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If it is news, it’s not fake. News is a measurable quantity. The two terms are mutually exclusive, but together not as clever as some seem to think. In fact those who use it the most, use it frequently, are often purveyors of what some call “fake news.”
Actual ‘news’ reports who, what, where, when. Motives, if mentioned at all: most of the time shouldn’t be because that’s highly speculative therefore not ‘objective,’ need to be reported declaring what different sides claim, not one side. What one side, or any side, actual ‘intends,’ or speculation regarding hidden agendas: not news. The most polite term would be “framing.” The more accurate term head us into Goebbels/Pravda territory.
But before we get to that let’s repeat what I have already shown…
“News is a measurable quantity.”
Back when we had more objective news we could measure news that way: how objective is it. Not so much now. What we have now is more a free for all masking itself as news. Even what used to be considered the gold standard: evening news, is at best heavily spiced with speculation and tainted by partisanship.
The least they could do is, “Some speculate that, others…”
How did this start? Well, some partisans might track it back to Cronkite’s commentary on Nam, but that was clearly identified as an editorial. One might argue newscasts should never have editorials, but they don’t prevent objective news from being the rest of the cast. Tracing it back to Vietnam is a hard argument to make. I remember those casts and, as brutal as they were, they were simply the brutality of war and Nam specifically. Today what we have is far closer to “fake” and “not the news:” embedded journalists who see one side who aren’t allowed to broadcast the brutality and, if they did, risk their own safety via pissed off soldiers and commanders with whom they are embedded. Remember when the first reports came out of Iraq ‘somehow’ the reporter’s hotel was targeted by our military?
Investigative Journalism, like what helped bring down Nixon and stop the war, might be the best candidate for this stupid term back then. It was presented like news, and the more ‘journalists’ got into it over the years the more it simply became a weapon of partisans. One certainly can argue the right is actually ‘better’ at it than the left, if your definition of “better” is merely effective and affective. The first makes the most noise. The second actually shifts perceptions and opinions.
But I believe most of this is symptomatic, not the root cause of what they inaccurately call “fake news.” Here’s what might come closest to fitting into the gibberish term “fake news…”
“Between dimensions in a purple hole in space exists Gorbtun and the gorbts who recently had a skwan event.”
As far as we know nothing lives in a black hole. As far as we know there are no purple holes in space. As far as we know there are no gobts, or Gorbtun. Skwan means nothing. Therefore fake: made up with no basis in reality. Problem is, therefore, it’s not ‘news.’
There is no such thing as ‘fake news.’
But as to the real beginning? Even when I was studying Communications/Mass Media in college there were those who claimed there was no such thing as objective journalism. As my professors correctly pointed out objective journalism was a goal, and endeavor, not some perfect nirvana moment… if such ever really exists without it being partially self delusion, illusion. But over the years as anti-objectivism grabbed journalism by the balls and started to squeeze hard, they didn’t just cliche’ throw the baby out with the bathwater. They have been butchering and eating it for the sake of pure partisan pleasure.
Nothing will ever satisfied those who dismiss objective journalism. FOX, MSNBC, Newsmax, Link and many more are opinion based, partisan driven, appealing to a chosen base. What some dare call journalism these days shares more kinship with O’Keefe and Moore than anything remotely like journalism. They damn near feel zero obligation to report what doesn’t fit their chosen narrative, their business model. And that business model is based on making us hate even more, increasing the partisan divide, tear the nation even more asunder.
This is why when you have panels discussing current events they generally come from the same skew. This is why if you do have an opposing view it’s one against many. The opposing view is often represented by someone meek, has trouble defending, and is easily blasted away with supposed ‘logic.’ Aiding the blasting is the sound man who lowers the fader so the opposing view point can’t be heard, interrupting them constantly or the rest ganging up and yelling over that person. It is more like throwing Christians to the wild beast than debate. It sure as hell isn’t discussion.
None of this is ‘news,’ and ‘fake’ the wrong word. The right one is, Monty, what’s behind the only door we have left?
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses, that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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