Fake News Sure Didn’t Start With Trump

Contrary to the narrative of Donald Trump’s friends and foes alike, the phenomenon of “fake news” long precedes the 2016 presidential election, even if the moniker is of a fairly recent vintage.

To deem an item reported by journalists a piece of “fake news” is not necessarily to say that it is patently false. Of course, fake news does not preclude outright lying on the part of “fake journalists”—those who are motivated not by a desire to inform the public as much as they are driven by political, financial, and/or professional considerations.

What makes a fake journalist fake is his desire to advance his own agenda, or the agenda of the corporation or political party that signs his paychecks.

Yet more often than not, fake news contains some truth. It is precisely this kernel of truth that it contains that makes it as effective as it is.

In other words, fake news derives its identity more by what it veils than by what it unveils.

Take, for example, the topic that more than any other revealed fake news for what it is: the question of race.

Fake journalists, all of them to one degree or other agents and enablers of the Racism-Industrial-Complex (RIC), can be counted upon to express fake outrage whenever there is so much as a suspicion that a white person or a police officer (regardless of the latter’s color) may have mistreated a black individual.

When, however, the racial roles of perpetrator and victim are reversed—regardless of the brutality of the attack—these same moral crusaders are suspiciously silent or else they go out of their way to avoid underscoring the interracial character of the incident.

Some examples from recent history make the point.

In 2013, George Zimmerman, a Democrat and Obama supporter whose Peruvian pedigree on his mother’s side made it obvious to any casual observer that he was Hispanic, was transformed by the New York Times—and thus, by the whole Leftist press—into the first “white-Hispanic” in living memory.

Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, a 17 year-old black male, and the fake news media complex, so as to further its narrative of eternal White Oppression and Black Suffering, needed to exploit Zimmerman’s father’s German background and create for itself a white predator.

NBC News infamously edited the call to the police dispatcher that Zimmerman placed moments before he and Martin had their fatal altercation. Zimmerman was questioned by the dispatcher as to the racial identification of the suspect upon whom this neighborhood watchman had his eye.

“He looks black,” Zimmerman replied.

NBC edited the call to make it sound as if Zimmerman contacted police because Martin was black. It wanted to make it sound as if Zimmerman was on the hunt for blacks to slay.

Initially, fake journalists circulated a photograph of a smiley-faced 12 year-old Trayvon and juxtaposed it with a jailhouse mugshot of Zimmerman (who was 28 at the time). It was long after the media’s narrative cemented that the outdated photo of Martin was replaced by a more current picture of the 6-foot-plus, tattooed, gold-toothed, dope-smoking gangster-wannabe that Trayvon had become by the time he confronted Zimmerman.

And, yes, he confronted Zimmerman.

Zimmerman thought Martin was acting suspiciously. He called the police and was told not to engage Martin. Zimmerman listened. But Martin saw Zimmerman watching him and attacked. It was while the former was bashing his head into the cement that, in self-defense, Zimmerman shot his assailant dead.

In its rush to make the circumstances of this case fit its template, fake journalists omitted critical details that made all of the difference between their preferred narrative and reality.

Consequently, they produced fake news.

Yet the fake news media’s treatment of the Trayvon Martin incident is the same treatment to which it subjects every racially oriented situation that may involve a black victim.

Remember “the Gentle Giant” of Ferguson, Mike Brown? Brown, fake journalists told us, was a modest and humble young black man who was preparing to embark upon his college career when a malicious white cop killed him, “execution-style,” when he was trying to surrender. This Gentle Giant, so went the story, was “unarmed” and had his hands up in the air.

The reality, unsurprisingly, was quite different. As it was eventually disclosed, minutes before Brown’s fatal confrontation with Officer Darren Wilson, “Big Mike” had just robbed a neighborhood convenience store of some cigarillos so he and his friend could make “blunts” to smoke marijuana. After “Big Mike,” as he was called, struggled for Wilson’s gun, the officer fired in self-defense. Brown tried to flee, but then turned to confront the officer. When Brown refused to stop, Wilson shot and killed him. Those details are laid out at length in a grand jury report (PDF) and corroborated in a subsequent report by the U.S. Justice Department (PDF).

Yet to this day, millions of Americans believe Brown said “hands up, don’t shoot” before Wilson killed him. From this Big Lie promoted by the fake news arose another and equally Big Lie that today goes by the name of “Black Lives Matter”—as if to deny this group’s claims and demands we’re tantamount to denying the worth of every black life.

Whenever there is a case of a black criminal or criminal suspect dying in a clash with police, regardless of the racial background of the officers, the fake news media uses it to advance the fiction that blacks are endless victims of “white racism” or “white supremacy.”

In none of these high-profile cases from the last so many years—Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, etc.—has any racial animus toward the blacks in question been shown. The point, though, is that even had animus been established, in failing to provide comparable attention to the astronomical rates of black criminality, as well as to the alarming amount of black-on-nonblack animus, the media supplies fake news in giving the impression that anti-black hostility is at once endemic and existing in a vacuum.

See the point?

