"Fake news" refers to falsehoods manufactured and disseminated by the mainstream media or social media as "news". The fake news can originate as a hoax, as a tactical ploy by a political operative, or as mistaken reporting resulting from bias. At his first press conference as president-elect, Donald Trump described CNN as "fake news." Since becoming president, Trump has accused major news organizations with "fake news" and "very fake news." On February 17, 2017, Trump tweeted:
|“||The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!||”|
Previously liberals, the lamestream media, and social media had used the term "fake news" to make the false accusation that alternative news sources are "deliberately lying" to their readers, listeners, and viewers, and that these "lies" helped elect Donald Trump President of the United States. The liberal-pushed "fake news" accusations are a form of conspiracy theory. The mainstream media itself publishes and promotes fake news stories in its nightly network newscasts, on its cable news channels, in its newspapers and on its websites (including Facebook).
It has been confirmed that many fake news sites were actually created and managed by liberal Democrats who support Hillary Clinton and oppose Donald Trump who engage in their deception in an attempt to discredit conservatives and Trump. One of them, Jestin Coler, a Democrat and Clinton supporter who owns the company Disinfomedia, runs several fake news sites that create "conservative" fake news stories.
Additionally, the mainstream media is rife with blatant fake news stories, such as a fictional Washington Post story that Russia hacked the U.S. power grid in 2016. While leftists accuse conservatives of being behind fake news stories, all evidence shows the exact opposite.
The widespread use of the phrase in the area of media factionalism probably originated on November 14, 2016 in an announcement by Google. They said their advertising service was being pulled from sites whose purpose was to present as news what was solely designed to attract attention rather than conducted in a factual manner by a responsible party. Fake news is also a form of "click bait". A photo would appear in an ad implying that there was a news story about the death of a celebrity, and computer users would click on the link to be taken to a website that carried heavy advertising, but no news story about the death of the living celebrity.
One attempt at broadening the meaning of the term as well as professing the likelihood of the use of what the term describes appeared on November 23 in the Washington Post:
|“||In the wake of Donald Trump’s shock Nov. 2016 electoral victory, attention fell on the extent to which voter opinions could have been shaped by an epidemic of "fake news" websites that masqueraded as legitimate media outlets...Many fake stories proved more viral on social media than important articles from real sources.||”|
Ishaan Tharoor, the author who wrote the piece, lets the reader know that he assumes Trump's election win is so surprising (although it wasn't) that any explanation deserves to be looked at if the event has not been fully explained already. This would allow the subject which follows—his allegations of "fake news" being epidemic as well as his suggestions that they were isolated to media outlets that weren't "real sources" (by some unstated body's estimation)—to be plausible or even to be considered an especially good candidate as an explanation (to the uninformed), despite being unfounded or at least founded on exaggeration.
|“||Something has changed — as globalization has marched on, debate is taking place in a completely new media environment. Opinions aren’t formed the way they were 25 years ago ... Today we have fake sites, bots, trolls — things that regenerate themselves, reinforcing opinions with certain algorithms, and we have to learn to deal with them. I believe we should not underestimate what is happening in the context of the Internet and with digitalization; this is part of our reality ... We have regulations that allow for our press freedom, including the requirement for due diligence from journalists. Today we have many that experience a media that is based on very different foundations and is much less regulated.||”|
Facebook has also responded to the alleged problem by developing a system wherein readers can flag a post they find suspicious. Once flagged the post will be reviewed by a mainstream media representative, who decides whether the news is "real" or "fake."
"Undoubtedly the new main psyop against independent media is flooding the web with fake news, and mainstream media putting out fake news, and setting themselves up like a super-Snopes, to be the arbiter of what’s real and what’s not," countered Alex Jones from Infowars in the wake of criticism of the Alternative Media on the part of Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton supporters following Trump's win.
Attempts at censorship
Melissa Zimdars, a far-Left professor had compiled a list of supposedly "fake and misleading" news websites, including Breitbart, Infowars, Twitchy, The Blaze, Bizpac Review, that was heavily promoted in the Mainstream Media. Even liberals, such as Will Oremus on Slate.com, criticized the list and the term itself for being far too broad, unfairly targeting numerous sites, and being an overreaction. Zimdars later removed her "Fake News" list, claiming she had been "harassed" and "doxed".
While liberals frequently accuse conservative or alternate media sites of being dishonest, they typically gloss over the massive failings of the mainstream media to accurately and fairly cover the news, as well as its own propensity to post and report fake news itself (such as the polls they released which falsely claimed that Hillary Clinton was "well ahead" of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election campaign in order to discourage conservative voters, despite the attendance figures of the Trump campaign rallies vs. the Hillary campaign rallies, which the mainstream media chose to ignore, proving otherwise). In fact, within days after Trump's victory in the election, Wikipedia's liberal editors followed the lead of the mainstream media and echoed their opinions in putting up and propagating a far from neutral and heavily liberal-biased "Fake news website" article.
- Sydell, Laura (November 23, 2016). "We Tracked Down A Fake-News Creator In The Suburbs. Here's What We Learned." NPR. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
- Dewey, Caitlin (November 17, 2016). Facebook fake-news writer: ‘I think Donald Trump is in the White House because of me’. The Washington Post. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
- Leetaru, Kalev, "'Fake News' And How The Washington Post Rewrote Its Story On Russian Hacking Of The Power Grid," Forbes, Jan 1, 2017.
- Nicas, Jack (November 14, 2016). "Google to bar fake-news websites from using its ad-selling software". Wall Street Journal.
- Fake news threatens German election: Merkel
- Finally, Someone Is Standing Up to Fake News: Infowars
- BREAKING: Liberals Create List of "Fake" News Websites Including: Breitbart, Infowars, Zerohedge, Twitchy, The Blaze
- Oremus, Will (December 6, 2016). Stop Calling Everything “Fake News”. Slate.com. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
- Dr Melissa Zimdars removes fake news list and claims she was ‘harassed’
- "Fake news website" article at Wikipedia, December 2, 2016.
- Fake News, by Bill Whittle
- FAKE NEWS: CNN Ties MILO to White Nationalists Despite Explicit Rejection of Racism at Breitbart News Network