Want to Battle “Fake News”? Do It with the Real Thing.


It would appear that the “alt-right” hysteria has been supplanted by “fake news” hysteria as the American Left goes through its post-election stages of grief.  To be absolutely clear, here, I’m open to the possibility that made-up-story click bait is an existential problem for our society, and I’d welcome serious discussion about whether and how to address it (and at what cost in freedom and treasure), but my goodness, can’t the news media just report the news?

Today’s Providence Journal features an article from Craig Timber of The Washington Post, which the Rhode Island paper gives the click-bait headline, “Russian propaganda helped spread ‘fake news.'”  How bad is the article?  The reader must plow nearly halfway through the 700-word article before Timber bothers to identify the “researchers” whose word he is passing along as tantalizing truth.

Even when we find out who the sources are, they’re just a bunch of names, which the Providence Journal does not contextualize with any details about their backgrounds, their fundings, or any detail that ought to give them credibility.  Timber’s original article in his home paper is longer and therefore has more detail, but even so the question of whether the Russian government used social media and the Internet as a field for propaganda is not put in the context of all of the other interests, on the Left and the Right, attempting to do the same thing.

On The Week, Edward Morrissey argues that the “fake news” narrative is indicative of liberals’ contempt for those who do not share their views.  It can’t be that an astoundingly horrible and corrupt candidate like Hillary Clinton simply lost.  It must be that somebody else was able to deceive the rubes more effectively than the Democrats were. Ian Tuttle of National Review Online is correct to highlight the hypocrisy of handling “fake news” in an ideological fashion.

One need only look at Craig Timber’s report for evidence, according to which one of the dread objectives of Russian masterminds is “undermining faith in American democracy.”  And yet, here is the Washington Post, the Providence Journal, and other reprinting news organizations furthering that objective by building a narrative, essentially, that the election was rigged.

Why?  Because it serves their partisan and ideological agendas to do so.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    RE: The WAPO For some reason Amazon has started sending me the “most read” stories from the Washington Post. Here are the headlines (I have stripped the links for space) Could you think it has a “point of view”?

    Trump turning away intelligence briefers since election win
    The president-elect has received two classified briefings — fewer than most of his predecessors.

    Greg Miller • Read more »

    How long before the white working class realizes Trump was just scamming them? He hasn’t even taken office yet, and the broken promises are piling up.

    Paul Waldman • Read more »

    Trump’s latest Cabinet-level picks mark a move to diversify his administration
    The president-elect recruits former foes and critics for top posts.

    Karen Tumulty • Read more »

    Trump picks billionaire Betsy DeVos, school voucher advocate, as education secretary. DeVos is hardly a household name, but she has helped reshape the education landscape.

    Emma Brown • Read more »

    • Mike678

      Read about Betsy….it is interesting. The teachers unions and teachers I know are having hysterics. All for the children, of course.

      As for diversity, my thoughts are that is projection…the progressive media doubling down on stupid. Trump could care less. Viva la meritocracy…

  • Rhett Hardwick

    Is this FAKE news:
    During the election run up Clinton canceled a rally in Florida (I think). Internet news shows a video of her getting out of her limousine, at which point the crowd chants “lock her up! Lock her up!”. She then gets back into her limo and leaves. Going to bed I flicked on NPR, they report “Hillary canceled a rally in Florida tonight”. That is all. That permits them to say they reported it, but conceals half the story from listeners.

  • Raymond Carter

    NY Times is the biggest fake news outfit on the planet.

    • Rhett Hardwick

      A study cited frequently by those who make claims of liberal media bias in American journalism is The Media Elite, a 1986 book co-authored by political scientists Robert Lichter, Stanley Rothman, and Linda Lichter.[45] They surveyed journalists at national media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the broadcast networks. The survey found that the large majority of journalists were Democratic voters whose attitudes were well to the left of the general public on a variety of topics, including issues such as abortion, affirmative action, social services and gay rights. The authors compared journalists’ attitudes to their coverage of issues such as the safety of nuclear power, school busing to promote racial integration, and the energy crisis of the 1970’s and concluded firstly that journalists’ coverage of controversial issues reflected their own attitudes and education, and secondly that the predominance of political liberals in newsrooms pushed news coverage in a liberal direction. The authors suggested this tilt as a mostly unconscious process of like-minded individuals projecting their shared assumptions onto their interpretations of reality, a variation of confirmation bias.