Why you should care
Because the first few weeks of the Trump presidency have some liberals seeing orange.
Sean Braswell’s satire series Augmented Reality embellishes news and current events, giving reality a more interesting look and feel.
Fake news. It’s all one reads, or reads about, these days — even in the real news, some of which the White House calls fake, just before calling the fake news real. When it comes to fake news, some see a partisan divide. According to one real 2016 study by BuzzFeed — a real news outlet that only sounds fake — three main conservative Facebook pages were roughly twice as likely as three leading liberal Facebook pages to publish fake news stories.
Still, if you thought American conservatives had a monopoly on being fooled by propaganda, you’re wrong. With most of the liberal world operating at Threat Level Orange during the first three weeks of the Donald J. Trump presidency, fake news propagators are having a field day with overly anxious progressives. Even the tech industry is taking notice. This week, Apple CEO Tim Cook argued that fake news was a “big problem” and that augmented reality is the future (thanks for the plug, Tim!).
Fake news propagators are having a field day with overly anxious progressives.
But CNN news updates are hardly the only fake news lighting up liberal Facebook feeds these days. You won’t believe some of the unbelievable stories being believed by many who thought they would never believe the unbelievable.
It all started, of course, with the shock of the 11/9 election result, when the twin pillars of data-based polling and rational argument came crashing down over shell-shocked blue America. Many desperately searched for explanations amid the rubble and were only too happy to click on “9 Ways Red State Voters’ Brains Are Different Than Ours,” a story by Mashworthy that cited dubious scientific research on missing “reality genes” alongside several “thinking face” emojis. Other readers took comfort in the headline “Recent Study Suggests That 30,000 Wisconsin Voters Under the Influence of Rotten Cheese,” a story that received 145,000 reactions on Facebook before it was revealed to be the handiwork of the Minnesota dairy industry.
Trump’s inauguration brought a new wave of fake news targeted at liberals who were starting to realize that an alternative reality might be preferable to the current one. As White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was proclaiming Trump’s inauguration crowd to be the largest in history, National Daily Report was tweeting out empty bleacher seat photos alongside the headline “Actual Trump Inauguration Crowd, According to Experts, Closer to 548,” an item that received more retweets (900,000) than the actual crowd of around 800,000.
The wave of executive orders accompanying Trump’s first days in office left punch-drunk liberals willing to believe Trump had signed orders doing just about anything. RealNewsWire’s report “Latest Member of National Security Counsel: Scott Baio” received 512,000 engagements on Facebook and 181,000 jokes about the hazards of putting “Charles in Charge” before it was taken down. Some of Trump’s more controversial cabinet picks were also relentlessly vetted by some fake news accounts, including BigTruthNews exclusives like “Betsy DeVos Once Stole My First Grader’s Lunch” and “Beach Photos Reveal the Confederate Flag Tattoo Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions III Doesn’t Want You to See.”
Some fake news stories prompted reactions that were not confined to social media. In the wake of the president slamming Nordstrom for dropping his daughter Ivanka’s line of clothing and accessories, Naked Democracy’s story “L.L. Bean Introduces New Stormtrooper Jackboot” resulted in 40,000 protesters swarming the company’s Freeport, Maine, headquarters with overly clever signs like “L.L. Has Bean.” This week, with Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu arriving, an article with the byline Steve Bunion called “Donald Counsels Bibi: Make Palestinians Pay for New Settlements” also led to massive outrage for followers of Progressive Panda’s Facebook feed.
The flood of unbelievable news stories just keeps coming too. Here are a few of the more jaw-dropping ones from just one popular “fake news” source, the truly gifted news conjurers at The Washington Post, who have turned making the president look like some kind of narcissistic ass-clown into a cottage industry:
And yesterday, The Washington Post launched its boldest effort yet. “Flynn Quits Amid Furor Over Russia Ties,” the Post’s front-page headline read, adding the zinger of a sub-headline: “National security adviser says he inadvertently gave Pence, others ‘incomplete information.’ ”
Wow. Can you imagine if any of this were true?