Since the 2016 presidential election, we have heard the term “fake news” tossed around many places. From people actually calling out misinformation, to people using it as away to protect their version of reality.
Governments & citizens are unsure how to combat this misleading information. How and who are the deciders of what is real & fake news? At what point does our war on “fake news” fall into the hands of the wrong people?
First lets look at a few headlines from 2016 that went viral and we’re proven wrong:
1) ‘Pope Francis shocks the world, endorses Donald Trump for President’
This story was originally published by a site called WTOE5 News before it was copied by a popular fake news publisher Ending the Fed. By November 8, the story had picked up 960,000 Facebook engagements, according to a Buzzfeed report.
The site has been removed since the 2016 elections. However, when it was operational, it openly admitted to fabricating content and even had a disclaimer on its homepage stating: “most articles on wt0e5news.com are satire or pure fantasy.”
2) ‘Donald Trump sent his own plane to transport 200 stranded marines’
This was published by Americanmilitarynews.com in May and racked up 893,000 engagements, according to Buzzfeed’s data. The article claimed that back in 1991, a bunch of Marines had been left stranded after Operation Desert Storm, and that Donald Trump had found out about it and sent his own plane to collect them.This story can be traced back to Sean Hannity, who is a popular conservative commentator. His site,Hannity.com , still has the article up and says it has been confirmed by Trump’s team. The Washington Post fact-checked Hannity’s article and the real story is slightly different.
3) ‘Ireland is now officially accepting Trump refugees from America’
Nearly a million people read this story on Facebook. Actually the piece did not even mention Ireland, it references Inishturk – a small island off the coast of Ireland which has no say on Irish immigration policy.To add on, that article, which was published by Winning Democrats, referenced how Canada has adopted an open door immigration policy for disgruntled Americans – which it hasn’t. Nonetheless, the story still managed to generate 810,000 roughly engagements.
4)’WikiLeaks confirms Hillary sold weapons to ISIS … Then drops another bombshell’
After being published on August 4, this article was written by The Political Insider after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange made comments about Hillary Clinton during an interview in late July. The article states that Assange contended “Hillary Clinton and her State department were actively arming Islamic jihadists, which includes ISIS…” and generated some 789,000 engagements, according to Buzzfeed data.What Assange actually said, was that a Hillary Clinton-led State Department had approved weapon shipments to Libya during the intervention in 2011, and that those weapons had later ended up in the hands of jihadists.
We live in the digital age, its now the year 2018. Many of these headlines you could punch into google and some quick research. Should our governments ‘punish’ an entire population because a select few don’t understand how to do comprehensive research? Should this be a talk about freedom of speech or taking a look at our education system that lead us here? Since the US elections other countries have also started taking aim at misleading news online. France & Brazil for example have pondered on fighting fake news sites during the elections, but who decides the real from the fake? Lets take a look at what other countries have to say about the situation.
French President Macron said:
The Brazilian FBI released a statement earlier this month saying:
“In the next few days, the Federal Police will begin activities in Brasília [the nation’s capital] by a specially formed group to combat false news during the [upcoming 2018 presidential] election process,” the official police tweet stated. It added: “The measures are intended to identify and punish the authors of ‘fake news’ for or against candidates.”
What happens when the wrong people in power decide real & fake news?
A good example of that in current times would be United States President Donald Trump, who has turned the term ‘fake news’ into a catch phrase of his.
He most recently attacked the media at the World Economic Forum, where he was met with boos from the audience:
But is Donald Trump as honest as he thinks he is? Is his reality distorted from the rest of the worlds? Lets take a look at some false statements Donald Trump has mad.
1) “We have signed more legislation than anybody..”
At a West Palm Beach fire station on Dec. 27, Trump said, “You know, one of the things that people don’t understand — we have signed more legislation than anybody. We broke the record of Harry Truman.”
- According to govtrack.us (a nonpartisan website that collects congressional and other governmental data) Trump actually ranked last in legislation signed among post-World War II presidents in their first calendar year who took office on the regular four-year cycle.
- In a report published on Dec. 21, 2017, govtrack.us wrote that “Trump has sunk to last place with 94 bills signed into law by his 336th day in office (today). That’s eight fewer than President George W. Bush and not even half as many as presidents Bill Clinton (209) and George H.W. Bush (242).”
