Tag Archives: fake news

What took so long to build has collapsed in virtually no time at all

It took print journalism, chiefly newspapers, nearly two centuries to attain what used to be a virtually exalted status among their consumers.

And yet, the craft has all but collapsed in virtually no time.

What took years to erect has all but vanished in the blink of an eye.

That observation came from a dear friend of mine with whom I used to have a professional relationship when I worked in Amarillo as editorial page editor of the Globe-News. My friend was a freelance columnist; he had a regular day job, but wrote for us because he was good at it. Our professional relationship ended when I left the newspaper in August 2012. Happily, our personal friendship remains intact.

We were visiting the other evening when he made that stunning observation. His point is that newspapers climbed for a long time up a proverbial mountain to attain an important status in people’s homes. Readers of newspapers depended on them for news of their community, of their state, nation and the world around them. If you wanted to know what was happening in the world, you collected your newspaper off the porch, opened it up and spent a good deal of time reading what it reported to you.

We believed what we read. I mean, if it’s in the daily newspaper then it had to be true. As my friend noted, it took a long time for newspapers to achieve that status.

Then it all changed. Rapidly! Dramatically! Newspapers fell with a loud thud!

The Internet arrived. I can’t remember when it happened, but suffice to say it was the equivalent to the “day before yesterday.” Cable TV exploded. Social media burst forth, too.

All of that media took huge bites out of newspapers’ influence in people’s lives. Has print journalism become less reliable, less believable, less credible than before? I do not believe that is the case. Americans are still reading some first-class reporting from major newspapers that remain important purveyors of vital information.

And yet, we hear the president of the United States refer to the media as “the enemy of the people.” Right-wingers blast what they call the “mainstream media.” They accuse newspapers and other legitimate media organizations of peddling “fake news.” The attacks have exacted a terrible toll on newspapers.

The smaller papers, those that tell us about our communities? They are struggling. Many of them — if not most of them — are losing the struggle. The Amarillo Globe-News, my final stop in a career that I loved pursuing, has been decimated by competing media forces and — in my view — by incompetence at the top of its management chain of command.

My friend’s analysis, though, rings so true. It saddens me beyond measure to realize that it has taken so little time for it all come crashing down.

Trump’s Twitter rampages are expanding … imagine that

Donald John “Tweeter in Chief” Trump keeps setting unofficial records via the Twitter device that he must sleep with at night.

He reportedly launched 60 or so tweets in a three-hour span to complain about impeachment, Democrats, the “fake news,” Time’s teenage “Person of the Year,” and whatever else got under his orange-tinted skin.

Think about this for a moment. This is the president of the United States. He vows to “make America great again.” He says that “I, alone” can cure the ills of the nation.

How does someone with all that heavy-duty responsibility find the time to pound out misspelled, mangled-syntax, incoherent messages via Twitter?

Oh, I get it. He’s not actually working as president of the United States. That explains it.

‘Fake News’ becomes part of the political vernacular

Donald Trump has done it. He has turned a ridiculous epithet into part of our national vernacular.

I refer to “Fake News,” the term he uses to describe any coverage he deems to be negative. He calls it “fake,” continuing the incessant mantra he began about the time he entered political life in June 2015.

He announced his presidential campaign and not long afterward began hurling the “Fake News” around.

It has stuck. Who knew?

You see, what makes this label so remarkable is its source. Donald Trump once called himself the “king of debt.” He’s actually the “king of fake news.”

He has lied so often, on so many levels that for this individual to accuse anyone in the media of peddling “fake” information simply defies logic.

However, he has gotten away with it!

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. I mean, this carnival barker/huckster/charlatan/serial liar managed to get elected president of the United States in the first place.

He has defied every political norm known to most of us. Why, then, should it surprise anyone that he could turn “Fake News” into something ingrained in our national political vocabulary?

I offer a tip of the proverbial hat to a most unlikely recipient of this salute. You’ve done it, Mr. President. You have created a monster in your own image.

Fox to POTUS: We don’t work for you!

I’m in a shout-out frame of mind.

Thus, I want to say “good show!” to some of Fox News Channel’s top guns for firing back at Donald Trump’s bitching about what he seems to suggest is a growing “disloyalty” among Fox News’s talking heads.

Longtime journalist Brit Hume brusquely told Trump: “We don’t work for you.” Indeed, the network does not work for Trump, although a few of its commentators occasionally act as if they do.

Trump, though, is griping about the news coverage that Fox is providing.

As The Daily Beast reported about Trump’s recent Twitter-tantrum: The president concluded by complaining that Fox News was “letting millions of GREAT people down” and that he needs to “start looking for a new News Outlet” since the one-time channel “isn’t working for us anymore!”

