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Free Minds & Free Markets

Let's Be Clear About Who Drained the Meaning from the Phrase 'Fake News'

Don't scapegoat the right for this. You can spread the blame a lot more widely than that.

PixabayPixabayA new take on "fake news" had been bubbling for a while, and now it has the imprimatur of a Washington Post columnist. Here's Margaret Sullivan:

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.

So far, so good. The phrase "fake news" has been getting plastered willy-nilly on anything that's false, and sometimes just on something that someone wants to suggest is false. I've been complaining about that for more than a month.

But then the column starts to go off track:

"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.

Wait. The conservative media machine? Did you think they came up with this?

Let's be clear about the chain of events here. A year ago, "fake news" had a pretty specific meaning: clickbait sites that publish hoaxes. The hoax of the hour might be political, but it could as easily be a fraudulent report of a celebrity death or a weird-news story that's too good to be true. Over time the term was also applied to aggregation sites that don't specialize in hoaxes so much as they simply don't care whether the stories they're promoting are hoaxes. Not exactly the same thing, but you still had that basic model of a click-driven indifference to truth.

But when the opinion-spouting class grabbed the phrase en masse right after the election, they used it much more broadly. They applied it to sites with a heavy ideological skew. They applied it to conspiracy theories cooked up by people who might not know what credible evidence looks like but sincerely think they're chasing a real scandal. (Sullivan's column alludes twice to "PizzaGate," a theory that owes its origins not to hoaxsters but to nuts.) Conservatives played a part in this, throwing the words "fake news" at mainstream-media stories that might be better described as "bad reporting" (or, sometimes, as "perfectly fine reporting that uncovered facts I don't like"). But they didn't invent the practice. They took what the center-left was doing and bent it to their own ends.

Once you've started slapping the "fake news" label on anything that looks like sloppy reporting or ideological bias in the alternative press, you've pretty much guaranteed that people will start flinging it when they think they've spotted sloppy reporting or ideological bias in the mainstream. No media-machine efficiency was required. Ask the right who taught them how to do this stuff, and they can look up from their bed and tell you: You, all right? I learned it by watching you!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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  • Lee Genes||

    This sounds like fake news, probably Russian. I'm reporting you to the Global Engagement Center immediately.

  • Quixote||

    Wherever it's coming from, it should rapidly be criminalized. Surely no one here would dare to defend the unpresidented "First Amendment dissent" of a single, isolated judge in America's leading criminal "satire" case? See the documentation at:

    https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  • BigT||

    Please join them.

  • ||

    The Left is not shooting itself in the anything -- their media consist of a few niche websites like Naked Capitalism, Truthdig, Truthout, Counterpunch, etc. Actually, they were the targets of the PropOrNot scam purveyed by the Washington Post, not their own foot marksmanship. The Washington Post, the New York Times, and others like them _do_ produce fake news -- that is, propaganda -- and have done so for a long time. My guess is that the ascendancy of Trump has caused panic among some of the elite or ruling class, and a struggle has broken out among different factions thereof. Putingate, thus far unsupported by any real evidence, is another part of the struggle. If they've shot themselves in the head, they have yet to fall down. They lied about Vietnam, Iran-Contra, Iraq 2003, national surveillance, and probably about the recent hacking events. Yet people still believe and quote them.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Krugabe's columns are fake news. Or slander; take your pick.

  • Sevo||

    His columns will never recover!

  • ||

    Krugabe is a bit flaccid these days. It is known. Will Krugabe ever get his mojo back?

  • SugarFree||

    It's more like Keynesian slashfic.

    And then John pulled the macroeconomy to him forcefully, the tumescent outline of his stimulus package plain for the audience to see.

    "You are mine," he whispered and began to nibble along the smooth sweep of the macroeconomy's alabaster neck.
  • Crusty Juggler||

    *unzips*

  • The Fusionist||

    Don't watch socialist porn, it was made in State Porn Factory #4, and it's all clumsily-edited videos featuring Olga the Washerwoman.

    (I know, Keynsianism isn't socialism, but it is for the purpose of this joke)

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    My deepest shame as a libertarian is my sick fetish for socialist washwomen.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Keynsianism isn't socialism, but it can be applied most effectively in a totalitarian state.

    That's what Keynes himself wrote in the preface to the German translation of General Theory.

  • ||

    ^unfortunate case of stagflation

  • Hugh Akston||

    "Where do you want this stimulus package?" John whispered into the macroeconomy's ear.

    "I'm only kidding of course." He smiled through his mustache as he secured the restraints around the macroeconomy's ankles. "It doesn't matter where I put it, and even if it did I certainly wouldn't ask you."
  • The Fusionist||

    (thousands of bored housewives try to order Hugh Akson's novel)

  • The Fusionist||

    Akston

  • SugarFree||

    "Multiplier effect!" macroeconomy gasped, "It's like you have x1.25 tongues in me right now!"

  • Hugh Akston||

    "yes, Yes, YES!" the macroeconomy cried out in ecstatic agony. "Dig a hole in me and then fill it in!"

