By Stephen Calandrino, Class of 2020
Ever since the historic election of President Donald Trump in November of 2016, we’ve all heard the term ‘fake news’ tossed around by members of the mainstream media, at least a couple of time a day. I must admit. I was initially skeptical of the impact of fake news and saw it as little more than a phony excuse for why Hillary lost; like Russian espionage, global warming, or Stonewall Jackson’s ghost. Yet now I have seen the light, and see the true danger fake news poses to us all. But I’m not talking about those spam emails claiming Hillary Clinton was operating a pizza parlor made of gingerbread to lure lost children. I am talking about the real source of fake news, the mainstream media itself.
While the mainstream media has a rich history in fake news that began long before the term’s conception, it appears they have given up trying to hide their bias since President Trump. It all began shortly after the election when former co-host of “The View” and self-described “comedian” Rosie O’Donnell began to spread a malicious rumor that Barron Trump, the youngest child of President Trump, had Autism. Rather than backing up this outrageous claim with any real evidence, O’Donnell shared a video which ‘diagnosed’ the youngest Trump by his zoned-out expression and slight fidgeting during President Trump’s 3 A.M. acceptance speech. After initial resistance, O’Donnell was eventually forced to take down the video due to public outrage.
There were also the falsely reported hate crimes against minority groups following the election. The most covered two both involved two young Muslim women, one in Louisiana and another in New York, who both claimed they were harassed and threatened by white men wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ hats for their head coverings. While the media immediately catapulted both stories to the national stage, it didn’t take too long for the police to discover these incidents were complete lies and arrested both women for filing false police reports.
With President Trump’s temporary travel ban on people from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. The media has repeatedly claimed that the executive order singles out Muslims, which indeed would be unconstitutional. However, the executive order covers citizen of the previously mentioned seven countries with no mention of Islam. The media has also made accusations that Trump refused to add other nations to protect his business interests, which was immediately proven false when the administration pointed out that the seven nations Trump named were singled out in former President Obama as “At Risk Nations”.
There are plenty more examples I can name. Sally Yates, golden showers, lifting Russian sanctions, invading Mexico to take out ‘bad hombres’, etcetera. Whether it’s lazy journalism, a malicious attempt to undermine the Trump administration, or anything in between; nothing can justify the media’s abhorrent behavior. It is their job to present us with the facts, not to scare us into believing that their point of view is right. So next time you hear one of your friends panicking about something someone said on CNN or wrote in the New York Times; take a page from our President’s playbook and tell them that they are fake news.
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