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Fake News and the New McCarthyism


Fake News and the New McCarthyism

John Buell

One of the most potent worries about the coming Trump presidency is concern about free speech. Trump’s willingness to tolerate or even encourage violence against nonviolent critics of his agenda and personnel choices is alarming. The Washington Post recently carried a chilling cautionary tale about the fate of a young woman who challenged Trump’s record on women’s issues. Parallels with banana republic dictators tacitly encouraging or at least tolerating paramilitary forces seem not far- fetched.


And sadly, the biggest purveyor of Fake News is the US Government.


Unfortunately Bill Clinton's 1996 telecommunications consolidation legislation has hampered and will continue to hamper the "more robust anti-trust enforcement" AND "diverse media" that Buell calls for.


The Fake News buswah & the New Russophobia are the 'liberal' side of this latest phase of fascism. Certainly intended to stigmatize or even wipe out alternative media, as well as to continue to divide liberals & the left. Also prolly intended to promote the US proxy war against Russia in Syria. Are there even plans for WW3?

Anyway, with each outrageous appointment or twitter from Trump to represent oppression from the Repubs, the Dems beat the drum for more war & oppression under different pretenses.

This is going to be a very bad 8 years.


The 1985 formation of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and subsequent three decades of the Party's addiction to corporate money is as much responsible for Trump winning ojn November 8 as any other factor.


According to a recent PPP poll ( publicpolicypolling(dot)com/main/2016/12/trump-remains-unpopular-voters-prefer-obama-on-scotus-pick.html )

40% of Trump voters insist that he won the national popular vote
29% of Trump voters don't think that California's votes should be allowed to count in the national popular vote
73% of Trump voters think that George Soros is paying protesters against Trump
14% of Trump supporters think Hillary Clinton is connected to a child sex ring run
67% of Trump voters say that unemployment increased during the Obama administration
39% of Trump voters say that the stock market went down during the Obama administration

Given the extent of this ignorance, how exactly is a more diverse media the best answer to fake news?

Instead of getting overly defensive vis-a-vis the WaPo et al., perhaps alternate media sites should work to improve the media literacy of their readers, with the aim of spotting and debunking fake news as well as how to share that literacy with others.


I believe we are already at the tinderbox stage. A tiny spark could set it all off at this point and there seems to be no shortage of people throwing lit matches.


Which is why I don't read the Post.


With Reagan in the 1980s, we saw the era of mass media mergers/consolidations, and the rooting-out of reporters considered to be "left leaning." The greatest influence of Clinton in the 1990s was seen in the rightward pull of the media marketed to liberals, most strikingly evident in the role they have played to split apart those who had traditionally (during similar eras) come together to push back -- the poor and middle class.

Media play the lead role in shaping public perceptions. Their power isn't necessarily in spreading misinformation, but in withholding information that is vitally important while highlighting whatever they decide should be the country's top priorities.


You make a key point here. Liberals and the left have been deeply divided at least since the 1990s. We've seen the work to redefine the "labor left," pitting them against their "brothers and sisters" who get pushed out of the job market.

While liberals have maintained a pep rally for the middle class for the past 20 years, the overall life expectancy of the poor (a good many of whom were once working/middle class), has taken a nosedive.


This is alarming. Our government is working itself up to a massive crackdown on our freedom of speech!