erik lundegaard


Wednesday May 01, 2024

Reminder: The Man Who Cries Fake News is the Man Who Creates Fake News

“I guess we knew a lot of this, but it's jarring to hear it directly from a witness—that through all of these allegations Donald Trump has made about fake news, and about the media and lying and everything else, there was a whole system he had in place for literally the planting of fake news and the killing or the deep-sixing of correct and true news. I mean, at some point, Pecker testifies on the stand that Michael Cohen would call me and say, 'We would like you to run a negative article on a certain—let's say for argument sake—Ted Cruz. Then he, Michael Cohen, would send me information about Ted Cruz or Ben Carson or Marco Rubio, and that was the basis of our story. And then we would embellish it from there.'

”So I guess there's nothing necessarily unlawful about that. I guess there's a potential seed of a defamation or a libel claim there. But this whole machinery of the creation and dissemination of fake news against the backdrop of Donald Trump making those allegations against the mainstream media, it's a little jarring, isn't it?“

-- Preet Bharara, ”Trump Fined and Weinstein Overturned,“ The Cafe Insider Podcast. 

Completely agree. At the same time, I'm old enough to remember when ”fake news" became news. In the runup to the 2016 election, The New York Times ran several stories about how, particularly on social media sites, misleading information or fake news was being disseminated, and post-election, when we saw the real damage it had done, there was much national hand-wringing over fake news and (Mark Zuckerberg notwithstanding) a brief attempt to come to terms with it. And then Trump took ownership of the phrase. Any story that included negative inferences to him became fake news. He repeated it, over and over, and his acolytes repeated it, over and over, and that became the drumbeat, drowning out any real discussion. And now here we are. And it's a beautiful day.

But I'm glad Preet pulls back like this occasionally for a bigger picture. Not enough commentators do. 

Posted at 09:07 AM on Wednesday May 01, 2024 in category Media