Washington Post Media Columnist Now Wants to Retire 'Fake News' Term

January 9th, 2017 1:48 PM

Fake news. It was the term enthusiastically embraced by the mainstream media in the wake of the general election as an excuse to explain why Hillary Clinton lost. Unfortunately, that same term quickly boomeranged on them since skeptics pointed out that the MSM has used massive doses of fake news over the years to promote liberal causes including Hillary's career. And now that the "fake news" term has turned toxic for the left, they want to drop it entirely.

Case in point is Sunday's complaint by Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan. She is so upset that the term is being used to point out the fake news promulgated by the MSM that she now wants to scrap the term as she explains in her column title: It’s time to retire the tainted term ‘fake news’.

Fake news has a real meaning — deliberately constructed lies, in the form of news articles, meant to mislead the public. For example: The one falsely claiming that Pope Francis had endorsed Donald Trump, or the one alleging without basis that Hillary Clinton would be indicted just before the election.

But though the term hasn’t been around long, its meaning already is lost. Faster than you could say “Pizzagate,” the label has been co-opted to mean any number of completely different things: Liberal claptrap. Or opinion from left-of-center. Or simply anything in the realm of news that the observer doesn’t like to hear.

“The speed with which the term became polarized and in fact a rhetorical weapon illustrates how efficient the conservative media machine has become,” said George Washington University professor Nikki Usher.

As Jeremy Peters wrote in the New York Times: “Conservative cable and radio personalities, top Republicans and even Mr. Trump himself . . . have appropriated the term and turned it against any news they see as hostile to their agenda.”

So, here’s a modest proposal for the truth-based community.

Let’s get out the hook and pull that baby off stage. Yes: Simply stop using it.

WAAAAH! After heavily promoting the term "fake news" it has turned around and bitten us on the butt! So please...no more using that term that boomeranged on us!

Glenn Kessler, who writes The Post’s Fact Checker, put it this way: “People seem to confuse reporting mistakes by established news organizations with obviously fraudulent news produced by Macedonian teenagers.” (BuzzFeed reported in early November that young Macedonians were setting up sites on Facebook devoted to click-baity, pro-Trump deception, and reaping advertising profits.)

Sorry, Glenn, but MSM fake news is way beyond mere reporting mistakes. As NewsBusters itself chronicles over and over again, fake news (which is obviously fraudulent) is a common occurrence in the MSM:

“Fake news” has had its 15 minutes of fame. Let’s put this tainted term out of its misery.

Sorry, Margaret, but fake news which the MSM itself recently promoted to excuse Hillary's loss, is actually a permanent fixture of liberal reporting and not just a product of Macedonian teenagers. And it wasn't Macedonian teenagers who produced the fake news in a Thursday Washington Post editorial as chronicled yesterday, the same day as Sullivan's lament, by Newsbusters' Tom Blumer: Washington Post Editorial Falsely Claims 'No Evidence' in House Panel's Planned Parenthood Report.

A Thursday Washington Post editorial on the results of a House panel's investigation into what the paper called Planned Parenthood's "contributions" to "fetal tissue research" packs an astounding number of falsehoods into a mere five paragraphs.

What the editorial defends is Planned Parenthood's ghoulish practice of harvesting and selling baby body parts. The Post insists that the House panel wants to "punish" the organization by withdrawing its federal funding "without any evidence." Though an editorial isn't a news report, that doesn't exempt its writers from telling the truth — and this editorial certainly failed in that regard, even contradicting the findings of a previous fact check by one of the paper's reporters.

Margaret Sullivan might want to retire the term "fake news" now that it isn't working out for the MSM but a check of Blumer's full story reveals that the Washington Post editorial board itself is guilty of promoting fake news.

To get an idea of just how horribly the "fake news" term has backfired on the MSM you need only to read some of the readers comments about Sullivan's column:

The reason "fake news" lost its currency so fast is that many of us who read the WP, NYT, etc. because of their overall quality know at the same time just how much their presentation is slanted because of liberal shibboleths that cannot be questioned. Thus the sudden outrage at news made out of whole cloth rings hollow for us.

Do you want to retire it because WaPo has participated in it so much lately? I understand. Must be humiliating.

I read right here in WAPO about the fake "Hands up don't shoot' news THAT NEVER HAPPENED.

What's wrong, MSM? You invented the fake news meme to discredit alternative news media and independent investigating and now that it's being used (properly) against you, you have a problem with it?

Exit question: Were Macedonian teenagers writing all those MSM fake news stories over the years?