“Fake news” has been a hot topic of discussion since before the 2016 election when then-candidate Trump would invoke the phrase when discussing CNN, the NY Times, Washington Post, and other left-leaning news outlets. He said they weren’t treating him fairly and were in the pockets of the DNC and candidate Hillary Clinton. After his election, news reports about him turned even worse, prompting him to invoke the phrase more and more often.
But it wasn’t one-sided. Progressive outlets and social media platforms turned to “fact checkers” to fight what they believed was false reporting coming from the other end of the spectrum. Right-leaning and alt-right publications started pushing conspiracy theories throughout the 2016 campaign and didn’t stop after their guy won the presidency. Pizzagate is often referenced as the pinnacle of alt-right fake news, but it hasn’t stopped there.
With all of this understood, it’s no surprise that many Americans believe this is a new phenomenon. It isn’t. Fake news has been around for as long as news itself. The Nazis may have perfected propaganda, but they weren’t the first or last to use it. In fact, propaganda has been a tool of governments, businesses, and powerful people since the invention of the printing press. Some would say it’s been around for much longer than that.
Today, the internet in general and social media in particular have helped spread fake news. It is no longer controlled by the newspapers, television channels, or government powers spreading disinformation. Average citizens have the power to spread fake news, and that power is being amplified by new technologies such as deepfakes, AI, and bot buzzing. Many people may be participating without even knowing it as they share stories and videos contrived by those who want to spread a particular narrative.
What’s the moral of the story? Trust nothing that you see or hear unless it’s verifiable. How can it be verified if powerful forces like mainstream media and various governments are involved? Sometimes, it can’t be verified. Thankfully, we’ve been blessed with the most powerful fact checker possible: The human brain. It’s the tool so few seem to use. A perfect example of it was a story we broke the other day. You probably heard about it through later sources, but we were the first to report ABC News used modified footage from a 2016 event in Kentucky (though most attribute it to a later 2017 video) and pretended it was footage of the carnage in Syria by Turkish forces.
Those who saw the multiple reports on ABC News didn’t question it at all, but one eagle-eyed video journalist did and found the source material. Had he not done so, millions of Americans would still believe the incredible footage they saw was the slaughter of Syrians. Knowing this, it’s easy to see from the edited video that it didn’t seem like an offensive. All of the firepower was being concentrated on a seemingly benign location. Our brains weren’t in questioning mode. Most of us took it on face value from the report.
We need to think more critically. We need to view the news with an understanding that any of it can be fake. Most won’t, but we don’t have to be like most. We can be discerning if we understand the truth as well as what’s at stake.
Kudos to Truthstream Media for tackling this important issue. If more Americans are willing to see through the lies and use our brains to do more than just absorb what the media tells us, we’ll have a better chance of discerning the truth.
We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.
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