In the mid-1990s, when the great Norm Macdonald was kicking off his “Weekend Update” segments of Saturday Night Live with, “And now, the fake news,” pretty much everyone knew what he meant. These days, however, disputes over definitions of “fake news” seem as common as fake news itself. It may be that the lefty writer angriest about fake news is media critic and political blogger Allison Hantschel, who in a Tuesday post at First Draft blamed the problem on both conservative media (for undermining the mainstream media) and the MSM (for not vigorously defending itself until it was too late).
The purveyors of what the establishment press likes to describe as "fake news" have nothing on the fake news the establishment press itself generates at the Obama administration's behest.
For example, the Associated Press, in a very late paragraph in just one of its three reports on the topic Thursday, admitted that "Though the FBI and Homeland Security Department issued a joint report on 'Russian malicious cyber activity' - replete with examples of malware code used by the Russians - it still has not released a broader report Obama has promised detailing Russia's efforts to interfere with U.S. elections." In other words, there is no — zero, zilch, nada — published evidence, let alone proof, other than the statements of anonymous Obama apparatchiks on a conference call, that Russia successfully "interfere(d) with U.S. elections." But that hasn't stopped AP or others from taking it as gospel that Russia "hacked the elections."
In a Christmas Day post, Digby (also a columnist for Salon) contended that, given the media’s hostility toward Hillary Clinton, that “it’s actually a testament to her rectitude that [the e-mail story] was all they came up with. They had certainly tried over the course of 25 years to come up with something real and they ended up having to make up this ridiculous fake scandal to justify their Javert-like obsession.” To Digby, Hillary was an even more inviting target for the media than her scandal-prone husband: “After all, she was always the uppity one who was asking for it, not good old Bill. They didn't get the indictment they were promised but the FBI did manage to be the instrument of her destruction so it's almost as good.”
Salon pundit Marcotte believes that in the Age of Trump, conservatism consists of just two tenets: the rich should get richer, and liberals are disgusting. In a Friday column, Marcotte admitted that liberals “say nasty things about conservatives,” but maintained that conservatives are far more likely than liberals to engage in “dehumanization” of political opponents.
In covering the recent presidential campaign, the mainstream media far too often made the perfect the enemy of the good, believes Leigh Gilmore -- “the good” in this case being synonymous with “Hillary Clinton.” Gilmore, a professor in the women's and gender studies department at Hillary’s undergraduate alma mater, Wellesley, claims that “the bias against Hillary Clinton was not simply a story the media reported -- it was the unexamined narrative the press repeated over and over...Why was the lie more persistent than the truth? Why was ‘Crooked Hillary’ a more compelling figure than ‘Fundamentally Honest Hillary’?”
The establishment press wants readers, listeners and viewers to believe that the search engines and social media are being overwhelmed by "fake news." Those making such allegations are, with rare exceptions, thinking of conservative and center-right web sites which have been countering their established wisdom and taking readers and dollars away from them.
Well, if that's so, at least in regards to Google and Donald Trump's nomination of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, I'm having a hard time finding evidence of that. Instead, auto-suggested search results provided by the world's dominant search engine on Saturday took me straight to the leftist fever swamps and to a New York Times editorial which might as well have originated there.
Major similarities between the 2016 presidential election and that of 2000 don’t end with the Democrat winning the popular vote but losing the electoral vote, claims Marcotte, who contended that the media had it in for Hillary Clinton the same way they did for Al Gore, and that in each case biased campaign coverage was a factor in driving down Democratic voter turnout. Regarding this year’s race, Marcotte remarked, “Replace ‘I invented the internet’ with ‘emails,’ ‘Naomi Wolf’ with ‘pneumonia’ and ‘Ralph Nader’ with ‘Jill Stein,’ and you’re looking at a rerun.”
David Frum’s book assessing the conservatism of the early-to-middle 1990s was called Dead Right. If Gary Legum wrote a book about today’s conservatives, he might call it Undead Right. “The GOP is a zombie party, shambling across the countryside, spreading terror and devouring any living creature it comes across,” declared Legum last Friday. “But unlike in, say…a George Romero movie, you can’t kill it forever by planting an ax in its head…And unfortunately, because the GOP zombie cannot be killed, we are going to be stuck working our lives around it for the indefinite future.”
Some left-wing pundits, anticipating that Donald Trump will lose on November 8, are pre-emptively trying to make sure that conservatives take the blame for Trump’s nomination. Gary Legum of Salon argued that right-wing news outlets “have both spent the better part of the Obama administration pushing the exact silly demagoguery and conspiracy theories that riled up the conservative base and pushed it into nominating a demagogue of its own.” The Washington Monthly’s Martin Longman claimed that “other than John Kasich, at times, and short-timers like George Pataki and maybe Jim Gilmore, the rest of the field represented (or, at least, pandered to) a far right-wing conservative worldview that has been steeping in weaponized stupidity for the entire Obama Era.”
Editor’s Note: Normal people might find some of this offensive. (We hope. Dear Lord, please!)
Election 2016 has been terrifying. So let’s take a break and talk about something more calming -- Halloween. Even a holiday designed to scare the heck out of you should be a breath of fresh air. Forget Clinton and Trump. Imagine Psycho, The Exorcist or The Night of The Living Dead.
The liberals who thought Chris Wallace did a bang-up job as moderator of the third presidential debate were judging strictly by appearances, contended Daily Kos’s Laura Clawson and Salon’s Gary Legum in separate articles. Clawson pooh-poohed the praise for Wallace, sneering that he “really wasn’t all that. Unless the ‘that’ is ‘a purveyor of right-wing talking points masked as “fair and balanced” questions.’” Legum called Wallace “a creature of Fox News, a point of view he betrayed through both his selection of several questions and the right-wing frame he gave to them. Which might have tickled the amygdala of conservatives everywhere, but also managed to perpetrate for a mainstream audience a couple of the more pernicious policy myths that haunt our political discourse.”
In a Sunday piece, writer Lyz Lenz argued that conservative Christians make a glaring, politically motivated exception to their belief that “a marriage is forever” when they “attack [Hillary] Clinton for staying with” Bill. Lenz noted that “numerous friends and relatives of mine have been counseled [against divorce] by pastors and Christian counselors, who argue that couples ought to persist in marriages where there has been infidelity, cruelty and worse, because God’s call to a lifelong union supersedes all others.” Nonetheless, “within this tale of marriage and redemption, there doesn’t seem to be room” for Hillary.