How To Spot Fake News

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The purveyors of fake news – CNN, ABC, MSNC, the Washington Post, and the New York Times are all prime examples – just don’t get it. All the news all the time needs to be about President Donald J. Trump, and how wonderful he is. If they only did their job, then there would be no need to create “alternate facts.”

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Case in point: When Roseanne Barr made an amazingly racist comment about Valerie Jarett, a close advisor to President Barack Obama, Bob Iger, who heads ABC, issued a strong statement condemning Barr’s slur, and canceled her show.

Rather then also condemning Barr’s words, President Trump tweeted: Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that ‘ABC News does not tolerate comments like those’ made by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC.”

While certainly not condoning what Barr had said about Jarrett, Trump did express outrage about his own treatment by Iger. For him, the more important point was that Iger was not at least equally upset with ABC reporters for the “HORRIBLE” things they had said about President Donald J.Trump.

It’s ironic how bitterly the president complains about the “horrible” things that are said about him, while routinely saying even more horrible things about others. These folks are fully deserving of his insults, while those finding fault with him are lying. Of course, if he were perfect, then any criticism would, by definition, be a lie.

On May 29th the president tweeted: “Happy Memorial Day! Those who died for our great country would be happy and proud at how well our country is doing today. Best economy in decades, lowest unemployment rate for Blacks and Hispanics EVER (& women in 18 years), rebuilding our Military and so much more. Nice!”

Consider the strange juxtaposition of honoring our war dead while praising our well performing economy. Dear fallen soldier: You would be happy to learn that our unemployment rate is very low. You did not die in vain.

No president has ever delivered such a Memorial Day message. But then again, as Trump has pointed out on occasion: With the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln, no president has performed as well as President Donald J. Trump.

It is also highly unlikely that any previous president had gone around the room at a meeting of his cabinet soliciting praise. Unsurprisingly, he received near-unanimous support from the cabinet. Only Secretary of Commerce Wilber Ross, who had evidently slept through much of the meeting, failed to respond.

When Trump ventures out to give campaign speeches in friendly parts of the country, much of those speeches are devoted to memories of his great electoral victory in 2016. Even when he’s ostensibly campaigning for local Republican candidates, he never has a whole lot to say about them.

The classic narcissist interprets the world in terms of himself. In a word, it’s all about me.

The lesson that Bob Iger and his fellow media titans need to learn is very simple. There are just two rules when reporting the news: (1) All the news should be about President Trump. (2) All the news should praise President Trump.

It follows that any news that does conform to these two rules is fake news.

About the Author

Steve Slavin has a PhD in economics from NYU, and taught for over thirty years at Brooklyn College, New York Institute of Technology, and New Jersey’s Union County College. He has written sixteen math and economics books including a widely used introductory economics textbook now in its eleventh edition (McGraw-Hill) and The Great American Economy (Prometheus Books) which was published in last August.

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