So the media and the Left are all appalled, dismayed, horrified and aghast at fake news allegedly created and distributed by hubs in Eastern Europe and Russia — and that it may have influenced the presidential election.
This, as opposed to the fake news created by the traditional media in hubs in New York and D.C. Because mainstream media journalists, about 90 percent of whom are to the left of the American political center, get to define what is good journalism, they also get to decide what is fake news and more importantly, what is real news.
And then they most definitely do influence elections with their “journalistic” decisions.
For some evidence, here are five examples of completely fake news by the same mainstream media now lamenting fake news as something new and abhorrent.
➠ Hands up, don’t shoot
Maybe the most egregious and damaging of mainstream media fake news was the coverage of the 2014 Ferguson, Mo. police shooting of Michael Brown.
The initial coverage, and for days and weeks afterward, was that teenager Brown, who was black, was gunned down in cold blood by a white police officer. It was reported, because someone made it up, that Brown was trying to surrender and said his hands were up, don’t shoot.
Rather than wait for any verification, the media in lockstep ran with it 24/7 until race relations were deeply inflamed, riots had started and the professional protester class had descended on the community. It was easy. It fit a left-of-center world view of a racist America and racist cops and it became a rallying cry for activists and journalists.
The problem is, nothing like that actually happened. Brown, who was always called a teen or a boy, but who in reality was a giant man weighing more than 300 pounds, had just robbed a convenience store and threatened the Korean clerk. It’s on camera. Then in the confrontation with the police officer, Brown attacked him, bloodied the cop, and tried to take his gun. Brown was walking away, but then turned back and was charging the cop — who was more than a 100 pounds smaller. Only then did the officer shoot and kill Brown.
Even the deeply racial Obama Justice Department could not find problems with the officer’s actions, finding them justified.
But the damage was done. Black Lives Matter was birthed. Ferguson was burned. The cop’s life was ruined. And it was all based on fake news as fake as anything allegedly out of Eastern Europe.
➠ Dan Rathergate
CBS ran a story in the heat of the 2004 presidential campaign between George W. Bush and John Kerry that purported to show that Bush’s Texas Air National Guard duty was scandalous.
Lead anchorman Dan Rather relied on a mentally unstable man with a grudge against George Bush to give CBS “copies” of documents that he claimed were received from a person who apparently never existed. Further, the documents were supposedly typed on a military typewriter in the early ‘70s, but were coincidentally the exact same font as Microsoft Word, which was on half the computers in America in 2004 and not used on typewriters. Further, the documents even used the wrong acronym for the name of the report!
In other words, these were obvious, amateurish fakes. But Dan Rather and CBS apparently wanted Bush to lose so badly that they eagerly swallowed the childish scam. It was even featured on a 60 Minutes segment.
Eventually, Rather retired and CBS issued a “we regret” sort of take-back of the story.
Then last year, Hollywood — being a fellow-traveler of the Left with the media — made a film about the scandal; not the real-life Rather/CBS scandal, the made-up Bush part.
And Rather is still venerated as one of the great journalists in American history.
➠ Doctoring the tapes
During the salacious, media sensationalized, racially charged George Zimmerman murder trial in Orlando, NBC doctored the 911 phone call Zimmerman made while following Trayvon Martin. In fact, as was later revealed, they edited the call to make Zimmerman into a despicable racist.
ABC played this from the call:
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.
But here’s everything Zimmerman did say:
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.
That was atrocious and when caught, NBC had to apologize and claim it was just for length.
But CNN kept trying to keep the flame of racism alive in the story. Weeks after NBC apologized for doctoring the 911 call, on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, a CNN audio expert digitally enhanced the audio and thought Zimmerman used a racial slur, ‘f—ing coon.’ CNN reporter Gary Tuchman readily chimed in: ‘It certainly sounds like that word to me.’
Turns out, Zimmerman said it was ‘f—king cold.’
