Mark Twain became the editor of a newspaper in Virginia City Nevada in 1862. He was less than fond of the coroner/judge in the town. He thought of him as pompous and decided he would play a little trick on him. There had been a rash of interest in all sorts of recently discovered petrified objects. So Twain, finding that obsessive trend ridiculous wrote a story which he later stated was meant to be a humorous “string of roaring absurdities.” It was about a petrified man supposedly found in the hills of Nevada and it poked fun at a figure who’s name was remarkably similar to the pompous coroner/judge. lol Much to Twain’s surprise the story was taken seriously. Not only did people miss the satirical hoax entirely, the story started being printed in newspapers around the U.S. Within a short time the story went viral (for those days) and was printed in newspapers in Europe and beyond. Twain made sure to send each copy he received from newspapers around the world to the coroner/judge. Some reports say that there were wheelbarrows of papers on a regular basis.
People both in Twain’s time and through much of the 20th century have been very susceptible to believing anything in print. If it is in their newspaper, they believe it. Period. Even if it is a story about a petrified man. If the story is repeated multiple times it becomes fact.
Twain learned just how powerful this tendency is. In today’s world we can multiply that for the TV news. People have had a tendency to automatically assume what they see on TV news as being fact and will defend their newfound facts with great vigor. “I saw it on TV!”
In the late 1940’s Harry Truman won the presidential election. The morning after the election he held up a newspaper bearing the erroneous headline declaring victory for his opponent. This has become an iconic image. Even people who were not alive during that time recognize the picture. Why? Because it was an example of the media getting it totally wrong and that was so unexpected that it was held up as being incredible. People trusted everything the media said and were shocked that they actually made a mistake.
Fast forward to the 21st century and things have changed in a big way. Now instead of people being shocked if the media makes a mistake we have the mainstream media (MSM) purposefully creating what is being called “Fake News.” These are basically intentional misrepresentations about the identity of someone that members of the media, for whatever reason, don’t like.
It’s so commonplace now that even the president of the United States created a Fake News story about Fake News. President Obama now pushes a false narrative that blames social media and independent news sources for Fake News.
We now have the facts. It is neither of those, it is the MSM. It is CNN , MSNBC, WAPO, NYTimes, and just about every other mainstream news outlet that has been pushing Fake News and pushing it hard.
Wikileaks proved this beyond a doubt. But it is not only the election’s Fake News that the media has created. Just look at the push to repeatedly frame police as racists resulting in our present string of cop killings. The media has convinced many in the public that racist police forces are out to kill black people. That disinformation is pushing some on the fringe to protest and advocate the killing of cops.
Or have a look at how men’s human rights activists have been framed as misogynist, racist and homophobic. If you want to see the media in action just have a look at how a men’s conference was covered. You can see the actual presentations here by a caring and intelligent group that was calling for compassion for men. Then have a look at nearly all of the misrepresentations, belittling and name calling from multiple mainstream media sources here, here, or here.
Fake News is a False Allegation Racket
Do you notice a trend here? Whether it is cops, men’s rights activists or political candidates the game is the same. Accuse those you don’t like of being racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic or some other negative that attacks their character. Don’t dismantle their views or opinions with facts, attack them with false accusations which of course are nearly impossible to disprove.
This kind of propaganda has worked for ages, The targets are often tied down by the straight jacket of political correctness. People, however, are starting to catch on to the game and are fighting back. The retaliation back has triggered the media to open the floodgates, to double and triple down on their efforts, accelerating their false accusations.
They have nearly reached a saturation point where they are making so many accusations of racism, sexism and many other isms that they are getting diminishing returns. People are fed up with their irresponsible bullying. One needs to only look at the polls about trust in media to see the latest trend. What once was a 72% approval rate in 1976 has now plummeted to a 14% approval rating for republicans, 30% for independents and 51% for democrats. And those polls were before the election. I’m guessing those numbers will be lower in the next polls.
Now through Wikileaks we are sure that the MSM has been far from honest in their publishing of “news.” Wikileaks shows us that the MSM has intentionally tried to create narratives in order to manipulate and indoctrinate people into believing the things that the MSM wants them to believe. This falls under the rubric of propaganda. This presents us with a lethal problem, the very thing that had been automatically trusted by the people is being fed to them as a false narrative that is simply the media’s personal version of the truth. Their biased version leaves out alternate viewpoints leaving their readers to endlessly travel in circles around a Mobius strip of news.