This year marks the 10th anniversary of what very well could be among the most horrific crime (or set of crimes) in the criminal annals of our nation. That incident involved five black perpetrators and two innocent white victims, 23-year-old Christopher Newsom and his 21 year-old girlfriend, Channon Christian. Those who are aware of it refer to this gruesome episode as “the Knoxville Horror.”

Do you recall ever having heard of it on any of the major news networks, or having read about it in the New York Times, Washington Post, or any other nationally renown news publication?

In December 2000, a comparably horrific crime, unprecedented for its sheer ruthlessness and brutality, occurred in Wichita, Kansas. It involved two black brothers and five white victims, three men and two women. Such is the grisliness of the details that it is now simply referred to by those who have heard of it as “the Wichita Massacre.”

Again, do you remember hearing about this from Big Media?

The answer to this question speaks for itself and underscores my original thesis: fake news has long preceded the presidency of Donald Trump.


About Jack Kerwick

Jack Kerwick earned his doctorate degree in philosophy from Temple University. His areas of specialization are ethics and political philosophy, with a particular interest in classical conservatism. His work has appeared in both scholarly journals and popular publications, and he recently authored, The American Offensive: Dispatches from the Front. Kerwick has been teaching philosophy for nearly 17 years at a variety of institutions, from Baylor to Temple, Penn State University, the College of New Jersey and elsewhere. His next book, Misguided Guardians: The Conservative Case Against Neoconservatism is pending publication. He is currently an instructor of philosophy at Rowan College at Burlington County.

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9 responses to “Fake News Sure Didn’t Start With Trump”

  1. Accuracy in Media was around before Ronald Regan was president and constantly documented “Fake News”. The only difference is they aren’t even bothering to hide it. Dateline many years ago used rocket engines to ignite a truck to show it was unsafe. Then there was the Bush Texas national guard memo from 1972 with a microsoft word font. But they were often much more subtle.

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  2. Not quite 100 years ago fake news could earn you a pulitzer. IF you told a story that people desperately wanted to believe. ( the best con is when the mark wants to believe )

    It was the New York Slimes. The author was Walter Duranty.

    He conned the world about the success of the collectivization of Ukrainian farms.

    Millions of kulaks were starved. And millions of useful idiots celebrated the succesful conversion of pig sh!t.

  3. There is a difference between the phenomenon of fake news and the critique of fake news. In the past there was some fake news everywhere, but systematic criticism of fake news was usually aimed at popular media (tabloids, yellow Hearst papers, talk radio) by schoolteachers and other social authorities, the implication being that one could always trust the legitimate media. What has changed relatively recently–and Trump deserves much thanks for this, although Newt was a significant forerunner in the 2012 campaign–is that the “mainstream” media are now under the same blistering, disrespectful attack that MSM and their supporters used to aim at tabloids. Totally deserved! As far as the news media are concerned, Trump is the greatest truth-teller ever. And Kerwick’s discussions of Trayvon etc. show the influence of MSM disinformation and why it is important to denounce them whenever possible.

  4. First few pages of Google results from “the Wichita Massacre” includes results from Associated Press, Huffington Post, Reuters, Gawker, CBS News, McClatchy, TownHall.com and the Washington Post. Oh, and a lot of links from Stormfront.

    There’s also this.

    “Between August and December last year, WABC, WNBC, and WCBS overrepresented black people in theft, assault, and murder coverage. On WABC, WNBC, and WCBS, respectively, 82 percent, 73 percent, and 70 percent of all wrongdoers were black. However, data from 2010–2013, shows that black people only account for 55 percent of murders, 49 percent of assaults, and 55 percent of thefts in the city. Out of all murders covered on WABC, which Media Matters assigned an “F” grade, 78 percent were committed by a black person. Similarly, 82 percent and 85 percent of assaults and thefts, respectively, involved black perpetrators. On average, WNYW/FOX5, which received a “B” rating, reported far fewer criminal incidents than other mainstream outlets, but 100 percent of reported thefts were committed by black perpetrators.”


    Plenty of reason to think that news outlets overreport, instead of underreport, black criminality. I guess that makes this piece from Jack Kerwick “fake news.”

    • What is the total coverage/word-count of these reports when compared to the Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown coverage/word-count? What was the difference in the length of time of the coverage between the Knoxville and Wichita incidents and the Martin/Brown incidents? There is a racial disparity in *major* news stories that implicate white-on-black crime. The data you have provided is insufficient to make your case under scrutiny.

  5. “Fake News Sure Didn’t Start With Trump”

    No, it most assuredly did not … “Fake News” and CNN’s version, “Very Fake News” has ALWAYS been part and parcel, i.e. their bread and butter, for several hundred years at the very least, likely since Johan Carolus first started printing his newspaper Relation in 1605.

    Thomas Jefferson in 1807:

    “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of day.”

    “I will add, that the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details are all false.”

  6. Let’s not overlook the mother of all fake news stories, which was Obama’s attempt to blame the Benghazi terrorist attack on YouTube video incensed protesters. This after actual details of the terrorist attack had been reported all over the world.

  7. It started with Cronkite who in cahoots with that Hollywood actress who shall remain nameless, helped us lose the Vietnam war.