  • SugarFree||

    "Use a shovel, save a job!" she screamed.

  • Lee Genes||

    "Your inflation is too low! Increase your supply! Increase your supply or this is never going to happen!"

  • SugarFree||

    "MAYNARD!"

  • Charles Easterly||

  • Lee Genes||

    "MY BUBBLE IS POPPING!"

  • R C Dean||

    Dammit, there's got to be a way to work "animal spirits" in, but I got nuthin' to compete with this.

  • ||

    Bark. Bark, bark.

  • R C Dean||

    Good work. I snorted sushi out my nose (no euphemism).

  • Ted S.||

    Please tell me it was fruit sushi. :-)

  • CptNerd||

    Wasabi is great for trimming nose hair...

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "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.

    "Anything I don't agree with is propaganda."

  • SugarFree||

    Fake news only became a problem as the left flailed about for an explanation for Hillary's loss beyond the unflattering obvious. Russian hacking is the same.

    If there was ever a time for sober reflection in the Democratic party, it is now. That is why they are avoiding it so desperately.

  • ||

    ^reported as FAKE! Nooze. And spam.

    And, for the record, all the Ru-Krainian and Russian people with whom I speak think the USA in general looks exceptionally weak and pathetic, flailing around about FAKE! Nooze. It's pretty sad when Eastern Euro-landia and all of the Russian Federation is pointing and laughing at the USA for what amounts to basically pantsing yourself in public and blaming everyone else for it. Apparently, nobody learnt from Carlos Danger when he was first...ahem, exposed, as a serial text-vert, and he strongly claimed, right out of the chute, that his accounts were, "hacked." Which was rather quickly debunked shortly after. You'd think Shrill-Bot and Huma Danger would have been paying attention to that debacle....

    I get tired of having to defend America for the FAKE! Nooze stupidity. Even moreso that USA media doesn't know what, "hacking," really means.

  • The Fusionist||

    They know the old meaning, they just want to devise a new meaning which better fits their agenda.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I like how the CIA "discovered" Russian involvement on Nov 9.

  • BYODB||

    This is what constantly throws a wrench into the whole thing. So, what, the NSA/CIA were just not paying attention until Trump won? That's either gross negligence or completely made up. Since it's the NSA/CIA, I honestly can't decide which one it is. Both?

  • Pay up, Palin's Buttplug!||

    You know what else happened on 9 November?

  • Mansplainer||

    The Rockets beat the Spurs 101-99

    In San Antonio. Nice win

  • R C Dean||

    Huma Danger

    I like.

  • Not a True MJG||

    So you're saying Fake News is a Fake Scandal.

  • SugarFree||

    And the Fake Scandal is sitting in the back of a giant turtle.

  • Sevo||

    "...or the one alleging without basis that Hillary Clinton would be indicted just before the election..."

    Sure that's "fake news"? Or just someone voicing an opinion based on the hag's felonies and an assumption she would be held to the same laws as the rest of us?

  • Drake||

    I thought it was invented by Dan Rather with his "fake, but could have been true" story about W?

  • colorblindkid||

    Just last week Rather had an op-ed about fake news and the integrity of journalism. He was applauded for it by many journalists. I just can't even anymore...

  • Drake||

    It wasn't in The Onion?

  • BakedPenguin||

    What's the Frequency, Kenneth?

  • Sevo||

    Was just ready to post this and you beat me to it.
    I swear this to be true:
    The Chron brought him in from his current hiding place as an authority on how to spot fake news.
    Really. No irony. HE was supposed to be the voice of probity on the issue.

  • Holger da Dane||

    Maybe they were operating on the assumption that it takes one to know one?

  • Holger da Dane||

    Of course they are probably still not counting on the "I'm Rubber, You're Glue" gambit being employed in return.

  • B.P.||

    Without even a moment of self-reflection? Wow.

  • CptNerd||

    Vampires can't self-reflect.

  • bacon-magic||

    Brian Williams was his wingman on integrity of journalism.

  • Rich||

    What is Al Sharpton, chopped liver?

  • ||

    He's more tripe than anything else.

    Also, congrats on your H/T, Rich! Assuming you haven't gotten one before, you are part of the exclusive elite group, with privileges and benefits that accompany such an exclusive distinction.

    *Breathes on and shines hallowed H/T bestowed upon from none other than Too-Chill-AY himself*

  • Just Say'n||

    The Washington Post is literally fake news. They've had to quietly retract two Russia scare-monger articles over the past month that were hilariously unfounded ('the Russians hacked our electric grid!').

    Margaret Sullivan either has no shame who she can't help being a hack (both are probably true).

  • Sevo||

    "They've had to quietly retract two Russia scare-monger articles over the past month that were hilariously unfounded ('the Russians hacked our electric grid!')."

    And from what I saw, they ran the 'retractions' as "updated stories"; slimebags.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    OT but suitable for Walker, since his beat is Interesting Things:

    People Have Hacked Nintendo's NES Classic To Add Games

    Hahaha, awesome.

  • The Fusionist||

    PUTIN: How goes your Nintento hacking project?

