I’ve written a lot about the fake news phenomenon over the past few years. In fact, before the epidemic of fake news stories from the far-right and Macedonian spammers leading up to the election of Donald Trump, I was fighting fake news from the left. Doing that meant I was on the receiving end of a lot of “friendly fire” from liberal trolls who wrote blogs about me, and even went so far as to try to paint my former website as being affiliated with the Tea Party.
The far-right loves their own brand of fake news, as does the easily-manipulated far-left. Websites like Occupy Democrats, Addicting Info, Daily News Bin and Palmer Report regularly crank out stories that are about as faithful to the truth as Trump as been faithful to his wives.
Both sides have the same strategy: find an instance where the mainstream media got something wrong, exaggerate the severity, and then try to convince low-information media consumers that only they have the whole truth. We saw this yesterday when Donald Trump refused to take a question from a CNN reporter, and then pointed out a Breitbart writer instead.
Trump then claimed that Americans who weren’t reporters didn’t care about his tax returns, a statement that was quickly proven as false by Politifact.
Sixty percent of the people polled by Pew said Trump has a responsibility to publicly release his tax returns. The numbers do vary broadly depending on political affiliation, however — 38 percent of Republicans or those leaning Republican agree he has a responsibility, compared to 79 percent of Democrats or those leaning to the left.
There was a lot more polling about this topic before the Nov. 8 election. The way the questions were framed varies from poll to poll, so it’s difficult to compare the figures directly. But generally they illustrate that Americans think Trump’s tax returns are a serious issue. (Source)
It is so bad now that many Trump supporters have denounced Fox as “fake news” because their pundits don’t always say what they want to hear. These are individuals who happily believe stories like Pizzagate, or anything Infowars cooks up to grab maximum web traffic.
If you think I’m going to let the left off the hook on this one, you’re wrong. That’s because many major “alternative news” sites like Bipartisan Report are doing the same thing as Breitbart, The Gateway Pundit, or the myriad of other far-right blogs that are trying to cash in the ignorance of the right.
Either side is so quick to dismiss the other with claims of “fake news” – but here we are now in a post-truth society with Donald Trump about to become the 45th President of the United States. Chthulu help us all.