Fake News 101: The Media’s Two Favorite Tricks for Twisting the Truth

Are you sitting down? Good, because I’m about to tell you something that will blow your mind.

Ready, here goes: the news media often twists the truth to promote their own progressive political agenda.

Hard to believe, I know, but it’s true.

I’m being sarcastic, of course, but the press’s credibility problem is no laughing matter. Their partisan rhetoric, thinly disguised as legitimate reportage, has dangerously divided the country to the point that pundits across the political spectrum are openly discussing the possibility of a second Civil War.

It’s little wonder that Trump’s “fake news” sloganeering was so successful; the public’s opinion of the press is abysmal, with nearly 70 percent of Americans claiming their trust in the news media has declined over the past decade.

And rightfully so. For too long America’s Fourth Estate has falsely claimed the mantle of public watchdog while acting as the de facto propaganda wing for the Democratic Party.

They employ a number of tricks for twisting the truth, but they rely heavily on two particular journalistic sleights-of-hand: Gatekeeping, in which they decide which news your receive, and framing, in which they decide how the news you receive is presented.

For the former, consider a Media Research Center analysis that found that over the first two years of his Presidency Donald Trump was covered negatively 90 percent of the time by America’s three major television networks. And all this despite an unprecedented economy and policies the left would normally applaud, such as prison reform and the winding down of foreign wars.

These successes, and many others (such as the defeat of ISIS) were all but hidden from the American public. Just as the media went out of their way to bury Obama’s scandals, they likewise have buried Trump’s achievements.

Of course, this isn’t surprising given the media’s ideological make up. Though estimates of journalism’s liberal tilt vary, they all point to a severe imbalance.

A 2014 study showed that journalists who identified as Democrats outnumbered their Republican counterparts four-to-one, while a 2018 analysis found that nearly 60 percent of financial journalists considered themselves “very liberal” or “somewhat liberal” compared to fewer than the five percent who considered themselves “very conservative” or “somewhat conservative.”

And despite the left’s favorite “Fox News” rebuttal, the flagship conservative cable network’s primetime viewers are roughly one-ninth that of the the three major networks. Add to that Fox’s cable competitors and iconic left-leaning publications such as The New York Times and the Washington Post and it’s hard to ignore just how one-sided the conversation has become.

Such groupthink inevitably leads to the media’s second favorite device for twisting the truth, a phenomenon known as “framing” in which those who craft the stories we read online and see on the news present them in a way that reinforces a particular narrative.

Consider the mainstream media’s attempts to downplay the extremist positions of Democrats on abortion and economics by accusing Republicans of “pouncing” on Democrats’ own words. Be it infanticide or cow farts, it wasn’t the Democrats’ absurd stances that were the issue, but rather the Republicans’ pointing out the absurdity of those stances.

And when Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s repeated anti-Semitic tweets forced the Democrats to pass an “anti-hate” bill, which, by the way, did not call out Omar specifically, the media rallied around the fact that a handful of Republicans refused to vote in favor of the measure. The angle was simple; Republicans are pro-hate. The reality, of course, was that the nay Republicans refused to lend their support to a resolution that conveniently omitted the offender.

My personal favorite, however, is Trump’s “Muslim ban” which, of course, is nothing of the sort. Despite the fact the administration currently restricts travel from a mere five Muslim-majority countries, out of approximately 50 worldwide (and non-Muslim countries North Korea and Venezuela), the media have been all too happy to peddle the lie that the policy is somehow rooted in religion.

But sadly honest reporting would do little to help the Democrats’ cause, and disingenuous framing has become a plague that has decimated the credibility of the press.

We are treated to countless examples every single day, such as an Axios piece titled “Canada has pulled off a brain heist” in which the liberal mouthpiece named a whopping 24 academics (out of an estimated 368,000 science and engineering PhDs) who moved north because of the political environment supposedly enabled by President Trump; an NBC News article proudly proclaiming “Only six immigrants in terrorism database stopped by CBP at southern border from October to March”, which, while maybe true, is about six too many; and a hit job from The Atlantic that hinted that the President was hiding something when he characterized accusations that he worked for Russia as “insulting”—the insinuation being that because he didn’t directly answer an absurd question, the President is obviously Putin’s puppet.

Liberals have always feared people thinking for themselves, and the news business is no exception.

Simply put, we aren’t receiving the truth, but rather what our overlords in establishment media believe the truth should be.

That’s no great revelation, I know. But only by understanding their methods can we hope to dismantle the mainstream media “fake news” apparatus and maybe, just maybe, make our press great again.

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