    CHIEF HACKER BORIS JAKINOV: A success, Your Excellency, I put all your favorite games on Nintendo...

    PUTIN: Including Ms. Pac-Man?

    JAKINOV: Including Ms. Pac-Man, Your Excellency.

    PUTIN: Splendid! But now, I'm afraid you know too much. [pushes button and Jakinov falls into a trapdoor in the floor]. And now, Ms. Pac-Man, you are all mine! [pets cat]

  • R C Dean||

    Fake news, to me, encompasses bullshit narratives, like "The Russians hacked the election". Just about every mainstream story on the DNC/Podesta hacks, etc. is written to push the idea that the Russians somehow interfered with our election process, or somehow otherwise tipped the scales to Trump.

    The focus on whether facts were misreported (as opposed to unreported or spun to give a false impression) is too narrow. Meaning comes from context, including the context into which facts are put. The best lies are mostly truth, after all. Watch two good trial lawyers lay out their cases - neither will tell an outright untruth, but will pick and frame facts to support the conclusion they want. When the media does that, especially by omission, it can add up to fake news, for me, even if you can't isolate a single statement as categorically false.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I don't know what to believe.

  • Lee Genes||

    Believe in me!

    *offers Crusty Kool-Aid*

  • Lee Genes||

    Along these lines.....

    Conway has been on TV this morning denying that Trump mocked the reporter. He himself--not only in the NY Times interview, but also in his tweets-- denied it, too. Conway seems to think that we should "look in his heart". The way one determines what is "in someone's heart" is to observe what they do and what they say. Psychologists will tell you, that when you are dealing with abusers, narcissists, pathological liars, sociopaths, etc, that you need to "watch what they do, not what they say". In other words, watch the video of Trump using his body language to mock the reporter. That is the truth. Meryl Streep is a consummate actor--admired and respected by her peers and critics alike--and actors hone their craft by observing people. She knows what she saw. And so do the rest of us who are paying attention.

    So, Conway denies the factual information (the video) and attempts to replace it with false information (what's in his heart). But, what's in his heart IS what he did on the video, which was to mock the reporter. See how the gaslighting definition fits?

    I personally like the bit about Streep is an actor and therefore an expert on human interaction.

  • R C Dean||

    Conway has been on TV this morning denying that Trump mocked the reporter. He himself--not only in the NY Times interview, but also in his tweets-- denied it, too.

    He mocked him for being a hapless loser, not for being disabled.

    The way one determines what is "in someone's heart" is to observe what they do and what they say.

    What they say: "I didn't mock him for being disabled."

    What he does: Mock other, non-disabled people exactly the same way.

  • Not a True MJG||

    You don't call a disabled person a retard. You call Ted Cruz a retard, when he's being retarded.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    That retard's father killed Kennedy.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Bullshit. She's still on FBN.

  • ||

    Computerized AI. A weaponized form of interruption.

  • Drake||

    There's some video of him mocking other non-disabled people with exactly the same gestures. I can't be bothered to look.

  • colorblindkid||

    That's basically the argument. Trump wasn't making fun of him because he was disabled. He just made fun of a guy who happened to be disabled. I actually understand the argument; I just can't figure out if that makes it better or worse.

  • SugarFree||

    Trump knew who he was mocking and exactly why he was mocking him.

    His supporters should just stop with the word games and say "Yeah, but who really gives a shit?"

  • R C Dean||

    She He knows what she he saw. And so do the rest of us who are paying attention.

    Just joshing ya. I actually think he was mocking the guy for being disabled, and was mocking other people he saw as idiots as if they were disabled.

    I was just taking her It Is Known criteria and seeing if they actually worked. (Hint: not very well).

  • SugarFree||

    Ah, I see. Never mind.

    I do wonder how much he's paying Conway. Hopefully it's quite a bit.

  • Charles Easterly||

    SugarFree,

    Political Tribalism?

  • Charles Easterly||

    Obviously, I should have refreshed the website.

  • BakedPenguin||

    GILMORE™ posted this link to an 11/2016 Greenwald Intercept article that demonstrates the WaPo shouldn't say anything about fake news.

  • Lee Genes||

    Greenwald's follow-up was good as well. The left has blackballed him for that article.

  • colorblindkid||

    This new generation of the right is finally playing the same games the left's been playing for decades. It is incredibly amusing and oddly gratifying to watch, but it is absolutely a very bad development in the long run. I don't know how it can be fixed, unless we finally have our LIBERTARIAN MOMENT!

  • Holger da Dane||

    Libertarians can have that moment - Just start plaing the same games!

    *Puts artisanal popcorn in the microwave*

  • Charles Easterly||

    The speed with which the term became polarized and in fact a rhetorical weapon illustrates how efficient the conservative media machine has become....

    - Professor Nikki Usher.

    Please take no offense, Professor Usher, yet you I think will have to do better than that.
    It seems that there was already a Nikki at H&R whom several considered to be "the worst".

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I wouldn't mind ushering her about town, if you know what I mean.

  • ||

    Drive her around in a car? That's awfully nice of you.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I'd take her to and fro, if you know what I mean.