2) “Black homeownership rate is at a record peak..”
“Look at these guys, ‘Blacks for Trump,’ ” Trump said, quoting their sign, on Dec. 8, 2017. “I love you. I love you. By the way, now that you bring it up, black homeownership just hit the highest level it has ever been in the history of our country. Congratulations.”
He brought up the claim in the company of other boasts about enhanced 401(k) accounts, consumer confidence and job growth since the start 2017. But black home ownership hasn’t hit a new record high. The White House never released a public statement on the presidents comments.
- Census Bureau data says that black homeownership peaked in 2004 at 49.1%. It has fallen almost every year since. The rate is now actually about one-sixth lower than it was at its peak.
- African-Americans are less than two-thirds as likely as non-Hispanic whites to own a home, and the most recent rate for African-Americans, 41.6% in 2016, ranks behind each of the other four major groups; non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, Asian-Americans & also Native Americans.
Thats just a few examples of our current leader trying to tell the Public misinformation, while at the same time echoing “fake news”. This is also coming from a man that doesn’t think climate change is real. Climate Experts in Australia, the United States, Britain and Canada studied over 4,000 summaries of peer-reviewed papers in journals giving a view about climate change since the early 1990s and found that 97% said it was mainly caused by humans.
They also asked authors for their views and found a 97% conviction from replies covering 2,000 papers. The data is available at www.skepticalscience.com .
These is no other country in the world with its leader arguing against science backed claims that climate change is real. But what happens when they push lies that put more people in immediate danger to push a political agenda?
False flags, Americas push for war:
1) Gulf of Tonkin Incident
Lets start off with one of the key false flags in American history, and that is whats known most commonly as the Gulf of Tonkin incident. The event that lead the US to fully engage in the Vietnam War on August 2nd, 1964.It was originally claimed by the National Security Agency that a Second Gulf of Tonkin incident occurred on August 4, 1964, as another sea battle, but instead evidence was found of “Tonkin ghosts”. Which are false radar images and not actual North Vietnamese torpedo boats.
In the 2003 documentary titled The Fog of War, the former United States Secretary of DefenseRobert S. McNamara admitted that the August 2 USS Maddox attack happened with no Defense Department response, but the August 4 Gulf of Tonkin attack never happened.
The outcome of these two incidents was the passage by Congress of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted President Lyndon B. Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by “communist aggression”. The resolution served as Johnson’s legal justification for deploying U.S. conventional forces and the commencement of open warfare against North Vietnam.
2) Nayirah Testimony
On October 10, 1990 a 15 year-old girl known only as Nayirah testified before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus about the horrors that Iraqi troops were inflicting upon the people of Kuwait. Her testimony that hundreds of babies had been taken out of their incubators and left to die on hospital floors was repeated as fact by Amnesty International, the mass media, numerous senators, and President H. W. Bush, tugging at the heartstrings of America and manufacturing support for American action in the Gulf War. It was a lie, Nayirah was in fact the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the US, and her TV-friendly “removing babies from incubators” testimony was false. It never actually happened.
3) United States planned false flag events to start war with the Soviet Union
The United States government once wanted to plan false flag attacks with Soviet aircraft to help justify war with the USSR and/or its allies, newly declassified documents surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy show.
In a three-page memo, members of the National Security Council wrote, “There is a possibility that such aircraft could be used in a deception operation designed to confuse enemy planes in the air, to launch a surprise attack against enemy installations or in a provocation operation in which Soviet aircraft would appear to attack US or friendly installations to provide an excuse for U.S. intervention.”
These stories above are just a few of the examples of the United States government using fear to get people to support its imperialistic ways. If they’re will to change or make up a story to push for war, what makes you think they wouldn’t do it for political gain in office? Imagine if Hitler was around in the 20th century with the internet at his fingertips. He would be able to dictate what is real & fake news, how dangerous could that be right? We live in a world where satire is everywhere, as well as are memes. People just can’t read a headline or meme and assume that it’s true.
They have to go take .5 seconds to go on goggle and do some research. At the end of the day we can’t support state censorship and risk freedom of the press, just because a handful of babyboomers & Gen X’s can’t do comprehensive research. The question we should be asking is, why do they want to control what we see and believe on the internet?