On Sunday, a “fake news” story about a Clinton sex house based in a pizza shop took a serious turn: a man believed the story and fired a shot as he “investigated” the alleged crime. The near-shooting has put liberals in a tizzy over their newest scapegoat for President-elect Donald Trump’s victory: fake news.
This Think Progress blog post spouted crocodile tears with a headline that focused on the possibility of fake news leading to someone actually getting killed, and cited tweets from Trump and other top people surrounding him to criticize Republicans for giving credibility to fake news.
No effort was made in the post to uncover, or inform the reader about, where the “Pizzagate” rumors started. BBC did the work of tracking it back to various “facts” that were collated into a single story on a website nobody’s heard of, before it made the rounds on Reddit and Twitter.
Leftists Turning Real News Fake
For weeks, the left has expressed (sometimes valid) concern about fake news that is taken seriously, all the while ignoring the irony of Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart being more popular among young liberals than is the mainstream press. Their expressed concern falls flat, however, given that it is liberals who have purposely taken real news stories and made them dangerously fake.
Here are 13 examples:
The fake news: Conservatives, Trump etc. are to blame for promoting fake news. The real news: Many fake news stories have been generated by the Left to fool conservatives. Think Progress and other outlets ignore this in their commentary. The harm: People may think conservatives are responsible for the creation of fake news.
The fake news: Michael Flynn, Trump’s pick for National Security Advisor, backed the #Pizzagate theory. Real news: As Mediaite reports, Flynn has participated in other conspiracy theories and/or fake news promotion. The Washington Post did issue a correction to its story claiming this. The harm: This story spread more distrust about the incoming Trump administration.
The fake news: The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) claimed that “In the ten days following the election, there were almost 900 reports of harassment and intimidation from across the nation,” and “that the outbreak of hate stemmed in large part from his [Trump’s] electoral success.” The real news: Many of SPLC’s 867 alleged incidents of intimidation and harassment can’t be proven. The harm: Convincing Americans that the incoming administration is responsible and/or tied to growing boldness among racist and other bigoted groups.
The fake news: Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump because of America’s sexism The real news: There is no evidence of sexism, and there is modest evidence that sexism was not responsible for Clinton’s loss. The harm: Creating discord and distrust among Americans, empowering the violent protests after the election and tying the incoming administration to sexism.
The fake news: Moving on from election-related news, SPLC’s “hate list” decries numerous prominent socially conservative groups as “hate groups.” The real news: Opposing marriage’s redefinition does not make one hateful, or guilty of espousing hatred. The harm: SPLC’s list led an armed man to attack the socially conservative Family Research Council in 2012. Thankfully, nobody was killed when Floyd Corkins opened fire.
The fake news: Michael Brown was surrendering when he was shot by Officer Darren Wilson, thus the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” narrative promoted by Black Lives Matter activists and at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. The real news: The U.S. Department of Justice’s 2015 report proved the narrative to be false, under its first black Attorney General, Eric Holder. Brown was attacking Wilson when he was shot. The harm: Violent protesters are given credibility for their actions, and black Americans may be convinced to further distrust America’s police.
The fake news: The New York Times’ editorial board claimed it was a “fact that many police officers see black men as expendable figures on the urban landscape, not quite human beings.” The real news: As noted by the public policy group Just Facts (disclosure: Just Facts is a client of this reporter), this claim lacks credibility on its face. Specifically: “black people represent 14% of the U.S. population, at least 54% of murder offenders, and roughly 33% of the people killed by police.” The harm: As one of America’s most influential newspapers, The New York Times has now given credibility to violent anti-police activists, as well as increased fear among minorities that police do not see them as human beings.
The fake news: Planned Parenthood is banned by federal law from using federal tax dollars for abortion. The real news: As admitted by Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood can and does use federal dollars for abortions. The harm: Taxpayers are paying for Planned Parenthood’s practices, which include providing over 300,000 abortions per year.
The fake news: Unborn children can’t feel pain at 20 weeks’ gestation, and are not human. The real news: Modern science makes it clear that unborn children can indeed feel pain at 20 weeks’ gestation, and are as human at fertilization as any born person. The harm: Women believe that they are aborting clumps of cells, as opposed to their own children.
The fake news: Various claims about “assault rifles” being used in mass shootings and the use of firearms in self-defense. The real news: There are many reasons people are killed in mass shootings, which make up a fraction of the gun deaths in America. Furthermore, suicides make up almost two-thirds of gun deaths in our country. The harm: Gun control advocates’ false claims about firearms can lead to people not having the legal right to defend themselves.
The fake news: Sarah Palin is in part to blame for the shooting of then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) by Jared Loughner. The real news: Loughner was insane and had an unreasonable hatred of Giffords from a previous incident. The harm: Palin was browbeaten out of the public debate on guns and other issues, and her reputation was unfairly maligned.
The fake news: Influential liberal blogger Markos Moulitsas called conservative Christians the “American Taliban” in his widely praised 2010 book. The real news: The Taliban violently enforces its extremist views of Islam, including through terrorism and not letting women be properly educated. The harm: American Christian conservatives are being compared to terrorists.
The fake news: The Obama administration negotiated the Iran deal only after so-called “moderates” won elections. The real news: An administration official admitted that negotiations began before the elections, and that the elections were a way for the Iran deal to gain credibility. The official also admitted that the media carried water for the administration. The harm: The U.S. has paid enormous sums of money to Iran and lifted some sanctions, yet Iran may still be able to create a nuclear weapon to threaten America, Israel and other nations. (For more from the author of “The Left Condemns ‘Fake News’ People Think Is Real. But What About Real News the Left Makes Fake?” please click HERE)