  • ||

    Pickup and drop-offs? That's a whole bunch of time spent driving, if you know what I mean.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I'd pick her up and drop her off, if you catch my drift.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!!

  • ||

    Either you two lotharios are going to pop the clutch and get in gear, or leave her spinning around the roundabout, giving her the burnout.

    Of the two I would expect to make time here when the rubber meets the road....

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I wouldn't mind introducing my rubber to her road, if you know what I mean.

  • ||

    You jokers should just get these euphemisms out of the way and do each other.

  • Holger da Dane||

    You have exotic tastes, my friend.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Conservatives and libertarians have at most 10% of the media. The other 90+% of the media is progressive, socialist, or "liberal".

    What Professor Nikki Usher observes as an efficient "conservative media machine" is, instead, the American public coming to its senses and rejecting the bullshit narratives of the progressive media machine.

  • SIV||

    Hit is my go-to site for clickbait fake news.

  • SIV||

    Hit & Run is also a good place to feed the SKWERLS lots of tasty ampersands

  • Brochetta's magic (((pants)))||

    Shorter version of the Washington Post here:
    We have lost control over and allowed our poorly thought out and constructed narrative to be hijacked by our enemies, and are now spitting angry over it!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Isn't The Daily Show with [insert name here] fake news? Why are we letting that thing on the air?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Since when is The Daily Show back on the air?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Wait. Did they cancel it? I thought the guy hosting it now just had a HUGE moment where he debated a standard-bearer of conservative thought AND DESTROYED.

  • Brochetta's magic (((pants)))||

    "PizzaGate," a theory that owes its origins not to hoaxsters but to nuts

    Is it really so crazy to think that the Democratic elite are raping children in pizza parlors? I mean, really?

  • R C Dean||

    I've heard worse.

    Honestly, I love conspiracy theories. They are just fun, and a great example of how confirmation bias and drawing meaning from context work.

  • ||

    Gives a new meaning to the term, "deep dish," no? It's practically one of those euphemism thingies I hear so much about these days....

  • colorblindkid||

    I'm still amazed at how little play the Jeff Epstein and his island of underage prostitutes got in the election. I'm thinking it's because both the Clintons and Trump refused to bring it up because they both had the connection.

  • Not a True MJG||

    Didn't some Dem partisans try to connect Epstein and Trump? It seemed like the worst idea in an electoral season of bad ideas.

  • colorblindkid||

    No actual Dem operatives, just BuzzFeed and HuffPo types completely unaware of Bill Clinton's ties to him.

  • SFC B||

    They weren't unaware. They were assuming everyone they share Netflix, HBO Go, and Hulu accounts with to also ignore the connection.

    I don't think it was a bad assumption.

  • Pay up, Palin's Buttplug!||

    Wasn't Alan Dershowitz arrested for it?

  • ||

    Ooooo, those wascally consevatives....

    /walks gingerly in snow with shot gun.

  • esteve7||

    Like with Gamergate; it's amazing how the media all come out with the same story at exactly the same time. Fake News is the new 'Gamers are Dead'

  • Lee Genes||

    About that... I was never completely clear on the whole GamerGate thing until someone sent me a summary of it (excerpted from a reddit post so take it for what it's worth)

    She was an indie game dev who made mediocre-shitty games. In 2014, her ex-boyfriend who she was abusive towards got so pissed at her that he made a huge post basically airing out all of her dirty laundry, including the fact that she cheated on him with 5 other men. These 5 men just so happened to be video game journalists who just so happened to have given her game very positive coverage.

  • Lee Genes||

    This was the crack that opened to gamers a vast rabbit hole of collusion and conspiracy between game devs and game journalists, as well as between game journalists and other game journalists. Game journalists responded to these revelations by basically declaring war on their audience with one voice, saying that gamers are nothing but rotten, no good, misogynist, racist, rapey, angry white neck bearded virgin man-babies. This narrative was pushed by 17 different video game journals in samey articles all published on the same day. This move is what created a coalition between the anti-SJW people and gamers concerned about ethics (who began calling themselves GamerGate), as well as between the video game press and the SJ crowd (who were commonly dubbed and sometimes self identified as GamerGhazi or just Ghazi). GamerGate responded by contacting the advertisers of the video game journals and getting them to withdraw their sponsorship on the basis that they are toxic and bad for business.
  • Lee Genes||

    The rest of the GamerGate movement was basically this, the Ghazis would make inflammatory insults on their audience and their audience would torpedo their advertisers, and eventually by attrition GamerGate slowly forced most games journals to revise their ethics policies.
    In the middle of this, Zoe Quinn along with a few of her friends that you have also probably heard of such as Brianna Wu, and Anita Sarkeesian made claims that they were being harassed by members of GamerGate, ostensibly to aid the narrative of GamerGhazi that gamers were evil misogynists, but I think that they were just trying to enrich themselves as they made some fat stacks off of pity-patreon donations. They never produced any evidence of genuine harassment by GG-ers, but regardless their testimony was used as a sword by the Ghazis, which caused GG-ers to dub Quinn and friends "Literally Who," as most GGers didn't see them as relevant in their argument besides the fact that they were partially involved in what they were outraged over. Regardless, their claims awarded them thousands of sympathy-dollars, a speech in front of the U.N., even a hilariously bad Law and Order SVU episode inspired by their alleged struggle.
  • Lee Genes||

    She being Zoe Quinn

  • Hamster of Doom||

    This is what happens when you give your daughter a stripper name, folks.

