Figured I’d start there. Lord knows it gets the networks in a bunch. But he just keeps yelling those words. Fake news. At every outcry to things he changes, to every over inquisitive reporter, fake news, he declares. And is he wrong?
Something about that declaration. How it is almost comical in it’s stupidity, like a poorly put together insult, like something a child might say, “oh ya, well you’re fake news”. But then I remember the man it’s coming from, a man who rubbed shoulders with some powerful people through his storied career as a failed property developer. This is a man who might have picked up a few things from the people that really know. It was perhaps beyond the intellectual heights of Trump to understand the full power this tight circle can exercise, but he did get that a few control the media and thus a good portion of the information we receive, world wide. What was well understood is they can manipulate the media, and by extension the mind of the viewer. What is the division of the world into right and left politics if it doesn’t render us all confused.
Fake news. If I think about that I have to think about my news sources. Well I’m in Canada so my options are CBC, CTV, Global. I watch none of them directly. Youtube is my source.
I say that, but it’s not true, I actually do use a CBC app from time to time. Watch a few of their shows. The french networks are very good as well, as my partner has me discovering. CTV is dead to me having been swallowed by the Bell global media conglomerate that has me paying a pricey phone bill. Global, well, I don’t know, I guess they try, but yuck.
Then of coarse youtube. It’s there I watch the clips from American shows. My news stations being the quick list of my feed populated by comedy central, late show with that guy from the Colbert report, Bill Maher, and a few other popular opinion piece makers. Oh last week tonight with the other guy from the Daily Show, he’s good too. So there I form my opinions of the world.
What all these host have in common is they are responding to the news reports of the day. They show, or reference real reports from the popular news stations. What they keep highlighting, week after week, is how each of theses stations have such a strong bias. The foolishness of the media. How the news is covered. How there isn’t really an independent show any longer, that all news is beholden to a corporate thought, and how in America they can divide a nation into two parties. Blue or red, liberal or conservative. Fox news or CNN. Is everything really polar opposites?
Where I identify with millennials, (though I’ve learned recently as an early 80s child I’m actually gen X, (the start and close dates ever moving with the indecision of that generation)); where I do identify with the millennial is they have the right thinking with how to consume. Quickly, without thinking, let the next video auto load and fill my mind. It’s very hard to see it when you are in it, but you are being fed what they want you to think. Junk food, a prescribed diet. Fake news.
All media is towing a party line.
When Donald Trump is pointing at news cameras and calling them fake news he is not having trouble seeing reality, or favouring a more right wing news station; he is doing so deliberately to draw attention to the act of news gathering itself. Both sides, the left and the right do battle on the airwaves, drawing attentions to each others faux pas, growing ever distant from the truth.
Somehow this is a battle we all should fight. Dividing ourselves amongst the leftist elites and the deplorable rights, somehow accepting that is a war worth fighting. That we should have endless arguments about which side you stand on some overwrought government scandal.
Meanwhile, the earth is burning. Resources extraction in the name of economic progress has put us in a perilous state. We face the very real possibility that the children born today will be the last humans alive on earth. We continue to burn, abuse and destroy this planet, knowing the ill effects this is having. Climate change we’ve begun to call it. Before it was the environment. In truth it is our home, and if we do nothing to change our ways, it may not be able to support life in 50 to 60 years. Really, the babies born today could be the last of us.
It’s like a splash of cold water on any tangent thought. It’s like hitting the reset button. Calling into question the rules of the game. What is actually real here, and what is it they want me to think?
Why does the president of the United States, the first one to be rich enough to rub shoulders with the best and brightest and too stupid to keep his mouth shut, why does he keep saying fake news? He saw what we only every really suspect with our news sources, that we are being manipulated into a way of thinking by the coverage they give.
The news is always edited and controlled. Whether it’s by an editor at some august news station or a computer algorithm at a popular website, the decision of what to show, when to show it, etc. etc. (W5) is a catered affair. Oh sure, you can always dig a little deeper. Then you’re the nut on youtube or the loon with a blog and a few readers sharing a couple of ideas. But the vast majority of us are not digging.
I like the youtube feed. Maybe your thing is Facebook. My nicely curated list based on my likes and wishes, feeds me the liberal contrarian opinion. It’s nice because I don’t really have to think too much. Just yell along with the others, or at least until the next video loads.
A blast from the past
It’s sometimes helpful to watch a clip from nine years ago. Back in that day these two were polar opposites. Both were also enormous personalities for the respective networks, drawing large audiences that might not be watching the others content. Steward was seen as the leftist, Bill the right. Comically so, in both directions. Steward as a comedian, Bill with a commitment that bordered on the absurd. Both were revered by the respective audience. Both know how to make good TV. The ratings on this might have been good.
But what’s interesting in this piece is how close they get to dropping the veil. Both to Bills character piece as the right most pig head, and Jon as the bleeding heart liberal intellectual. The repeated jabs at the Fox news directive, the hints that they all have to speak to the party line, the comfortable familiarity they both have with this notion, that there are higher ups who’s messaging they must all follow. It all sort of said and hinted at here.
We’ve only seen the left right divisions grow wider in the news media. There is even less cross pollination of ideas today then there were at the time of this video. We are every more entrenched in our chosen tribes, and unable or unwilling to hear contrary points of view. We are left, therefore weak-kneed and overly accepting. We are right, therefore bullish and demeaning. We are never just one. A group of people faced with a challenging time. Ecologic catastrophe, global health, unrestrained greed that favours the few over the many. We can never approach these problems so long as the media continually draws battlelines between the left and right.
Fake news indeed.