Streams of “mistakes” such as these only ever happen one direction.
➠ Koran flushing
Newsweek ran a story in 2005, citing famed “sources” that military interrogators at Guantanamo had put Korans in the toilet and in one case flushed one down. Within the week, Newsweek had backtracked and apologized for the story, but the damage was done as rioting and violence broke out throughout the Muslim world as the fake news report spread.
How could this happen? Many on the Left have an instinctive distrust of the military and a fault-finding mentality regarding America. This thinly sourced story fit that mindset to a tee and made it all the easier to accept and run with.
Just like the Ferguson cop being a cold-blooded racist killer, just like Rather’s story on Bush, just like Zimmerman being a racist.
➠ Fake fact-checkers
This has become a somewhat comedic part of mainstream media fake news. Pretty much no conservatives put trust in it.
The formula is this: Pick the most egregious and obviously wrong or mis-interpretable statements by Republicans and slam them. Then pick the most obvious statements by Democrats — Hillary Clinton said the sun will rise in the east tomorrow — and give her a smiley pat on the back for accuracy.
Remember when Trump claimed that President Obama founded ISIS. No? Well he didn’t really. It was in the context of Obama’s lousy foreign policy in the Middle East. Trump claimed, with some legitimacy, that Obama’s policies led to the birth of ISIS. Even though he did not say “policies,” it was obvious what he was saying to any rational, mildly objective person.
But not to the fake fact-checkers.
They took the sentence literally, without any surrounding context, as if Trump was saying that Obama Skyped in with the nascent terrorist network to strategize its start. Just laughable.
➠ Fake Journalists
This is an entirely different category operating on the exact same premise. Democrat operatives and activists get media jobs, and vice versa. It’s like the politician-lobbyist revolving door in D.C. — you just don’t hear about this one.
George Stephanopoulos may be the most infamous of these. Stephanopoulos was a senior advisor in the Bill Clinton campaign of 1992 and Clinton White House Communications Director. In 1996 he stepped down to…go to work for ABC News and later took over the once-prominent This Week Sunday morning talk show. He’s also now on Good Morning America and Chief Anchor at ABC News. Wikipedia refers to him first as “an American journalist.”
Here are a couple more practicing fake journalists.
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank reached out to Democratic National Committee Eric Walker while writing a piece entitled “Passover-themed 10 plagues of Trump.” Trolling for dirt.
New York Times/CNBC reporter and Republican debate moderator John Harwood contacted John Podesta (Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair!) for some gotcha questions he could ask Jeb Bush during a sit-down interview.
And then there are those who just switch back and forth between being journalists and working for Democrat administrations, including:
- Jay Carney: Time magazine correspondent turned White House Press Secretary
- Warren Bass: Former deputy editor of the Washington Post’s Sunday Outlook section turned aide to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice
- Geoff Morrell: ABC News reporter turned spokesman for Obama Defense Department.
- Linda Douglas: CBS Congressional correspondent turned Obama healthcare media chief.
- Beverley Lumpkin: Formerly of ABC and CBS turned Obama’s Justice Department employee
- Rosa Brooks: L.A. Times columnist turned DoD employee.
- David Hoff: Reporter for Education Week turned communications staffer at the Department of of Education
- Peter Gosselin: L.A. Times reporter turned Treasury Secretary employee
- Rick Weiss: Washington Post reporter turned White House employee
- Jill Zuckman: Chicago Tribune writer turned Department of Transportation
You get the idea. In addition to fake news that has been long established in the media, there are fake journalists, too. Yes, there are a few solid, middle-of-the-road journos out there — more often than not at local, community outlets — but they are run over in content and influence by the mass unable or unwilling to see that their bias creates fake news at times.
There’s just nothing new about the fake news hyperventilating, except that it looks different now and isn’t being done only by traditional news outlets.
EDITORS NOTE: This column first appeared on The Revolutionary Act.