Let’s Talk ‘Fake News’
The results of the 2016 Presidential election certainly caused some people on the left to seek reflection. Some of them came back with some good, frank analysis on why Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump and many of them didn’t.
Among the most common reasons were the over-abundance of racist, homophobic, sexist, transphobic, islamophobic, etc. Americans – it just wasn’t possible for a paragon of moral virtue like Hillary to win when the deciders were made up of such deplorable stock. My personal favorite was that too many dumb rednecks weren’t ready for a woman president – as if Ann Coulter, Carly Fiorina, Michelle Bachmann or Sarah Palin ran they wouldn’t have gotten votes from the majority of people who voted for Trump.
Next down the line was “Russia” who allegedly tampered with our election – by (allegedly) leaking factual information about the Democrats. This one was coupled with the phenomena of “fake news”.
So liberals from sea to shining sea were pulling their hair out over the idea that “fake news” influenced the election, and lambasting sites like Breitbart, RT, Alex Jones, Occupy Democrats Logic and probably hundreds of others.
Here’s the thing that bothered me the whole time about pussy-aching about “fake news”. It’s not the idea that one narrative is considered fake and one isn’t, it’s the idea that if only millions of Americans were just exposed to the truth, the scales would’ve been tipped in favor of Hillary Clinton, the rightful heir to the presidency.
Get the fuck out of here. And get the fuck over yourselves, too. There seems to be a widespread inability to accept the idea that a large swath of the country made a conscious and thoughtful decision to not accept the narrative that Hillary, the DNC and her supporters were pushing. It screams of narcissism. I don’t think I would ever say that “if only those people would understand that Trump only wants to deport the illegal Mexicans…” or something like that, hinting that my worldview was one that would line up with everyone if only they had come to their senses.
Also, the idea that people weren’t completely bombarded with “the truth” as liberals see it is completely laughable. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that at least one in five posts on my Facebook feed during the election was a repost of some article or meme against DJT or any other facet of a right-leaning worldview. I think it’s fair to say that almost every mainstream media outlet had an anti-Trump bent. There was no shortage of material floating out there that went contrary to Trump’s narrative. No shortage at all.
…and of that material, some of it really counted as “fake news”. Many of Trump’s most “shocking” statements were misquoted, half quoted or misinterpreted by “real news” outlets and they ran with them for the sake of making a better story and furthering their narrative. For example, there was one time when Trump was speaking with disabled veterans and gave a nice response to one question. The media cut it off halfway and the story became “Trump thinks veterans are weak and that’s why they commit suicide”. So even if PatriotEagleNewsNow.com floated some clickbait about how Hillary Clinton was a Soviet operative in college and your racist uncle shared it, I have a hard time feeling sorry for the Democrats on this one.
It also goes without saying there were a lot of less-than-reputable by impartial standard “fake news” sites on the left to the point where it seemed like there was A LOT more anti-Trump/Republican/right-wing bullshit stories than anti-Hillary/Dem/left-wing.
The other angle to this is that the mainstream media really did get their clocks cleaned this election, and possibly will continue to get clobbered throughout the Trump administration. They lost out on his advertising dollars because he went to Twitter and Facebook instead (when he wasn’t manipulating them for free airtime). They failed to view the election without the blinders of personal politics on and missed the mark on their analysis. Regular folks saw their biases and indifference and villanized them more than ever before.
But most importantly, they were on their way out even before all of this due to entry barriers being broken. Now anyone can give their analysis (exhibit A, me) on these kinds of things and have a platform to share with the world. Some people really made great strides as media outsiders in this election – namely alt-right and “alt-light” figures like Mike Cernovich, Milo Yiannopolous and Paul Joseph Watson. Even Alex Jones. I really think part of the lashout against fake news comes from a position of apprehension of their own impeding doom from the “real” media.