  • J. Carl Henderson||

    Zoe Quinn was not the name her parents gave her; Her birth name was Chelsea Van Valkenburg. Neither really sounds like a "stripper name" to me.

  • Long Woodchippers||

    Or a good porn name like Kylie Quinn

  • colorblindkid||

    And that butterfly wing flap led to an internet revolt against SJWs and the rise of trolls and the rise of the alt-right and the rise of Trump and the inevitable nuclear apocalypse and in a million years the squid people believing the humans worshiped a racist deity named Pepe the Frog. All because of one unfaithful ho.

  • R C Dean||

    "For want of a nail . . . "

  • Hamster of Doom||

    That's brilliant. If we had signature lines, wherein we could put ostensibly pithy or amusing short blurbs, I would use that. For a week, at least.

    Actually, bugger edit buttons, signatures sound like far more fun.

  • DesigNate||

    Cathy Young did a fantastic couple of articles on it as it was really blowing up (or right there after).

  • ||

    In the big media case, it's not so much fake news but the stuff that never makes it to air or print.

    "Fake news" is spin, or shoddy reporting - either not fact checking your source or jumping to conclusions that fit their narrative. And it happens again and again, but yet, like moths to a flame, we keep returning to mainstream reporting because they have the mouthpiece.

    See: Rathergate for an example of this.

  • esteve7||

    It's all projection with progs, it's really all they have.

    The Daily Show is fake news, and they constantly use that as a crutch for their smear tactics and biased coverage. But since it's leftist Propaganda and "Funny", it gets a pass in the media, even though it has more influence then CNN and all those other crappy news sites.

    How about you describe the Wage Gap as "Fake News", or Michael Brown / Hands Up Don't Shoot as "Fake News". Oh, that's right, it suits the *Narrative*, so it's fine

  • Longtobefree||

    Fake news does not cite multiple credible named sources.
    Fake news does not report on what when who where and why.
    Fake news looks a lot like what is on broadcast and cable and the internet and dead tree publications.
    The whole world has become The Inquirer.

  • The Grinch||

    Anything that works for them to be able to avoid the discussion of the truth of why the Dems lost an election they should've won.

    It's not that they nominated a shrill, over-the-hill corruptocrat, it was the damn treacherous Russians. Who will they have to blame for the next election when they get their asses handed to them, the Rosicrucians? The scheming Amish? If they fail to address the fundamental problems in their party because of the fake news red herring they are going to be destroyed at the ballot box for quite some time to come.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Headline from 2020:

    Trump wins re-election due to key wins in Ohio, Pennsylvania. Unprecedented turnout from Amish in rural counties.

  • Long Woodchippers||

    Most of the Amish live in Lancaster County, which is one of the largest in the state with a population of over a half million, despite the biggest town having only 59k people.

  • ||

    Conservatives played a part in this, throwing the words "fake news" at mainstream-media stories that might be better described as "bad reporting" (or, sometimes, as "perfectly fine reporting that uncovered facts I don't like"). But they didn't invent the practice. They took what the center-left was doing and bent it to their own ends.

    Even this makes it seem more like a policy decision rather than a reluctant "Why not?" after trying to stay out of the shitstorm while SJWs eat each other. You don't attract women and minority voters with a hard line 'balance the budget' stance. Just ask Gary Johnson.

  • Lee Genes||

    Who wants to puke?

    *you've been warned*

  • The Fusionist||

    All those cute farewell songs for Obama...here's another one.

  • ||

    No DU for me. I have a note from my doctor about those sort of things.

  • R C Dean||

    No DU for me. I have a note from my doctor about those sort of things.

    I can see why. If your schadenboner has been out of control these past weeks, staying away from DU is definitely a good idea.

  • The Grinch||

    I was OK until I scanned the comments.
    Bleeeagh!

  • Rich||

    Calm down, G. They're fake comments.

  • SugarFree||

    President as personality cult. It hasn't been this bad since Reagan, and the deification of Reagan was at least after he got out of office.

  • ant1sthenes||

    People also felt he played a key role in ending the Cold War, which in addition to provoking a lot of hot war, left a nuclear Sword of Damocles over the head of an entire generation. That's the sort of thing that gets you political sainthood. The most significant thing Barack Obama accomplished was getting elected.

  • Long Woodchippers||

    That sword had been there since at least the Cuban Missile Crisis

  • Bill Dalasio||

    "And when you're an Obama, reporters will let you do anything. You can grab them by the pu**y. They'll let you. You can do anything." - what he understands but has the good sense not to say

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Gentle ghosts walk among your favorite letters
    offering respite from the all-consuming tedium
    of empty storms no longer casting lonely pianos
    slow-motion sunsets and moments fragile

  • The Fusionist||

    Wow, it's as if Marilyn Manson suddenly started reciting Emily Dickinson poems.

