Why does the left have a de facto monopoly on "real news?"
Among the inescapable slew of political scandals this season in light of the election of Donald Trump, his appointment of Breitbart executive, Steve Bannon, and the emergence of the so-called alt-right, has been the phenomenon of "fake news." In most cases, such a battle would be one that sounds like it should be important to anybody who cares about journalistic integrity and objective truth. After all, there is certainly no deficiency of shameless misinformation and outright lies about any given topic floating around on the internet. This is nothing new and has been around since the beginning of the internet.
While to a degree – and in theory – it is a necessary endeavor to try and better educate the otherwise poorly-informed masses and divert them away from any assertions of truth which lack evidence, as the consequences for taking such assertions as fact have been attestably dangerous (I'm looking at you, anti-vaxxers), one can't help but raise a suspicious eyebrow at what exactly constitutes fake news.
The charges against the so-called fake news sites don't simply stop at the fact they are peddling false information. The self-appointed arbiters of truth, namely, CNN and Facebook, have also been generous enough to broaden the definition of fake news to include not only news that is actually fake, but also networks which are considered to be too clickbait-y, or, in the case of Breitbart, considered fake news simply by virtue of having provocative and mean-spirited content.
If you'll remember Hillary Clinton's address during her election campaign this past year in which she had formally identified the rising prevalence of the alt-right movement, then one can pinpoint the exact moment this newborn collective obsession with "fake news" was born. Specifically naming individual articles from Breitbart and highlighting the supposed bigotry and intolerance therein, Clinton's speech had effectively launched a crusade against what she described as the great new evil of our time; the alt-right and its destructive weapon of fake news.
For many, it is easy to see past the sinister charade. The targeting of fake news is not just some friendly online effort to better inform the public as to the objective facts on the ground surrounding any current event. In actuality, it is drawing out the borders of the playing field, and making socially acceptable the suppression and censorship of dissenting ideas in the public discourse. It is an attempt for the dominant political institution – in this case, the narratives of the progressive left – to open the floodgates for historical revisionism while simultaneously accusing the other side of being guilty of it.
Sure, it is absolutely reasonable for people – readers and subscribers – to demand greater journalistic practice and integrity from outlets like Breitbart, whose tone can at times be quite rude, sneering, and condescending. But when the charges are coming from CNN, the network of Brian Willaims and Connie Chung, Facebook, whose curation of trending news stories has been discovered to be overtly biased, and Hillary Clinton, whose political career of lies has spanned across decades, one can't help but wonder why they get to be judges of what is true and what isn't, and futher, of who is good and who is evil.
Such, ladies and gentlemen, is the future of media and journalism in the age of Trevor Noah.
Header image source: Heavy.com