Examples of Fake News

I agree with President Trump that the media is biased against him, that the news is often slanted against him and "Republicans" in general, and that the media is, by and large, his enemy.

The media should be absolutely neutral in its political coverage, leaving opinion for its columnists and commentators. But all articles should be truthful and not slanted inappropriately. An example I would use is how the Congressional Budget Office works. The CBO is run as a non-partisan group that seeks to analyze long-term effects of budgets and related policies and then giving Congress and the public its analysis, free of "spin." Both sides can use the information. It's value was made clear to me when it analyzed the effect of raising the minimum wage, showing both positive and negative effects. Partisans often emphasize their positive arguments and ignore or dismiss the negative ones, but the CBO analysis made that quite difficult.

We had an interesting example of "fake news" just in our local Beacon last week, when the reporter proclaimed that the audience at the Board of Selectmen meeting discussing making Acton a "Sanctuary Town" was by a majority in favor of the proposal by Selectman Katie Green. Anyone who attended the meeting knew this was a patently false statement, but it enabled the entire story to be spun into the anti-Republican narrative that we see in the national media. The Beacon reinforces this by their constant coverage of the Democratic officeholders and their numerous positive stories of the social issues pushed by the Left.

Today's Wall Street Journal, my favorite newspaper, contributed to the "fake news" coverage, much to my dismay. A lead article reinforces the perception that Trump's administration is in chaos, there has never been so much pushback against a new administration, etc., etc. You've seen versions of this story in the mainstream media too.

President Trump had a convincing win and a clear mandate based on his election: repeal Obamacare, build the wall, make America competitive, etc. What is truly surprising is that he is moving so quickly to implement his agenda. Much of it is a 180-degree turn from the previous administration.

The protests, the anxiety, and the pushback are all to be expected. They could have been avoided if Trump decided to take say 12 months to slowly implement his agenda. To his credit, he is facing the media storm in order to do what he promised, quickly. This is a positive if you voted for him and want these changes, and since that is how our system works, it is good.

The term "fake news" really isn't a perfect description of this phenomenon, but it will have to do until a better one comes along. It isn't exactly fake in this example, it is misleading and leads readers to make a false value judgment. The value judgment is that Trump is somehow incompetent because no President before has had so much backlash, so quickly. But this is a direct result of the speed and the about-face in policy that we vote for.

Trump's opponents like to protest. The media covers this with the underlying narrative that "people are against" what Trump is doing. Yes, about 50% of the people who voted chose Hillary Clinton, so they are all against Trump and what he is doing. But the "silent majority" are not protesting and are supportive. That's why we hold elections.

One more good example of the media's fake news. The other day, there was a national protest or movement or whatever you want to call it, labeled "A Day Without Immigrants." The idea behind this was to protest President Trump by having immigrants withhold their services for a day, thereby proving their value to the economy and by contrast, showing that Trump's recent immigration orders are wrong.

But Republicans are not against "immigrants." They are against "illegal immigrants." There is a big, big, big, big difference. The mainstream media might mention once the phrase "undocumented immigrant" or even "undocumented worker" but will then drop the qualifier. So the narrative quickly becomes that Republicans are against immigrants and immigration. And then the Left can talk about all the benefits of "immigration" and how "immigrants" contribute to America. They do. But this "bait and switch" reporting, which might just seem lazy, happens so often that it is either by design or the reporters simply don't recognize their bias because they are unable to do so.

Now it is fun and helpful to provide examples, so I did a Google search of "New York Times illegal immigration" and the very first response was a recent editorial called "Breaking the Anti-Immigrant Fever."

Now that "fake news" has been explained, even my Liberal friends should be able to figure out what is wrong with this headline, and why I don't even need to read one word of the editorial. I already know it is horribly biased and fake.

But read further I did. This sentence sticks out, when speaking of the illegal immigrants: "they have been vilified by the President as criminals, although they are not." Really? Are we back to the "it isn't illegal to be illegal" argument?

Trump has certainly implied that "some" illegal immigrants are violent felons. That is true: some certainly are. But the media tries to spin his qualifiers to make him sound like he is implicating everyone that way. Shame on them.

The editorial goes on to say, "About 11 million people are living in this country outside the law." Are there two reporters writing this fake news, and they agreed in advance to not read each other's work?

"All are supposed criminals..." Supposed? And if the writer means "violent" criminals (with the qualifier left off on purpose), then that is simply false. All are not violent criminals, and Trump never said they were. This is purposely misleading, of course. But this type of coverage is cheered by the Left because they don't want the news to be truthful, they want it to be biased in favor of their views.

"This is not fake news," the article declares. Really? The irony is unbelievable. This is exactly fake news, exactly what Trump was talking about.

"Where could the demonizing and dehumanizing of the foreign born lead but to a whiter America?" So, the NYT then makes the "fake news" leap to "White Supremacy." And, of course, repeats the contention that Trump is anti-immigrant when he is NOT. He is anti-ILLEGAL-immigrant.

Enough of this biased crap. The article is long and I won't bother to keep picking out the inaccuracies. Hopefully you get it!

Fake News, part two: http://www.actonforum.com/blogs/allenn/examples-fake-news-part-two

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Who exactly is making fake news and what about that mandate?

In the past 2 weeks the Trump administration has told us of the horrors of the "Bowling Green Massacre" and a terror attack in Sweden. Both which never happened. They are making their own fake news which makes it even harder to sort out the "real" fake from the "fake" fake.

In addition, you state: "President Trump had a convincing win". He only won the electoral college. He lost the popular vote 48.5%-46.4% (or by approximately *3 million votes*). That's not a mandate.

Steve K.

Simply illogical

Hi Steve,

Thanks for writing. Your comment is illogical.

"Fake News" can only be "made" by a reporter. Trump is not a reporter.

If Trump says something wrong, then he could be mistaken, he could be exaggerating, he could be lying, he could be misleading, or whatever. But he can't be guilty of creating fake news.

As far as his win goes, he certainly does have "a mandate." You don't need to win in an electoral or majority-vote landslide to have a "mandate." This is purely conjecture on your part. I choose to instead believe that whoever wins and assumes power is the President with all the powers and responsibilities that come with the job.

If you want to believe that the election winner is not authorized to implement his agenda unless he wins by some margin acceptable to you, then good luck with that personal fantasy.

So his power comes from winning and his "mandate" comes from his clear articulation of his plans during the campaign. If, after being elected, he decided to make his top priority landing a man on Mars, I wouldn't say he had a mandate for that because it would be the first time anyone heard of it. But all the things he's been doing were spoken of during the campaign.

Let me make one more comment about the media and their creation of Fake News. Everyone has a job to play. The media's job is not defined other than by convention. It's power comes from the First Amendment, which is equally valid for all citizens. What sets the media apart is whether it has the confidence of its followers/readers/viewers/listeners. To create and maintain that confidence, it generally follows rules of conduct and professionalism.

In my view, organizations like the NYT have simply lost their way. Instead of adopting a fair and balanced requirement, they have instead decided to push their agenda. That has led to misleading news stories and opinion pieces like the one I quoted from.

I would love to hear you or any of their supporters defend the switch in terms from "illegal immigrant" to "immigrant," and explain how that switch is fair and honest.


Allen Nitschelm has lived in Acton since 1998 and writes about fiscal issues at the
local and state level. He is a former member of the town's Finance Committee
and is an Associate Publisher of Acton Forum.