The fake news phenomenon is nothing new. It’s been a part of the business since William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer invented it in the United States. They are the two credited with inventing yellow journalism and using it to get the US to declare war on Spain at the end of the 19th century. It probably goes back further, but it was these two who figured out how to make it work in the age of mass media. It’s not an accident that the two men who created fake news have journalism awards named after them.
More recently, the gold standard of fake news is the fake human interest story. This is where the fake reporter would find some fake people to write about, placing them into a canned narrative. Sometimes the people would be real, but their story was fictionalized and their quotes created by the fake reporters. Mike Barnacle had a long career at the Boston Globe writing fake human interest stories. He was eventually found out and fired, but people always knew he was a faker. He’s now a regular on MSNBC as a fake guest.
Another variation on this is the Stephen Glass example. He was a “journalist” for the New Republic, who wrote eye catching first person stories about outlandish things supposedly happening in Washington. Of course, his subjects were almost always conservatives acting in a way that titillated Progressives. For example, he did a piece on CPAC in which he described conservatives carrying on like a Roman orgy. He was eventually found out by someone at Forbes magazine and the New Republic fired him.
Despite that rather famous event, Progressive publications have done little to address the wholesale fraud that goes on in the business. If anything, it is worse now that ever. It’s rare to find a named source in a story,. All sources are now “unnamed sources” by which they mean imaginary. Even sports has succumbed to this habit. It’s so egregious, it has to be assumed that everyone knows it is all fake. When someone reports on something that only two people could know, and neither is named in the story, the report has to be fake.
This week we may be seeing fake news merge with mass hysteria to set off a panic among the Cloud People. First we have fiction writer Bob Woodward out with his latest collection of ghost stories. Woodward is the guy who used former CIA director Bill Casey as a source, while Casey was in a coma. That’s right, he claimed to have spoken to a man while he was in a coma. His Watergate writing was similarly full of fabrications. There is a great book on that topic and all else related to Watergate called Silent Coup.
Anyway, Woodward has a book out on Trump in which he strokes every single fear and hatred of the NeverTrump loons. Totally a coincidence, no doubt. Perhaps sensing it was too obvious or hoping to piggyback on the release, the New York Times has an op-ed up that is supposedly written by a White House insider. Reading the thing, it feels as if it was written by a couple of clever college boys pulling a prank. The only thing missing from it is a picture of Sam Hyde. Judging from the reaction, even liberals suspect it is fake.
Of course, all of this is a coordinated effort by the mass media to damage Trump in the run up to the midterm elections. We know this is a coordinated effort because they did their organizing in public view. Someone needs to explain to the media that conspiracies work best when done in private. Someone should also tell the media that the point is to scare the public, not scare yourselves. All of these whoppers they are producing read like the stuff pink pussy hat wearing gals tell one another after too many gulps of chardonnay.
All of this is amusing, but it is also revealing. On a daily basis the mass media tells us that there is no reason for the Dirt People to bother voting this fall. The blue wave is coming in November and the House will soon be stuffed with exotic brown people, sporting funny names and a long list of grievances against whitey. Yet, they are in a full panic, carrying on as if they expect the opposite. The grotesque theater that was the McCain funeral is another example that suggests these people feel the heat of the setting sun.
Another amusing aspect to this is the Prog loonies will no doubt have their panties in a twist when the truth is revealed. If it is a real person in the White House, the media will suddenly be outraged by the doxxing of this brave hero. Meanwhile, Darren Beattie will remain unemployed. If it turns out the writer is Jayson Blair, the whole thing will be thrown down the memory hole along with all the other hoaxes. Of course, regardless of the outcome, the Progs will consider the contents to be gospel for the next six years.
Journalism has always been about shaping public opinion. It has always been fake news, which is why their top awards are named after the inventors of yellow journalism. It worked for a long time because the guys who used to run the media were smart and they hired smart people. They also had a feel for their audience. Today, the typical journalist is a hormonal girl, with a head full of feminist nonsense. Alternatively, it is a foppish male with no useful skills and no useful experience in the world.
Compounding it is the the management class of these news organizations have never done real reporting. Many came out of politics, never having covered a fire or reported on a court case. They don’t know the basics of the news business, so they are easily fooled by their obsequious underlings. The result is the typical news organization is the weak leading the crazy. In an age where facts are easily verified and groups of volunteers can crowd-source a response, fake news needs to be smart. Instead it is stupid and childish.