Many people go through a bitter coming-of-age experience the first time they happen to be close to a major news story, see how it is represented in the mainstream media, and learn never to trust the big news agencies again.
My cherry was popped in 2011 during the Fukushima disaster. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (the other ABC) TV news showed people in Tokyo running to catch bullet trains to escape the radiation. I’d been at the same train station two days previously and caught a bullet train myself. No one had been running. There were plenty of spare seats. There was no panic whatsoever and only a tiny fraction of Tokyo residents fled – mostly foreigners.
ABC, you’re fake news!
During one of the regular Russia-West spats, CNN was reporting that in addition to expelling diplomats, Russia had also closed down the Anglo-American School in Moscow. This seemed rather mean and petty. I checked the website for the school and they had a small banner at the top referring to the CNN story, saying they’d checked with the government and that they were good to open as usual. Other sites got it right.
I referred back to the CNN site a couple of times see if they’d correct the story but they never did. From memory, I don’t think they even removed it, though I can’t find it now.
CNN, you’re fake news! But that’s no news to anyone.
Since living here I’ve seen any number of dirty fibs on Al Jazeera. They said there were troops from a neighboring country being based around this city in order to launch a cross-border raid (never happened), that twenty-odd protesters were shot dead (the actual number was between zero and three, probably zero), and they whined that Australians are all racist because they limit the number of refugees allowed in (not mentioning that the refugee program is one of the biggest in the world per capita, that skilled migration is insanely enormous by any standards, and that studies suggest Australians are among the least racist people in the world).
Al Jazeera, you’re such fake news I kinda understand why the Yanks tend to accidentally-on-purpose bomb you whenever they invade your part of the world.
And then there was that five-minutes-of-hate when Roosh V was trying to do some seminars. It turned into news because The Age was telling us that Return of Kings was, would you believe, a pro-rape website. Their headline was ‘Rape Kings’ (since changed, could have been this story). By this time I was already quite cynical, but really. Had my goodwhite friends and relatives found out that I had written articles for that site I guess they would have disowned me, if not burned me at the stake.
For the record, these are the articles that I wrote.
The Age, you’re fake news!
These incidents highlight just how ubiquitous fake news is. EVERY TIME I have been privy to the actual events of a story, it has been fake. EVERY SINGLE TIME. I can only assume a massive proportion of stories I have no special insight into are also fake.
Depressingly, the main motivation for fake news in the mainstream media seems to be sensationalizing an otherwise dull story. In the case of Al Jazeera, the Qatari government is frequently meddling where it is not wanted and uses its media arm as a major weapon in doing so. Their coverage of the Syria conflict has been a complete load of bollocks. Friends living in Aleppo during the early trouble would see a news story about a bombing in their neighbourhood, look out the window and see that no such bomb had exploded at all.
I wonder if it has always been this bad? Certainly the problem has existed for as long as the media has, and before that I’m sure town criers were full of shit. “Hear ye! Hear ye! Charlemagne payeth a bunch of Russian whores to pisseth upon him!” One of the worst historical cases of fake news was the 1930s story in the New York Times about how everything was super-dooper in the Ukraine and, don’t believe the hype, those peasants have all got plenty to eat. Some dipshit commie journo got a dipshit commie Pulitzer for that one.
I sometimes wonder if it’s even worth following the news any more. If I’m getting one piece of fake news for every two pieces of legit news (and the latter two are absurdly slanted), am I really being informed? It doesn’t seem worth the trouble.
And anyway, do I really care that Turkmenistanis are being oppressed? That Somalilanders are going hungry? That there was a typhoon in China, hyperinflation in Bolivia or a political scandal in Italy? At what point does my interest in global events degenerate into a primitive and valueless thirst for gossip?
Right now I have no TV, extremely limited internet access and no newspapers. That’s fine with me. Maybe once I get back to civilization I’ll stick with blogs and let the rest of the world get stuffed.