by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:
After coming under attack, the alternative media successfully appropriated and reassigned the now ubiquitous term “fake news” to a variety of disingenuous mainstream media outlets. The corporate media is not too happy about this, and is doing what it does best (aside from cheerleading for war). It’s whining about it to its readers.
Nothing more perfectly highlights the mainstream media’s instinctual response to complain than an article published on Christmas Day in The New York Times, which reinvents history by claiming alternative media is to blame for turning “fake news” into an overly expansive and thus meaningless term. Here are a few excerpts:
WASHINGTON — The C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the White House may all agree that Russia was behind the hacking that interfered with the election. But that was of no import to the website Breitbart News, which dismissed reports on the intelligence assessment as “left-wing fake news.”
Rush Limbaugh has diagnosed a more fundamental problem. “The fake news is the everyday news” in the mainstream media, he said on his radio show recently. “They just make it up.”
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.
The line highlighted above is a complete fabrication, and is either the result of extreme ignorance or intentional deceit. Either way, The New York Times should be ashamed of itself.
“Fake news was a term specifically about people who purposely fabricated stories for clicks and revenue,” said David Mikkelson, the founder of Snopes, the myth-busting website. “Now it includes bad reporting, slanted journalism and outright propaganda. And I think we’re doing a disservice to lump all those things together.”
As someone who followed the fluid and rapid progression of the “fake news” meme very closely, I can tell you that it didn’t happen the way The New York Times claims. First, let’s discuss what the term “fake news” should mean. I think the Snopes definition above is fine: “people who purposely fabricated stories for clicks and revenue.” If mainstream media had held to this standard following the election, there wouldn’t have been a problem. Nobody in alternative media would’ve cared, but that’s not what happened.
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