As if “fake news” wasn’t creating enough negativity and false “facts,” the mainstream media is also using “Warped News” to misinform and mislead. Both of these tactics have become staples of mainstream media reporting as it continues to fuel travel on the Misinformation Superhighway.
Not a new thing
In light of the furor that has recently erupted, it may come as a surprise that “fake news” is nothing new; with respect to the words and actions of an American president, it dates back to the early 1900s.
President Woodrow Wilson once complained about the “fictions” he found, even in reputable newspapers like The New York Times. The difference between now and a century ago is the degree of falsehood and frequency of inaccurate reporting, much of which has been facilitated by electronic media. Political issues are always matters of interpretation and perspective, and media reports typically arrive in public view after having been subjected to some degree of spin.
The spin left
Currently, spin is, ironically, spinning out of control, particularly within mainstream media entities that lean decidedly to the left. Hyper-spin is also found on the right, but with the exception of Fox News, right-leaning news organizations typically fall outside of the mainstream and reach far fewer people than publications like The New York Times and CNN, two once highly respected media organizations that have lost much of their once prized credibility.
President Trump has repeatedly called out The Times and CNN for publishing “fake news.” In fact, as often than not, the coverage provided by these organizations isn’t so much “fake news” as it is “warped news,” wherein a kernel of truth is processed through a cyclonic word processor and emerges twisted almost beyond recognition.
Editorial opinion is often viewed as fake or warped news. It is neither; irrespective of any disclaimer (the views expressed are not, blah, blah, blah) or lack thereof, Opinion pieces and “op-eds” are, as their names imply, opinion. To its credit, even The New York Times (and other left-leaning media outlets) occasionally run opinion pieces that espouse a conservative viewpoint.
Actual news is a far different matter, as mainstream “factual” reports invariably warp to the left. Although the publication of warped news can be a consequence of the honest application of philosophical interpretation to a statement, it tends to be a result of a pointed desire to misrepresent facts.
Leaving out a word
A prime example of warped news is The New York Times coverage of President Trump’s February 24 address at the Conservative Political Action Conference. The Times reported, “His speech also included a promise to throw undocumented immigrants ‘the hell out of the country.’”
Yet, according to the White House transcript, his actual statement was, “As we speak today, immigration officers are finding the gang members, the drug dealers and the criminal aliens, and throwing them the hell out of our country.”
In fact, the word “undocumented” does not appear anywhere in the president’s speech. But there’s a more insidious aspect of warped news. As opposed to “news reports” that present a less than accurate account of a subject, many media organizations misrepresent facts through newspaper headlines or news banners running across a television or computer screen that contain a misrepresentation of the facts.
The “Breaking News” banner appears to be the preferred approach to subliminal news warping as the information it contains doesn’t have to be fake or even warped to achieve its purpose. Examples abound from a variety of media organizations, yet in my experience, CNN wins the “Warpy” award for most warped news most often, largely through the use of “Breaking News” banners.
CNN regularly displays such banners containing news that is anything but breaking. In so doing, it catches the eye of passers-by while also riveting information of questionable accuracy into the consciousness of attentive viewers.
Claiming that a report is “breaking news,” when it is not, imbues it with a false sense of urgency. There is nothing urgent about old news, regardless of whether it’s fake or accurate. But by cloaking it in a banner of urgency, the reporting organization warps the truth by using accurate information to create a false impression.
Don’t believe a word of it
The mainstream media’s use of fake news in combination with warped news all but demands a rewrite of the old canard, “Believe half of what you see and nothing of what you hear” The more appropriate version is, “Believe nothing of what you see, and nothing of what you hear.”
By Dave Emanuel
Reprinted with permission from the Author