  • The Fusionist||

    I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
    The Stillness in the Room
    Was like the Stillness in the Air –
    Between the Heaves of Storm –

    The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
    Like a million comets
    Launched from a single space-fart
    Into the &*^% cosmos

  • The Fusionist||

    A Bird came down the Walk—
    He did not know I saw—
    He bit an Angleworm in halves
    And ate the fellow, raw,

    And then he drank a Dew
    From a convenient Grass—
    And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
    To let a Beetle pass—

    He had gigantic nutsack
    Like a *&^^ leather pouch
    An all-devouring monster
    With green glowing eyes and huge *&^% fangs

  • ant1sthenes||

    A year ago, "fake news" had a pretty specific meaning: clickbait sites that publish hoaxes. The hoax of the hour might be political, but it could as easily be a fraudulent report of a celebrity death or a weird-news story that's too good to be true.

    "Like the ones right underneath this article."

  • Rich||

    "You won't believe the premise of Number 5!"

  • The Grinch||

    I could deal with them if some of them weren't just fucking rank. Parasitical infections, toenail fungus, a guy with half his skull missing-I don't want to see that shit.

  • R C Dean||

    Parasitical infections, toenail fungus, a guy with half his skull missing

    Sounds like the next Hat & Hair adventure.

  • ||

    Only if the parasitical infection somehow causes toenail fungus on the penis of the character who's skull fucking the guy with plenty of skull fucks to accept.

  • kbolino||

    AdBlock rules:

    ##[class^="trc_"]
    ##[id^="taboola"]

    the first one may be unnecessary

  • The Grinch||

    Hey hey, that got it. I wanted to avoid using it on sites I don't mind helping with ad revenue but with what they're showing me, fuck that shit.

  • kbolino||

    I allow through unobtrusive ads, but Taboola is not one of those. The AdBlock people insist that Taboola is following all the rules, to which I can only say that their rules are shit if they allow Taboola through.

  • The Grinch||

    I'm getting a broad in a bikini next to a Civil War (?) guy with a long healed bullet hole between his eyes. They might balance each other out but still.

  • Microaggressor||

    When the one about Bruce Willis's daughter shows up I don't mind at all.

  • Free Society||

    Yeah she's a real bow legged beauty...

  • mtrueman||

    "Let's Be Clear About Who Drained the Meaning from the Phrase 'Fake News'"

    Heed this; it comes from Jesse, one of Reason's best meaning drainers.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Ewww

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I'd drain the meaning from your swamp, if you know what I mean.

  • kbolino||

    You would know.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Slow news day?

  • Rich||

  • Charles Easterly||

    Rich,

    Observing the empties on the deck... there seemed to have been a sizable number of warning shots.

  • Rich||

    +1 "rock & roll"

  • ||

    Have you ever fired an M2? Just like Pringles except you go through 4-6 cans a minute.

  • ||

    The article said 2-3 warning shots?

    A 3-5 round burst is standard practice for Ma Deuce when firing from the top of a tank turret, but I don't know about naval practices.

  • GILMORE™||

    Sorry... the Washington Post?

    These people?

    im dead serious when i say i don't consider the WaPo any more-seriously as a news-organization than i do Buzzfeed

    And I have yet to hear a compelling argument why i should.

    Frankly, "raw news" is mostly being done by AP or Reuters. Any version of their stories which gets picked up by NYT or WaPo? is going to be 'mostly the same facts' + a heavy dose of partisan bullshit. why bother? They don't add doodly squat from a "Value" POV.

    Forbes noted in their critique of the "electricity grid hack" story=

    ... the Post did not respond to repeated requests for comment regarding how it conducts fact checking for its stories. .... Standard journalistic practice would have required that the Post mention that it attempted to reach either utility even if neither responded. ...The original story noted that there were only two utilities in Vermont and yet the article states that the Post only attempted to contact DHS and does not mention any attempt to contact either of the utilities. ...

    And i bet at least one of the Post's writers went to Columbia Journalism School too.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I think there are two things going on here:

    1) No change in standards, big change in media.

    I doubt the standards and practices have changed much at WaPo or NYT since before the internet; i. e., they were probably just as biased and untruthful then as they are now.

    It's just that post-internet, a million readers can fact check everything on the fly, and, also, there are competing news sources. Back before the internet, most cities had one paper to read and three network news bureaus on radio and TV that shared their resources.

    If what was written in the paper or said on the news was wrong, how would anyone know?

    Nowadays, I just think we know about it when, say, the WaPo is wrong--because we can know they're wrong.

    2) Old generation vs. new.

    Most of us are old enough to remember when objective news was still a thing people strove for.

    I suspect Robby and ENB listen to talk of objectivity like I used to listen to old people talk about walking three miles through the snow to get to school. There are so many different viewpoints, and they're all so obviously biased, and younger journalists think the purpose of journalism is to bias their readership like I think the purpose of a hammer is to drive nails.

