Yesterday we talked about the power of our words and how our intentions get lost in the way we use our words. We are dangerously close to letting the intelligent use of words that for so many generations have successfully painted our thoughts, feelings, ideas, and ideals slip away into a world of sound bytes.
Today’s political environment gives us numerous examples of this. President Trump has in just a few short weeks shown the World his words have meaning and of course consequences too. And today’s media have proven the premise in this conversation again and again by manipulating his words to establish and perpetuate a political agenda — an agenda of “fake news.” Remember recently when virtually every news outlet maintained again and again that President Trump tweeted that “The media is the enemy of the people?” I Googled that and I stopped counting at 173 different stories that quoted that Presidential tweet. THAT IS NOT WHAT THE PRESIDENT TWEETED!
The ramifications of those stories? Tens of thousands if not millions of people heard and read — “words” — in which the U.S. President called the media the enemies of the people. So most of them believed it. He didn’t say it! Here’s what he said: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing NYTimes, NBC News, ABC, CBS, CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!” (tweeted 2/17/17 at 3:48 PM)
Do you see the danger in this precedent? Multiple news sources are obviously using THEIR words to push their political agendas at the cost of THE TRUTH. They are crying that the President is showing traits of historical despots and dictators. But what is really happening is that purveyors of fake news are marketing a world in which all that is right, wrong, good for the People, necessary, and righteous is defined by — guess who — THE MEDIA! American politics has with the election of Donald Trump become an entity that the American media as a whole feel they should control.
For many years that bastion of neutrality in television news — FOX News — has almost always held true to their mantra “Fair and Balanced: We report, You decide.” Now there are Fox reporters and show hosts that have put on the media mantle of Fake News, choosing to join their fellow journalists in attacking the President for his constant attacks of the news media. They too are now parroting the lie that Mr. Trump called the media the “enemy of the people.”
After Friday’s CPAC speech by the President, Chris Wallace guest hosted the Bill O’Reilly show and had Fox News contributor Bernie Goldberg discuss his thoughts on the President’s speech. Goldberg said, “This isn’t Donald Trump shooting from the lip,” he said, “this is a coordinated, calculated war on the media. The goal is to try and bring them down, to delegitimize them, and try to take away what little credibility they have left. Steve Bannon and Donald Trump want to bring what they call the ‘fake media’ down before the media brings them down.” Goldberg criticized the president for demanding that the media no longer use anonymous sources when reporting stories. “Donald Trump says reporters should not be able to use any sources without attaching names to them, but if that were the case we would not know what was going on in the White House during Watergate. Some reporters would like to see Donald Trump destroyed, but bias is not ‘fake news.’ Donald Trump will have to realize that all news he doesn’t like is not fake.” Really? Did Goldberg listen to the President’s CPAC speech or did he get his cues from “fake news” sources? Here’s what the President said at CPAC:
” In fact, in covering my comments, the dishonest media did not explain that I called the fake news the enemy of the people — the fake news. They dropped off the word ‘fake.’ And all of a sudden the story became the media is the enemy. They take the word ‘fake’ out. And now I’m saying, oh, no, this is no good. But that’s the way they are. So I’m not against the media, I’m not against the press. I don’t mind bad stories if I deserve them, and I tell you, I love good stories, but we won’t talk — I don’t get too many of them. But I am only against the fake news media or press. Fake. Fake. They have to leave that word.”
That’s what the President “said.” He repeated at CPAC what his Februrary 17th tweet that started this firestorm actually said. Now he’s said at least twice he doesn’t think that ALL the media are enemies of the people — just FAKE news media. I’m sorry Bernie; there is no WAR on the media from Donald Trump. He has gone to war with the FAKE news media. And he’s defined who they are and the way they work.
Does it bother you to hear and read stories that quote “anonymous sources?” Who are these people and why can’t they just report facts that have been verified? One of the fundamentals of journalism is all story sources are verified before stories are published. But how can the public trust the voracity of a story that comes from “anonymous” sources? There’s not way to trust the story because the source is unknown. But the media again and again release stories confirmed by “anonymous” sources only for those stories to again and again be debunked as false. There are only a few reasons for these sources to be anonymous: the source is not authorized to give the information; the information is classified and therefore is not to even be released at all; the information is UNTRUE. There are NO other reasons for anonymity. So, Bernie, President Trump got it right: STOP QUOTING ANONYMOUS SOURCES FOR NEWS!
And this morning, FOX News’ Geraldo Rivera is asking for ALL news media to “stand together” against the White House position against fake news. Why? Because in the Obama Administration, the “fake news” outlets stood with FOX News when Obama railed against Fox. He did so not because of incorrect or false news content, but for reporting news that dissented with him and his policies in any way. Do they not see the difference? “Negative” news reports are not the same as “Fake” news reports. And of course Geraldo never misses an opportunity to gripe about prosecution and/or deportation of illegal immigrants as the President has begun — for convicted felons ONLY! These are not dreamers or peaceful, hard working immigrants who are in the legal immigration process. They are convicted of committing felonies.
I’m afraid FOX News is in the tank. That’s unfortunate. But it just makes it tougher for Americans to find the truth in news. I do not think this will stop people from acting on their hunger for facts. Americans are smarter than that. Keep digging….keep vetting….keep asking questions. “The truth will out.” Don’t simply believe what you hear on television news or read online. Don’t rest until you find facts (that don’t come from “anonymous” sources)
Remember: “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”