Much is being made about “fake news,” but the biggest purveyor of fake news in the United States has been President-elect Donald Trump and his Twitter account.
Any discussion about journalistic accountability and accuracy is one well worth having, but while some on the left have spent their time blaming “fake news” for Hillary Clinton’s defeat as they search for answers, and making subjective and unscientific lists ranking news organizations, all of this is hot take noise compared to the deeper issue.
If the American people want to locate the epicenter of the nation’s fake news problem, I suggest they spent ten minutes looking at the Twitter account of President-elect Donald J. Trump.
Trump’s large, or huge as he would say, Twitter account and following has been pushing fake news for years.
It was less than 24 hours ago that Trump invented a fake news story about how he saved a Ford plant in Kentucky from moving to Mexico.
The Ford fake news was one of Trump’s bigger lies, but the President-elect has also lied about The New York Times losing subscribers:
Wow, the @nytimes is losing thousands of subscribers because of their very poor and highly inaccurate coverage of the "Trump phenomena"
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2016
Trump has tweeted fake statistics:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2015
Trump has tweeted conspiracy theories:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2016
If there is an area of current events where people could be misinformed, there is a chance that Trump tweeted about it.
The big problem facing journalists in this country is that the next President Of The United States spreads fake news while jeopardizing the rights of the free press. With the confidence in the media at an all-time low and an incoming president who actively undermines the Fourth Estate, journalists are caught between a rock and a hard place.
The mainstream press failed the American people during the 2016 election.
Passing the blame off on fake news sites or Facebook reeks of an accountability dodge.
The reality that few people are talking about is that the nation’s biggest fake news problem will soon be living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
If America is to make through the Trump years, it will be up to the press to stop enabling Trump’s fake news and instead operate as a free press should and challenge it.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association