Our recent election, so disruptive in its effects on liberal sensibilities, has also disrupted the English Language, not the least of which by creating a wholly new expression: Fake News. The ideas embodied in this new expression must be of some importance, since Hillary Clinton and her supporters are now claiming that she lost the election because of “Fake News”, and that this nefarious entity called “Fake News” threatens our democracy.
Considering the dangers that Fake News obviously presents, I decided to embark on an investigation in an attempt to determine what “Fake News” is, and how it is created. Mindful of a famous philosopher’s admonition to “define your terms”, I thought that my investigation should include arriving at a workable definition of Fake News. Since Webster’s Dictionary is in the business of, well, defining stuff, I thought that it would be a good place to start. Unfortunately, Webster’s does not have a definition of “Fake News”, so we’ll have to create one.
However, Webster’s does provide the following definition of “News”: 1) a report of recent events, or of previously unknown information, 2) a. material reported in a newspaper, or on a newscast, or b. matter that is newsworthy, or 3) a newscast. I was also able to find a definition of “Fake”, which can essentially be defined as false, misleading, or something that is not what it purports to be.
Unfortunately, simply combining the definitions of the two words does not necessarily yield a suitable definition for Fake News, so I decided to use the expression as Hillary Clinton and her supporters have done. In all cases but one above, if you combine the words “Fake” and “News” in light of what someone said and did, you might arrive at a usable definition. However, in each of those cases, if the underlying facts of the report cannot be proven false, then a report based on those facts would not constitute “Fake News”. And, facts that are true are by definition not fake. With this in mind, let’s examine some of the reports that Hillary Clinton and her supporters claim constitute “Fake News”.
Hillary Clinton and her supporters have claimed that the “Basket of Deplorables” comment made by Clinton was Fake News, no doubt since it only was directed at tens of millions of Americans who live in flyover territory, who don’t matter to her anyway. However, she was in fact caught on camera saying that, to the enthusiastic applause of her supporters. No Fake News there.
Questions concerning Clinton’s health were also denounced as Fake News. Of course, she was caught on camera collapsing on September 11, has other well known health problems that have caught the attention of –and were the subject of comment by – numerous physicians, and often looked like an extra from “the Walking Dead”. Since all of these things were in fact true, reports based upon those facts do not qualify as Fake News either.
Then there was the matter of “Servergate”, the news concerning which was repeatedly condemned by Hillary Clinton and her supporters as Fake News. However, an FBI investigation revealed that while Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton set up a private server to which and from which much classified information was sent for years, which server was likely hacked. She also lied about much of this in statements to the public, and legal experts believe that she broke the law. Therefore, since all of that was in fact true, reports based on those facts do not qualify as Fake News either.
Then there was her support for various schemes to combat a climate that is always in a state of change, and the adverse effect that those policies would have had on many of the states she lost in the Midwest, and her support for Obamacare, which even her husband trashed, and her support for open borders and unlimited immigration, which only the radical left supports. With all of these being in fact her positions, reports pointing out her positions on these issues also do not qualify as Fake News.
Since all of the reports above were factually true, it would seem that none of those reports qualify as Fake News under any of the objective definitions of “News”. However, there is a subjective definition of “News”, which when combined with what Hillary Clinton actually did and said yields a potentially usable definition of Fake News. It is based on the definition of “News” as “matter that is newsworthy”. Note that all of the other definitions of “News” are in some way based upon facts that can be objectively verified. If those facts can be objectively verified, then the news reports based on those facts cannot reasonably be called “Fake”. However, the concept of newsworthy is very different. It is not only highly subjective, but based solely upon the subjective opinion of the person deciding whether or not a news story should be run at all.
With that being the case, I believe that we can establish Hillary Clinton’s definition of Fake News: “Those reports, even if based on verifiable facts or opinions based on those facts, which were damaging to her campaign.”
Since the Left Media has eagerly picked up the Fake News narrative and seems intent to run with it, I believe that we can establish their definition of Fake News as well: “Those reports, even if based on verifiable facts or opinions based on those facts, that contradicts the Left Media’s determination of what should and should not be reported.”
It should be clear at this point that Hillary Clinton, the Left Media, and the rest of the political left want to control what should and should not be reported. They want to control your access to information. And, they want to do this, not because they have any commitment to the truth, but because they realize that the alternative would be an informed public. And that terrifies them.