The ‘fake news’ hysteria continues to foment paranoia in the hearts and minds of those running and working for national news networks. It’s not that they care anything about the actual truth.
It’s that they – for so long – have maintained a comfortable monopoly on the flow of information. Donald Trump’s ascendency and subsequent victory showed just how disconnected the national news media are from the people. They’re losing their touch. It used to be so easy for them. Now, they’ve got competitors who actually pose a significant threat to their hegemony.
They’ll blame this rise of alternative media on the internet and Facebook. But really, it’s their own fault. It’s true that the internet has a lot of misinformation. The difference between the internet and national news networks is that the internet has everything. You can do your own research. National news networks don’t allow that. They just give you what they think you should believe. No wonder they want the government to “crack down” on the internet. They want essentially to make do-it-yourself investigative journalism illegal.
Again, this has nothing to do with any concern about misinformation. It has everything to do with control. The giant news network corporations want control. They want to control misinformation and pass it off as truth. But they can’t easily do that with a growing number of people in alternative media circles constantly calling news networks’ credibility into question.
Merely labeling the alternative media ‘fake news’ isn’t quite sufficient either. But if they can somehow tie ‘fake news’ into some sort of Russian conspiracy, they can make it sound like it’s a national security issue. A foreign country hacking into U.S. political organizations, states’ voting systems, hiring trolls to spread disinformation on social media? That’s gone beyond First Amendment rights and is violating our security as a nation. Here’s the Washington Post:
The flood of ‘fake news’ this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.
Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of websites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia.
There is no way to know whether the Russian campaign proved decisive in electing Trump, but researchers portray it as part of a broadly effective strategy of sowing distrust in U.S. democracy and its leaders. The tactics included penetrating the computers of election officials in several states and releasing troves of hacked emails that embarrassed Clinton in the final months of her campaign.
“Sowing distrust in U.S. democracy and its leaders?” Excuse me, but we don’t need a foreign country like Russia to convince us that we have extremely untrustworthy political leaders, which naturally leads to a corrupt “democracy.” Americans’ distrust of our leaders and of the media has been progressively increasing over the past many years. We don’t need a secret Russian conspiracy to lead us to that conclusion.