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article imageOp-Ed: Fake news — expect the expected, and lawsuits

By Paul Wallis     Oct 31, 2016 in Politics
Washington - The fake news epidemic promoted by the nauseatingly sleazy 2016 American presidential election has produced more fake news than most wars and the financial markets combined. There’s another side to this trash talk, though.
The plague of fake news on Facebook, (no, it’s not really called Fakebook) and on the predictable pseudo-news media is new-ish, but it’s not news. It’s not even real information; it’s fiction, presented as news to the gullible and those who like the look of their own by-lines. This troll production line has been around since at least 2008.
Most of the fake news is based on actual disinformation, reporting non-existent stories. The usual target is Clinton. The strangest I’ve seen was Hillary Clinton giving birth to an alien on live TV while drinking a beer. Clinton has also been accused of killing her own staff, etc.
In other less brain dead countries, accusing someone of a crime is actionable in court. Trump, in fact, has been saying he’ll sue many of his detractors, their publishers, etc. Clinton could file thousands of defamation cases on the same basis.
Meanwhile the comatose “news media” is still in a state of total irrelevance and apathy. What a surprise.
Apparently in the Uncited States, (looks so much more accurate than “United States”, doesn’t it?) however, it’s now normal practice. What used to be a basic expectation of factual information is no longer required, it seems.
News is now for aesthetic purposes only. Or to put it another way, what’s news depends who you’re grovelling to at any given moment, not facts. Another view is that news is whatever you can get away with. If your audience is illiterate, so much the better. You can claim anything about anything, and expect some fool to believe it. If you’re in a real Alt Right media organization, you better believe it.
It says a lot about how you become a member of an Alt Right media organization, too. Who’s more insane – the nutcase paying you to write garbage, or the idiot writing it, and not wondering why they’re getting paid to write it?
Down the track, however, all this crap will be on your professional record. Go for a job as a journalist somewhere, and it’ll be part of your resume, whether you like it or not.
For example:
Job interviewer: “Oh, you wrote that bit about Clinton being Godzilla’s love child?”
Interviewee: “Yeah. Damn foreigners taking our jobs.”
Job interviewer: “You do know how to use that chair, don’t you?”
Interviewee: “Yeah. Smash socialist heads with it.”
Job interviewer: “Would you like to buy some cyanide? For your own personal use, of course.”
Interviewee: “Is it conservative cyanide?”
Job interviewer: “Yes.”
Interviewee: “OK. Hmmm…. Tasty! Gimme 12 tons, in case I run out.”
Job interviewer: “Excellent. Now if you’d just sign this, to take personal liability for everything this company has ever published… Which you’d have to do anyway, because we’re sure as hell not going to spend a cent to defend you…Great!”
(…Thud. Sound of dragging, some snickering.)
Job interviewer: “OK, we now have our liabilities covered. Next interviewee, please.”
Careful what you wish for, trolls. You know who’s going to take the rap.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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