Fox does have some hard-nosed reporters and news anchors on its staff. I continue to hold up Chris Wallace, host of “Fox News Sunday.” It also has Shep Smith and Brett Baier on anchor desks during the week day.

I won’t offer any commentary on the alleged “work” done by, oh, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, the “Fox & Friends” co-hosts, or Laura Ingraham. They all are full of opinions and express them regularly. They are entitled, certainly.

However, for Trump to suggest that a major news and opinion outlet should be “loyal” to him is disgusting and disgraceful beyond belief.

The pros at Fox are doing their job.

If only Donald Trump would realize the fundamental truth about Fox. The network might produce more “friendly” or “favorable” coverage than other news outlets, but it does not work for the president of the United States.

I’m glad to hear the Fox superstars pushing back on Donald Trump.

Bill Maher is a not-too-funny comic, not a member of the media

I posited a notion in an earlier blog post today that Donald Trump’s assertion that the media are trying to destroy the economy is a typically absurd effort to avoid taking any responsibility for the economic woe his own policies might bring to American.

Then a post from a couple of days ago came to my attention. It’s of Bill Maher saying he wishes the economy tanks so that Donald Trump is denied re-election next year.

Is there a parallel here? I don’t see it.

Maher is a comic and sometime-political commentator who’s got a talk show that I never watch, although I’ve heard Maher’s shtick over the years. I don’t think he’s very funny. His “comedy” occasionally crosses a line or two of good taste and decorum.

I am perplexed enough to ask: Is this guy a member of the media? I suppose one could suggest so, given that he at times appears on left-leaning cable commentary shows to offer his world view on this or that issue. However, his media role is at best something that occurs on its fringe.

If you’re interested, you can see how The Hill reported Maher’s rantings here.

I’ll stand by my earlier post that the president is wrong to blame the media for conspiring to tank the economy. He is trying to divert attention from his policies that threaten to undermine the “greatest economy” in human history.

Plus, the media are for-profit businesses that would suffer mightily with the loss of ad revenue if the economy heads straight into the crapper.

Do the media intend to cut their own throats by seeking to destroy the only thing that Donald Trump could say has earned him a second term in office? I don’t believe so.

Media trying to torpedo economy? Of course!

Donald Trump’s ridiculous thrashing and trashing of the media provides so much grist and so much fodder for comics.

Now comes this from the president: The media are trying to torpedo the economy because it is too strong, too vibrant and provides too much fuel to power the president’s re-election bid in 2020.

This man is out of his mind. He’s nuts. He went around the bend long ago, but still … his goofiness reveals a serious delusional tendency.

Trump wrote this on Twitter: “The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election. The problem is that the economy is way too strong and we will be winning big on Trade, and everyone knows that, including China!” 

The president should know better. But he doesn’t.

POTUS shifts blame

The economy is likely to suffer because of the tariffs he keeps imposing on U.S. importers who purchase goods from China. The tariffs create a de facto tax on those products, inflating their cost, making them less affordable to U.S. consumers.

What role do the media play? Oh, let’s see. They’re reporting on it. That is what the media do! They report on policies enacted by the government, be it from the president, or from Congress. The president is seeking to attach steep tariffs on China, ostensibly to publish that government for what Trump says it has done to steal U.S. intellectual property and other transgressions.

Except that China doesn’t suffer the burden on the tariffs. U.S. consumers take it in their, um, wherever.

So, with Trump seeking to shift blame to the media reveals yet again this man’s unwillingness to accept responsibility for anything.

He is projecting his own inadequacies on the media organizations that report on them.

Stop shifting the blame, Mr. POTUS

For crying out loud, Mr. President. You deliver a decent talk this morning about the need to condemn “white supremacy” and to battle the scourge of hate across the land.

Then you put something like this out there. The Twitter message blames the media, “fake news,” for contributing “greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years.”

C’mon! Knock it the hell off, Mr. President!

The media have reported your words, your fiery rhetoric, your declarations that “Mexicans bring crime” to the United States, your insistence on banning entry into the country from residents of certain Muslim countries, your declaration that Africa and parts of Latin America comprise “sh**hole” countries.

Are you saying the media should ignore these things? That the media shouldn’t do its job and report on what flies out of your mouth, or circulates through the Twitterverse?

Mr. President, you do not appreciate a single thing about what makes America great. One symbol of our nation’s greatness, sir, is the existence of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that guarantees a free press should be free of government interference or coercion or, dare I say it … bullying from the president of the United States.