  • The Last American Hero||

    I've seen a lot more editorial bleed off into the body of the paper, when it used to be confined more to the op-ed pages. There are a lot of columns in the A and B sections of my local rag that are nothing more than opinion pieces instead of actual news reporting.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Everything can't be gonzo journalism.

  • GILMORE™||

    I think there are two things going on here:

    1) No change in standards, big change in media.
    2) Old generation vs. new.

    No, neither

    the main things happening are =

    1 - "huge drop in revenues"

    2 - inability to figure out how to merge new-media (e.g. blogging) style of coverage which people prefer to read... w legacy 'reporting' of basic facts, which costs money and actually requires due-diligence and people with experiece

    3 - Adjustment to 1&2 by "firing people who know things", and replacing them with "immature hacks"

    I quote Ben Rhodes =

    It is hard for many to absorb the true magnitude of the change in the news business — 40 percent of newspaper-industry professionals have lost their jobs over the past decade... Rhodes singled out a key example to me one day, laced with the brutal contempt that is a hallmark of his private utterances. "All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus," he said. "Now they don't.... The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That's a sea change. They literally know nothing."
  • ||

    My favorite life hack is sous vide cooking. Not that I have anything against sous vide itself. I just love how an inconveniently longer, slower process that uses all kinds of equipment you don't have and would have to buy is a 'hack'. Like its self-perpetuating, get everybody hooked on sous vide and then sell them on this revolution of buying prepared or "fast" food.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Americans' trust and confidence in the mass media 'to report the news fully, accurately and fairly' has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history . . . . down eight percentage points from last year."

    ----Gallup

    "Americans' Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low"

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/195.....w-low.aspx

    September 14, 2016

    I'm sure it's a shock to journalists at The Washington Post that the general public doesn't view them as righteous soldiers for the truth a la Woodward and Bernstein, but didn't the rest of the journalistic world out there already know that the public holds journalists, generally, to be people of ill repute?

    Somewhere south of used car salesmen.

    This election was a referendum on elitism, and journalists are a big part of that elitism. To whatever extent the term "fake news" has been co-opted by people everywhere to describe what they see as biased journalism, I'm sure it's a function of that wider trend.

    I saw two two members of Reason staff do things I thought were unethical just last week. I thought it was shocking because they did things I don't believe Gillespie, Welch, Bailey, Sullum, Walker, Cavanaugh, Doherty, Young, Postrel, et. al. would ever do.

    There is something to the suggestion that the new breed of journalists have both ethical problems and problems with truthiness--and it doesn't surprise me if average people are talking about that when they talk about "fake news".

  • GILMORE™||

    I saw two two members of Reason staff do things I thought were unethical just last week

    What did Dalmia and Chapman do, exactly?

  • Ken Shultz||

    I saw one journalist accuse another of saying something untoward--and then back that up outing/embarrassing him as a pot smoker.

    I saw another one post a video of a mentally handicapped person being tortured and humiliated--without any apparent concern for whether that might contribute to the kid's humiliation. Showing that video was so unethical, YouTube finally took it down.

    In my company, those would be serious personnel issues. If I have to explain to those people why that's unethical, I want those kinds of people to be weeded out through the interviewing and referral checking process.

    I don't think, "Well, there's a couple of people I trust to tell me the truth as they see it". I just feel sorry for their friends and family . . . not to mention people like Welch who have taken pains to defend this publication from accusations that it was insensitive on various issues--decades before Welch even worked here.

  • GILMORE™||

    1 - shit talking on twitter;
    2 - every news org linked to that video

    fwiw, i never watched it because i didn't need to. i don't think its a violation of any journalistic ethics to provide people access to things that document major news events. what youtube does/doesn't do as host to that material is irrelevant.

  • Free Society||

    I'm sure it's a shock to journalists at The Washington Post that the general public doesn't view them as righteous soldiers for the truth a la Woodward and Bernstein,

    But I'm sure those WaPo journos know that they aren't to blame for low levels of trust, it's all because of InfoWars and RT.

  • Ken Shultz||

    They think the truth is progressive, I'm sure.

    I saw a post here at Reason during the election. It was at the height of Trump's pussy grabbing scandal mode. Reading that post, if it had been designed to make people hate the media so much that they'd vote for Trump, the author could hardly have done a better job.

    The post was about a porn star who was accusing Trump of having kissed her on the cheek without her permission. By her own admission, this was after she'd accepted an invitation to go with him to his hotel room.

    She was accusing Trump of having degraded her, and Gloria Allred was representing her in a harassment suit against him for the kiss/assault. A quick google showed that this porn star apparently specializes in bukkake and gang bang videos. Like I said, if you wanted to undermine my belief in both the credibility of the accusations against Trump and the credibility of that journalist specifically, the reporter couldn't have done a better job.

    I'm sure that journalist's intentions were good, and I'm sure she thought that made it all okay.

  • commodious just wasting time||

    Speaking of fake news: CBS Radio insinuates that black-on-white torture incident was white-on-black violence.

    The viral video of a beating and knife attack in Chicago suggests the assault had racial overtones. CBS's Dean Reynolds tells us the victim is described as a mentally-challenged teenager.

