Retiring conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes complained that after years of bashing from the right wing, the mainstream media no longer could perform their function as reporters, observers, fact dispensers, and even truth tellers, and he said we needed them. Like Goebbels before them, conservatives understood that they had to create their own facts, their own truth, their own reality. They have done so, and in so doing effectively destroyed the very idea of objectivity. Trump can lie constantly only because white America has accepted an Orwellian sense of truth – the truth pulled inside out.
– Neal Gabler, “Farewell, America”
I’m “friends” with a Pulitzer-winning reporter on Facebook who shared so much fake news during the 2016 election cycle that her posts were filled with comments wondering whether she’d been hacked. She’s pushing eighty so I suppose some measure of difficulty vetting internet stories can be forgiven, but much of the nonsense she shares is easily refuted by paging Dr. Google. The worrisome thing is how many people take what she shares as gospel; she’s a reporter – or was for decades – so many assume she knows what’s going on better than most.
Oxford dictionaries named “Post Truth” 2016’s Word of the Year. PolitiFact’s 2016 Lie of the Year? “Fake News” For the first time in decades, George Orwell’s 1984 – a perennial educator’s favorite stocked by the thousands to satisfy school assignments – was in such high demand that we had to wait for a reprint.
Orange Foolious, democratically installed by the Electoral College on the strength of voter suppression and gerrymandering, choice of a whopping 26% of Americans eligible to vote, calls anything that casts his administration in a bad light fake news. You know, like reporting on what members of the Republican Party say or what effects the Republican Party’s politics will have.
So stand up for the truth.