understood to refer to fabricated news accounts that are meant to spread virally online. But conservative cable and radio personalities, top Republicans and even Mr. Trump himself, incredulous about suggestions that fake stories may have helped swing the election, have appropriated the term and turned it against any news they see as hostile to their agenda.
In defining “fake news” so broadly and seeking to dilute its meaning, they are capitalizing on the declining credibility of all purveyors of information, one product of the country’s increasing political polarization. And conservatives, seeing an opening to undermine the mainstream media, a longtime foe, are more than happy to dig the hole deeper.
WELL NO FUCKING SHIT. I’m sorry, mom, I really am, but I believe in the right words for the job and the right words right now are NO FUCKING SHIT, YOU DUMB MOTHERFUCKERS.
For 20 fucking years, or however long Rush and his mini-me’s have been bloviating on the air and accruing listeners, people (mostly liberals but also some people who just don’t like getting screamed at before breakfast) have been saying this is bad, this is creating a culture of distrust for the truth and a willingness to disregard the facts. For 20, 30 years, even some journalists have been saying stop letting people on your air get away with slagging your own employees, it’s gross and also dangerous for them.
Those people, who were concerned about stopping this when it could be stopped, who watched talk radio poison the wells of every small town in America and warned that this would go nowhere good? Those people were ignored, shunted to the side, told they were hysterical and that they couldn’t take a joke.
Meanwhile the conservative talkers, the ones saying national newspapers and magazines were unreliable at best and instruments of the devil at worst, those people got their own columns and profiles and lovingly crafted thinkpieces about their “issues” and “concerns.”
And NOW you assholes see a problem. NOW you want us all to subscribe and post little testimonials to your brilliance, like my $2 a month goes anywhere but your owner’s pocket, like subscription revenue has EVER paid for journalism.
NOW you want us to deplore the cheapening of the public discourse, the speed at which information spreads. Now. After two, three decades of screaming from every screen in existence. After we’re all so beaten down by this that a literal white supremacist doesn’t surprise us. NOW it’s a national emergency.
It couldn’t be because this is all happening on the internet, and is beginning to cut into your bottom line, could it? That couldn’t be why you’re finally willing to take this milquetoastiest of stands.
The right’s labeling of “fake news” evokes one of the most successful efforts by conservatives to reorient how Americans think about news media objectivity: the move by Fox News to brand its conservative-slanted coverage as “fair and balanced.”
WHICH IS WHAT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TRYING TO TELL YOU GODDAMN IT YOU FUCKING HAMSTERHEADS. Fox News went on the air in 1996. You want to talk about this NOW?
Many conservatives are pushing back at the outrage over fake news because they believe that liberals, unwilling to accept Mr. Trump’s victory, are attributing his triumph to nefarious external factors.
“The left refuses to admit that the fundamental problem isn’t the Russians or Jim Comey or ‘fake news’ or the Electoral College,” said Laura Ingraham, the author and radio host. “‘Fake news’ is just another fake excuse for their failed agenda.”
Others see a larger effort to slander the basic journalistic function of fact-checking.
I can’t imagine where conservatives got the idea that the news was manipulable.