The Lies Die Hard
Fake News leaves many trusting and gullible folks in a state of ignorance which, if challenged, they defend fiercely. After all, they learned what they know from trusted sources, right?
They shame and shun alternate viewpoints rather than consider them. They dwell in certainty about having the “truth.” It’s a dangerous trend that forms a roadblock to discussion and understanding.
We have heard of the MSM leaking debate questions to only one candidate. We have heard of the MSM asking one side to edit their articles and suggest when they should be published. We have even seen the MSM ask one side for the questions they should ask the opposing candidate in the debate! At this point it is clear that the MSM has chosen sides and set their agenda accordingly.
The trust of the people has been busted and abused badly. Many recognize that. Some don’t, and they are autonomically following the deceptive media pied piper right into a brick wall.
A Negative Narrative – Donald Trump is Dangerous
A part of the Fake News syndrome is the MSM working hard to create narratives, to paint their favorite candidates in a good light and to do the opposite to the ones they don’t want. Let’s have a look at the Washington Post and the methods they put to use of choosing sides and creating false narratives.
WAPO was obviously in favor of Hillary Clinton and pushed positive stories about her and her campaign whenever they could. They described her with glowing terms. But they painted a very different and nefarious picture of her opponent. How did they do this?
Lots of ways, but one that is obvious and easy to search and observe is the narrative WAPO pushed to claim Donald Trump was dangerous. Notice this is not a disagreement about his views it is clearly an attack on his identity, who he is. Just look at this image of the google search for “trump is dangerous”:
Note that there are 27,000 entries for this search term. That should give you an idea of how many times the Post pushed this agenda in their articles.
What is the result of the Post’s and most other large circulation newspapers and major network TV stations attempt to demonize Trump? It is obvious. After his election Hillary supporters went bonkers. How could someone who was so dangerous be elected president? These folks acted as though this must be the end of the world with the “not my president” meme’s, the hand wringing, the violence, the destruction of property, the beating of Trump supporters, and on and on. These people were crazed, and still are. I am suggesting that they have been set up by the media to see this in such an insane manner. They have been brainwashed to believe that Donald Trump is dangerous to them. That they personally are threatened. For a good review of why this hysteria is bogus see this powerful youtube video
That is just one search term. Let’s try another since the media portrayed Trump in so many negative ways. Let’s search on “unfit to be president” and see what comes up.
Again, we see the same themes. Trump is unfit, another way of saying he is dangerous to the American voter. Note that it is not questioning his views or policies it is simply saying he, personally, is unfit. Something is wrong with him. This is a personal attack on his identity, not an attack on his viewpoints or policies. This attack is hammered time and again. This one had over 3000 results. Multiply that number by the number of times readers saw that message and it’s easy to see it is in the multi millions. Then multiply that times the number of other newspapers and media outlets doing the same thing. Now think back to Twains petrified man and how that story went around the world. It’s easy to see how the Fake News of the MSM has been a major player in the brainwashing and resulting troubles that have erupted since the election. They presented as fact that Donald Trump was unfit and dangerous and the gullible public ate it up. You can’t even talk to these people and try and reason with them about the things that Trump actually said. They are bordering on insane in their allegiance to lies. It is simply mind blowing and terribly sad.
The post had numerous ways to paint Trump as a bad man. One of the most disgusting was their portrayal of him as having mocked a disabled man. Let’s tell the story of how they did this. (for an excellent and more detailed accounting of this incident see here)
Donald Trump gave a speech where he claimed that there were people dancing on their rooftops celebrating the 9/11 collapse of the Twin Towers. WAPO took exception to his claims and said there was no evidence to support such a claim. The WAPO and their “fact-checkers” basically said Trump was lying. Trump proceeded to show them a WAPO article written shortly after 9/11 that in fact, described the dancing on rooftops that he had claimed. The WAPO obviously looked stupid, incompetent and wrong. At this point the WAPO should have simply taken a bow and said that they had failed in researching thoroughly but still feel that Trump had exaggerated the number of those celebrating. But that is not what they did. They sought out the original reporter who had written the article and got him to say that he couldn’t remember how many there were but it surely wasn’t as many as Trump had claimed. This was an obvious attempt to simply cover their butt rather than take any responsibility. Trump mentioned this obvious dodge in a speech and made fun of the reporter saying “I can’t remember I can’t remember” while flailing his arms around in the air. Then it takes a sinister turn. It turns out the reporter had a congenial abnormality that paralyzed his misshapen right hand. He was disabled. The WAPO and others joined in the fray in claiming Trump was making fun of a disabled person. They knew this claim was false. The man’s disability was that he couldn’t move his hand. His disability was not anything like the spastic movements that Trump had portrayed. But that didn’t stop them. The media then took a still photo of the reporter with his deformed hand showing and then stopped the action of Trumps flailing which showed Trumps hand in a similar position to this man’s disability. That was enough to convince their readers that Trump was a bastard. This country has a habit of defending the underdog and in this case it was clear: a billionaire versus a disabled man. No contest. Trump loses.
