Fake News?

Emotion is the death of reason

Sometimes I feel like I could replace all of my articles with “the correct answer is somewhere in the middle.”
If you’ve spent any time reading my writing, you’d find that I usually encourage a measured response. 
With respect to the ‘fake news’ debacle, nothing has changed.

I have to admit, Trump’s actions are distressing when viewed through the lens of history. It’s no secret that past tyrants made the dissolution of the press a top priority of their agenda. After all, it’s much easier to remain in power if you control the flow of information to the electorate.

Just recently, Republican Senator John McCain criticized the President for his stance towards the media, saying “the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press.” Obviously, the President hasn’t called for the removal of the press corps, but it’s worth noting that delegitimization can be just as powerful as destruction.

Again, a measured response. General Michael Flynn, the former National Security Advisor, was raked over the coals by the media for a telephone conversation he had with Sergei I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Yes, you read correctly. A Lieutenant General, former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and now former National Security Advisor to the President was lambasted for a phone call with an ambassador to the United States–an individual whose job it is to communicate with America.

Well he must’ve disclosed sensitive information, right? Maybe a quick reading of the Oath of Allegiance of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army? I mean, it must’ve been something significant, right?

Actually, no. The nature of the phone call concerned Russia’s economic relationship with the United States, namely the implementation and status of current and possible future sanctions.
Wait, so why didn’t the press report on the vast number of non-Russian diplomats General Flynn made contact with? You see, this is the type of thing the President is talking about when he shouts ‘fake news’. In reality, Flynn was fired for misleading the Vice President about the nature of his phone call with Kislyak, not for perpetuating the President’s love-fest with the Russian regime.

Is it fake? Absolutely not. Is it misleading? Without a doubt.

Or how about the reports that Trump’s campaign and his associates were in contact with the Russian government during the campaign in which they likely hacked the DNC? The New York Times reported that intercepted calls between Trump campaign officials and Russian intelligence officials made American intelligence communities wary of collusion between the two groups. Well maybe this is something. 

Oh, wait, hold on—not even three paragraphs into the article, the writers say American officials, “had seen no evidence of such cooperation”. Nevermind the fact that it’s common practice for Presidential campaigns to remain in contact with important foreign governments, there must be a story here.

What about Trump’s business associates? Some of these individuals were caught speaking to Russian intelligence officers. One of them, Paul Manafort, was also the Trump campaign chairman for a short time in the previous year. Could it be that he played a role in the hacking of the DNC? Or general collusion with the Russians?

Presidential puppet and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said this of the incident:
“Several of Mr. Trump’s associates, like Mr. Manafort, have done business in Russia. And it is not unusual for American businessmen to come in contact with foreign intelligence officials, sometimes unwittingly, in countries like Russia and Ukraine, where the spy services are deeply embedded in society.”

Whoops—actually, that was the same New York Times article in the very next line.
Once again, not fake, but misleading.

The problem is when most Americans read a headline like “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence”,, an opinion is already formed. The media has shown an explicit bias against the President thus far. He would be wise to correctly diagnose the problem instead of attacking their legitimacy and gifting them a new story each week through his increasing stockpile of gaffes.

Jonathan Deemer is a sophomore studying biomedical science.