Even if the MSM isn’t lying about the facts, it’s still purveying fake news because its Leftist values permeate everything from story placement to language.
PragerU is back with another of its excellent videos, this time about fake news. In it, Andrew Klavan offers his three-point rule of thumb for identifying the fake news that constantly spills from the mainstream media.
He makes an important point about fake news, which is that it’s not always about fake facts, which only occur some of the time. Instead, the real issue is that all of the time, every single time, the overwhelmingly Progressive atmosphere in which the mainstream media exists leaves reporters unable to avoid serious confirmation bias. This confirmation bias leads them to impose values on the facts, and these values are invariably hostile to conservatives and supportive of Progressives, no matter how badly those Progressives behave.
I agree with everything Klavan says. However, after you’ve watched the video, I’ll add one more thing I think he missed:
What Klavan missed is that there is a type of fake news that the media consistently uses that goes beyond what he identified. Klavan identified two primary tactics: (1) assigning relative values to stories (e.g., front or back page status) and (2) using emotionally colored adjectives (e.g., calling Tea Partiers racists or Occupy people heroes).
In addition to the above tactics, the mainstream media also perverts langauge itself to create out-and-out lies or, to use the modern term of art, fake news. To explain what I mean, lets turn to illegal entry into the country, which is framed (wrongly) as an “immigration” issue. And speaking of framing it as an immigration issue, conservatives, as they always do, have fallen into the Progressive nomenclature trap.
In the old days, when there was a societal consensus that it’s a bad thing for people to sneak into a sovereign country without that country’s permission, those sneaky people were called “illegal aliens,” which was a perfect descriptive term. They were here illegally and, being illegal, they could not be “immigrants.” In a sovereign nation with border control laws, an immigrant is someone whom the government welcomes into the country through its legal process; an alien is a non-citizen who has no right to be in the country.
Progressives, with their push to use newly arrived people, whether here illegally or not, as ballast for permanent Democrat party votes, fully understood the accurate import of the term “illegal alien.” That’s why they started calling those people “illegal immigrants.” Yeah, sure they’re illegal, but they’re still immigrants, just like all the rest of the teaming masses who arrived at Ellis Island legally and gazed up at the Statue of Liberty. (And to anyone wondering, Emma Lazarus’s nice poem at the statue’s base is not the law of the land. It’s just a nice poem that was written with one group especially in mind: those Jews who escaped the pogroms in Poland and Russia and came legally to America.)
By changing the language, Leftists shifted the argument from illegality to immigration. And once having done that, they used two tiers of guilt on Americans. Tier one is that we’re all descended from immigrants in one way or another, unless we’re Native Americans (who also immigrated here, albeit in prehistoric times). Who are we, then, to sneer at the latest crop of immigrants? Tier two is about those native Americans. Because we immigrated here illegally as to them, and stole their land, we have no moral standing to argue about the latest crop of illegal immigrants.
Once Progressives had milked the “immigrant” language shift dry, they attacked the illegality part. For some time now, those former “illegal immigrants” (who actually are “illegal aliens”) are referred to as “undocumented immigrants.” (And again, conservatives too often have blindly accepted this change in language.) With this new phrase, the subliminal message is that these people aren’t actually here illegally. They just forgot to do the paper work. It can happen to anybody.
I’ll add here, as I always do, something that’s important to the next part of my discussion: I am not anti-immigrant. As the child of immigrants, I’m not that hypocritical. I’m also fully aware that America’s vitality stems in significant part from the new blood constantly flowing in and revitalizing stultifying institutions. I’m also not racist. Provided that people newly arrived in America work hard, stay out of trouble with the law, and embrace American values (at least in the metaphorical town square), I couldn’t care less about race or country of origin.
What I am, rather than racist, is “values-ist.” If you come here and attempt to destroy American values, I don’t like you. Again, I don’t care where you’re from, what race you are, or what creed you espouse. I care deeply, though, when you attempt to force Americans to practice your faith, rather than accepting American pluralism. When Muslims take over New York streets, they’re forcing their faith on us. When Muslims successfully insist that stores selling sex appeal hire hijab wearing women, they’re forcing their faith on us. (I hate Abercrombie, but Progressive Supreme Court ruling notwithstanding, I believe it has a right to enforce an image. I would therefore also reject an Orthodox Jewish girl trying to force her way in — although the nice thing about Orthodox Jews is that they don’t do that kind of thing. They understand the correct import of the First Amendment, which is their right to be left alone and not to be deprived of basic civil rights in their dealings with the government.) Values-ist, not racist or homophobic.
The Left doesn’t just lie by reclassifying a whole group of people who, by their daily existence in America, are an offense to law and order. They also lie by mis-describing those who say, as I do, that the issue is not immigration, but illegal immigration.
A perfect example is a recent VICE news report (which is not available online) about conservative dissatisfaction with the progress President Trump has made so far in stopping illegal entry into the country. Of course, the VICE news baby reporter (the program is run like a bad high school program with a big budget) kept referring to “undocumented immigrants,” rather than “illegal aliens” (a term the baby reporter probably does not even know).
What was more insidious was that the same reporter kept calling people who oppose illegal entry into a sovereign country “anti-immigration,” often with the words “hardcore” or “extreme” appended. It is a dangerous example of fake news to mislabel people. Except for a fringe, most conservatives are pro-legal immigration. They also believe that a country that has lost control of its borders is no longer a country. And of course, they believe that the people should speak through their legislators about immigration policy, whether those people speak wisely or not. It’s not for the illegal aliens to decide who comes in.
Incidentally, as an example of the values infusing this fake news story, the reporter was also outraged that ICE no longer discriminates between violent illegal aliens and those who merely break some other laws. It doesn’t seem to occur to the VICE crew that, by breaking into a country illegally, these people are already criminals and should be deported.
Watch the video. It’s a good one.