Media Bias: The losers in the 2016 election have now discovered there’s yet another reason for their rejection at the polls: “fake news.” Funny, but fake news has been with us all along. It’s called the mainstream media, and it’s been engaged in faking news for decades.
Led by Facebook social-media titan Mark Zuckerberg, progressive activists and their allies in the left-leaning online world want to crack down on what they call “fake news” — which essentially amounts to anything they disagree with or that doesn’t comport with their progressive world view. Zuckerberg has promised to work with several fact-checking groups to find bogus stories.
“We’ve focused our efforts on the worst of the worst,” he said, “on the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain, and on engaging both our community and third-party organizations.”
Those “third-party organizations” are of clear concern, however. They include Factcheck, the Associated Press, PolitiFact, the Washington Post, ABC News and Snopes. If you look among that group for a conservative or even centrist outlet, you won’t find one. In fact, Snopes, as the Daily Caller reports, “almost exclusively employs leftists.” From what we know of the others, who are mostly what now passes as “mainstream,” the same is true.
So you will have mostly left-wing gatekeepers deciding what’s a “hoax” and what’s true. Our guess is you will find that any story that comes from a right-of-center site will be vetted carefully, even extremely, while the usual lies spewed by the mainstream media will get little or no vetting. A clear sign that this is an attempt to shut down conservative opinion is the fact that the American Civil Liberties Union, a far-left group that purports to support First Amendment rights, enthusiastically supports it.
Not only does this not remove “fake news” from the web, it will deeply imperil First Amendment rights and have a chilling effect on communications over the internet.
We’re glad to see that even the New York Times has weighed in, saying it’s bad idea in an editorial.
As many others have said, who decides what’s “real” and what’s “fake”? And by what criteria? Their own subjective views of the world? Sorry, but we’re not willing to hand our rights to free expression to a bunch of people who aren’t entirely sure we should have those rights.
It’s not likely to go away. In his very last press conference, President Obama ripped into what he called “domestic propagandists” that passed on fake news and helped Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.
Speaking one day after Facebook announced its efforts to stop “fake news,” Obama said: “If fake news that’s being released by some foreign government is almost identical to reports that are being issued through partisan news venues, then it’s not surprising that foreign propaganda will have a greater effect.”
Get the big picture here? He’s basically accusing those who politically disagree with him of colluding with foreign governments. Will treason accusations be next?
Moreover, what he didn’t say is that he, his party and the left in general benefit tremendously from the overwhelmingly leftward slant of the mainstream media — and have for decades.
Since Nov. 8, the whole liberal media complex has gone into a spasm of recrimination, lashing out at those they hate most and at their lost influence. Once upon a time, they controlled nearly everything, with the exception of a small handful of conservative publications. Now the internet teems with conservative voices, and the inherent democracy of that has served as a much-needed counterbalance to the nonstop liberal rhetoric featured in the Big Media. The loss of its monopoly on the news is a big problem for the left.
No, we’re not for printing “fake news” — or lies. But we’re a little concerned that many of those who will now be checking for fake news mostly passed on reporting the president’s lies about ObamaCare, or on Hillary Clinton’s clear negligence and falsehoods about Benghazi after four Americans died, or her 2008 campaign claim to “landing under sniper fire” in Bosnia in 1996, or who showed respectful reverence for mass murderer and political sociopath Fidel Castro upon his death, or any number of other false narratives and outright lies the Big Media have either propagated or let stand.
Yet, suddenly, after Donald Trump shocks the world by winning an election he wasn’t supposed to win, the conservative, right-leaning media on the web and elsewhere are to blame. The left has taken it a step further, suggesting that Trump and the right-wing media in some sinister way worked with Russian President Vladimir Putin to defeat Hillary. The goal is to delegitimize Trump as president, as we’ve noted before. It’s an old Democratic trick.
Well, for the record, we’re all for investigating Russian meddling in our election. But the record shows that that didn’t decide the outcome. And this “fake news” panic has nothing to do with policing the truth, but everything to do with trying to shut down balanced political debate in this country.