The Left Loves Fake News! (When It’s Indoctrinating A Generation of Liberals)

by Rob Roper

It seems all the news today is about “fake” news. The left is in hysterics over the fantastical idea that “fake” news stories threw the election to Donald Trump, and are pressing the sudden need to toss out the First Amendment and curb freedom of speech and of the press in order to suppress… what exactly? The Enquirer? The Sun? Any conservative website that disagrees with the New York Times? Let us take a guess.

But the real irony here is that it wasn’t very long ago that the Left had nothing but praise for fake news. Indeed, thought it was the greatest thing to happen to the dissemination of information since Guttenberg’s printing press – because “fake” news was indoctrinating a new generation of liberal voters in the form of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, The Onion, et al.

Here’s what the left-leaning Time Magazine had to say about Stewart when he announced he would be leaving The Daily Show:

What his show did with comedy was a kind of journalism nonetheless, using satire and some thorough research of source material to analyze the news and analyze its analysis. Any honest media critic knew that Stewart was doing the job better than the rest of us….. He’s arguably the most influential man in late-night comedy now. (Time, 2/10/15

Hmm. The fake news was doing a better job of reporting the news than the so-called real news. No anxiety expressed that this might be a dangerous trend. No calls to put the kibosh on this sort of thing because it might be influencing voters in a certain way based on information that is fake. Only praise.

Here’s what the left leaning New York Times, self described purveyor of “real” news, said about Stewart as far back as 2007. Note their use of the term “fake” news:

When Americans were asked in a 2007 poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press to name the journalist they most admired, Mr. Stewart, the fake news anchor, came in at No. 4, tied with the real news anchors Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw of NBC, Dan Rather of CBS and Anderson Cooper of CNN. And a study this year from the center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism concluded that ‘The Daily Show’ is clearly impacting American dialogue” and “getting people to think critically about the public square.”

Though given Williams’ and Rather’s documented propensity to make stuff up, perhaps the credibility bar Stewart had to clear here wasn’t all that high.

The Times went on to describe the fake news show as “both the smartest, funniest show on television and a provocative and substantive source of news (emphasis added).” And, not having piled it on thick enough, proclaimed…

And they’ve done so in ways that straight news programs cannot: speaking truth to power in blunt, sometimes profane language, while using satire and playful looniness to ensure that their political analysis never becomes solemn or pretentious. (NYT, 8/17/08)

Wow! Sounds like we need more fake news, not less! Why was this okay for the decade-and-a-half leading up to 2015, and then all of a sudden NOT.

As CNN reported, “Young Americans.”

It’s been repeated so often that it’s now a cliche. But plenty of studies show that many young Americans get their political news not from TV networks or newspapers but from Stewart’s biting satire. In a 2012 survey, the Pew Research Center for People and the Press found that 39% of “The Daily Show’s” regular viewers were between 18 and 29, but the group makes up just 23% of the public as a whole. That is a demographic politicians kill for. And it explains why those running for office — particularly Democrats keen to connect with Stewart’s urban, left-leaning audience. (CNN, 2/11/15)

That same CNN article wondered openly what an election would be like without Stewart’s fake news guiding “the host’s hordes of millennial fans and political junkies through the 2016 election. Well, they found out, didn’t they!

It is indeed a problem that we seem to be raising a generation of college students and recent graduates who can’t differentiate between real news and fake news; who have neither the built-in BS detectors or the curiosity to dig more deeply into the truth of a story. But, in large part we have the Left to thank for this. They have been promulgating the idea that what’s fake, if funny, deserves credibility, and what’s true, if somehow offensive, should be destroyed. These are not good intellectual tools to impart to young minds.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

SHAZZAM December 15, 2016 at 5:30 pm

ahh Benghazi …. film at 11
If you like your health care plan, you can keep it ….
The Iran deal was negotiated with moderate Iranians, not the radical mullahs
Cuba has great health care; murderous dictator Fidel Castro was good
Donald Trump can’t win the White House ….

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