What they didn’t show you was that Trump used the same flailing hand movements in the same speech and other speeches. In fact he used those movements to make fun of Cruz and also a General. Both are not disabled but got the same arm flailing. It is obvious to anyone who saw the entire speech and knew the entire story that they were framing him in order to demonize him and mask their irresponsible “fact checking.”
Here’s a quote from the Washington Posts article The Posts View on Nov 2, 2016 by the Washington Post Editorial Board. Can you see a little bias here?
We believe, as we have said, that Ms. Clinton is well-prepared to serve as president. But even voters who disagree — who believe that Ms. Clinton is unqualified or ethically distasteful — cannot realistically argue that she represents a danger to the republic. Mr. Trump is such a danger. Only by forgetting or ignoring what he has told us could Americans decide otherwise.
It is clear that the Post has chosen sides. And lost.
What can be done? Trump fights back.
This is the first time a candidate has challenged the media directly and called them liars. I think this was a shock to the Post and other media moguls who have grown used to people simply not trying to fight back. The usual response is when one is falsely accused by big media in our restrictive politically correct environment people will simply start apologizing and groveling. But Trump is not your average bear. He attacked and attacked hard. He repeated his view that they are liars and many people were enlivened by someone finally challenging the bullying media. When he would point to the lies of the mainstream media the crowds would roar! People are very tired of the media bullies and of political correctness and Trump gives them someone who is unafraid of both.
Having never been challenged, the media had a great deal to lose. Now not only was Trump calling them out, wikileaks was regularly exposing their bias and fake news. They knew that if Trump won they would also lose and be scattered in disarray. They were openly backing Hillary and were openly anti-Trump. If the man who was calling them liars won the presidency their stock would go down and go down big time.
And of course, that is what happened. But now a week’s worth of disarray and the WAPO and others are fighting back. After making a career of creating fake news and being exposed repeatedly as liars they now take a different approach. “Hey. Why don’t we take a page from the Alinsky handbook and accuse others what we are guilty of?” Yes! That is what we will do.
So now we see the liars and obfuscators pointing the finger at independent news sites that actually have integrity and have been struggling to get their message out in an honest manner. So what happens? The liars accuse the little guys of creating fake news! The big media bullies call in their corporate pals from Facebook and Google to sift through the various independent news sites and censor the very people who have been providing the truth! Obama steps in and offers the bullies support. What a tag team. They are working to portray themselves as the purveyors of truth but anyone with a bit of sense can see through this masquerade. Darth Vader could not have thought of a more sinister plan.
We need to not let up on holding the media accountable. The only way out of this is for them to admit their dishonesty and their intentional misleading and lying. They have consistently broken a sacred trust and they know it. Without an admission they will hide behind their big money masks. Without an admission of guilt they will keep those who have been brainwashed in the chains of their untruth.
We need to stop this nonsense. Support your alternative news source. Give them money. Give them pageviews. Give them your vocal support. At the same time attack the MSM bullies and keep reminding them that they are the liars. Don’t let up. Don’t buy their papers, don’t watch their programs and certainly don’t buy products from anyone who advertises with them. Tell the advertisers you aren’t buying their products due to their being aligned with big news. Let the mainstream die on the vine and watch places like Breitbart, Drudge, NextNews Network, Info Wars, Stefan Molyneux, Mike Cernovich, Paul J Watson, and so many others become your main source of news.
Tom Golden is the author or three books, Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing, The Way Men Heal, and Helping Mothers be Closer to Their Sons: UnderStanding the Unique World of Boys. Tom was the creator of the youtube channel Men Are Good and served as the vice chairman of the Maryland Commission for Men’s Health. He has been a therapist in private practice for over 30 years.