    In the video he is choked and repeatedly called the n-word. His clothes are slashed and he is terrorized with a knife. His alleged captors repeatedly reference Donald Trump. Police are holding four people in connection with the attack.
  • GILMORE™||


    ERROR
    Sorry but we couldn't find your Clyp

    is there an example of what they're complaining about anywhere? it seems to be memory-holed

  • commodious just wasting time||

  • GILMORE™||

    best i can tell that was just retarded error on CBS part.

    I don't put it past media orgs to *try* to deceive people about stuff like that, but i don't think this is a case of it. it was such a sensational story that the reality was bound to be apparent. i think they just fucked up their own attempt to "avoid" making direct charges and racial attributions.

    they "called him the N word" made me lol tho.

  • Free Society||

    Wow. Is this "bad reporting", Jesse? I call it a lie. God damn it I hate leftists.

  • Free Society||

    Conservatives played a part in this, throwing the words "fake news" at mainstream-media stories that might be better described as "bad reporting"

    Really? I frequent a good number of conservative(ish) news publications and I've rarely if ever heard the term "fake news" bandied about by anyone, allegations of a MSM story being "bullshit" notwithstanding. But that doesn't even matter because you're saying that semantics of everyday conservatives played the part of precursor to the deliberately misleading narrative about "fake news" pedaled by Democratic leadership and their innumerable shills to explain away why they lost.

    The boiled down argument goes like this... all the bad stuff you heard about Democrats is "fake news", lies, and the American people are too fucking stupid to realize that CNN, MSNBC and other outlets in the bubble are the REAL NEWS and what they say about any given issue is gospel truth. So therefore, we lost the election because we're so smart and you're so stupid and you can't be trusted to exercise freedom of speech nor can you be trusted to weigh the speech of others.....so we should shut it down lest you proles slip through our grasp again.

  • commodious just wasting time||

    The avowedly conservative and Republican websites I frequent use it mostly to mock the way it's used by lefties.

  • Patrick Boegel||

    It behooves me to mention that Taboola when of your ad plugins is a clickbaiting nightmare of an ad network. And that I feel the need to click on the garbage just to see how stupid the "articles" are.

  • ||

    Aren't the D's that came up with the 'false but accurate' meme?

    Lying liars lie.

  • rhkennerly||

    So misses the point.

    The secret sauce in Putin's Russian TV and building full of Trolls is a skillful blend of real news and concerns with the fake stuff. That's what makes propaganda so potent. Check out Appendix A of the Intelligence report. There is plenty of talking points both sides could be comfortable with, as well as spin directed at one side or the other.

    The purpose of propaganda is to make it plausible enough to be believed by inserting enough truth that can be checked out. The idea is to turn the populous nation against one another, cause them to believe there is no truth, and that their government and news services cannot be trusted.

    If you'd like to read historical evidence of how this works, I recommend Hannah Arendt's Totalitarianism.

  • p3orion||

    Fake news like... Trump mocking a disabled reporter?

    The video SEEMS damaging, but what is NOT seen in the infamous clips tells a much different story. Trump is seen acting in a way that LOOKS as if he is making light of someone with a palsy, but in fact, in that very same speech, Trump mocked both Ted Cruz and an Army general in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY. It was stupid, but it was not his "I'm disabled" impression; rather, it was his "I'm someone who doesn't like Trump" impression, a so-very-sophisticated imitation of anyone flustered by his brilliance.

    Pathetic? You bet. Immature and unbecoming of someone seeking the presidency? Absolutely. Exactly the sort of thing we've come to expect from Donald Trump? Unfortunately, yes.

    But bad as it was, it was NOT him "mocking a handicapped reporter" (one who, incidentally, does NOT have the sort of twitch or palsy seen in Trump's supposed "impression" of him.)

    Meryl Streep is likely (like so many in Hollywood) quite politically ignorant, so her perhaps mindless parroting of something "everyone" knows to be "true" can be ignored. However, the reporters who covered Trump's full speech KNEW that his embarrassing behavior, while infantile, was not an "imitation" of a handicapped person. Catching him publicly acting like an ass would have been plenty. That they knowingly chose to overreach, and dishonestly spin the episode as more than it was, is a good example of why so many Americans ignored their counsel and voted for Trump.

  • geo||

    Fake news? I thought the proper term was Yellow Journalism, and since the practice came to be named that in the 1890's as a result of competition between Pulitzer and Hearst newspapers, I just always assumed nothing had changed. Hearst still publishes my local paper, and it is still rife with fake news. I have even caught NPR using Democratic party press releases that were entirely non-factual as "news." When I proved to them that they were factually wrong, they sort of shrugged. News is fake. Get over it. The only thing that disturbs the left is that they just realized that the masses have caught on and are not under their control.

    And who's Meryl Streep? Why does anyone care what an actor says? They are actors. Does being able to remember your lines and show expression mean you have some insight into life, or just that you couldn't get into law school and hated waiting tables. That's why I tip well, to prevent future Meryl Streeps from making bad movies.

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