Mueller set to stand on the world’s center stage

Robert S. Mueller III only thought he was heading back into private life after completing his 22-month-long investigation into whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russian election hackers.

He turned his report in to the Department of Justice, then headed for the tall grass. Mueller came out of proverbial “hiding” to deliver a nine-minute statement on what he concluded.

Now he’s heading back to the world’s center stage. The former special counsel is going to speak to two U.S. House of Representatives committees — Judiciary and Intelligence. He will tell committee members what his 448-page report says.

Now, though, we’re hearing from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, who says Mueller is going to produce “substantial evidence” that Trump committed crimes while running for president and while serving in the office. Nadler said on “Fox News Sunday” that Mueller’s report already has unveiled such evidence.

Mueller will get a chance on Wednesday to tell the world what he’s put in writing.

OK, so no we must wonder: Is this the game changer? Is this moment when the bulb will light up in the skulls of recalcitrant Republicans who have given the president a pass on what Democrats have been yammering all along: that Donald Trump is a criminal and should be removed from office?

I don’t know about you, but I am not going to hold my breath that such an event will occur. It goes back to that weird vise grip that Trump has clamped on the Republican Party, on GOP members of Congress and on that base of supporters who continue to cheer for their political hero.

The show will commence early Wednesday. All the broadcast TV networks are going live with it, along with a number of cable TV outlets. I presume they’ll let Mueller’s words speak for themselves, leaving it to the president himself to label the coverage as “fake news.” I wonder, too, if Trump is going to tell millions of Americans that they didn’t really see and hear what they saw and heard.

Is this going to be Robert Mueller’s last act before actually retiring and returning to the weeds? Hah! Not a chance.

Still, the TV viewing promises to be riveting.

Lose the ‘fake news’ gag, Mr. POTUS

It won’t happen. I know that. Donald Trump never will stop throwing around the “fake news” epithet whenever he sees fit.

He did so again the other day in Osaka, Japan, in the presence of his BFF Vladimir Putin, the Russian strongman/tyrant.

Trump sought to yuk it up about “fake news” media outlets in the United States and made some comment to Putin about whether he has the same argument with Russian media that Trump has with the media in the United States.

Putin mumbled something about his difficulty in Russia. Whatever.

What is so maddening is that Trump continues to get away with using the “fake news” insult with impunity.

This individual is the King of Fake News. Indeed, his “news” really is “fake,” not just because the consumers of the news disagree with its conclusions. It’s fake. As in lies. As in falsehoods.

My goodness, the list is longer than Black Friday shopping lines.

You know how it goes. Trump throws out whoppers, his followers buy into them, the media seek to correct him, the president calls the media “fake news” and the Trumpsters keep on cheering.

Trump cannot get enough of this stuff.

He is the King of Fake News. Yet he has stones to tell the media they convey “fake news.” He calls the media the “enemy of the people” while ignoring that the media’s only role is the report — and, when appropriate, comment — on the news of the day.

Donald Trump knows “fake news.” He didn’t invent it. He has just perfected it and turned it into an art form.

Fox & Friends turns ‘big loss’ into a ‘big win,’ go figure

If you had any doubt at all — which is impossible, of course — about why Donald Trump loves the Fox News Channel, you ought to get a load of some of the commentary that came from the co-hosts of “Fox & Friends,” the network’s morning gab show.

The New York Times published a report chronicling how Trump lost more than $1 billion for a decade leading up to 1994; for eight of those years he didn’t pay any federal income taxes. The report has been seen generally by political, business and media analysts as a big-time embarrassment for the self-proclaimed deal making genius.

Oh, but then the “Fox & Friends” sycophants weighed in the other morning. Ainsley Earhardt gushed to her “Friends” colleagues Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade that the losses show what an “impressive” risk-taker Trump was at the time. “If anything, you read this and you’re like ‘wow, it’s pretty impressive, all the things that he’s done in his life,'” Earnhardt gushed.

No, it’s not impressive, Ms. Earnhardt. It reveals that Trump has been lying through his teeth at Americans about his business acumen.

That won’t dissuade the president’s amen chorus at Fox. They love the guy. They give him a pass on all the hideous behavior he has exhibited during his brief time in politics. One of FNC’s more egregious examples of pro-Trump obsequiousness occurred when commentator Sean Hannity acted as an emcee at a Trump political rally.

So it’s no surprise that “Fox & Friends” would grovel at Trump’s feet when a major American newspaper blows the lid off the president’s miserable business failures.

Hey, I believe we ought to call the “Fox & Friends” critique what it is: fake news!