Discord goes beyond ‘fake news’

Managing Editor

This letter is in response to the March 12 letter commenting on whether or not the media has a liberal slant.

The term “fake news” was popularized by Mr. Trump in response to stories that don’t match his personal world view. It’s a charge he throws out there to discredit anything he doesn’t like. He does not decide real or fake based on facts or evidence but on whether or not the story matches what he wants to spin. This is dangerous and irresponsible for someone in his position.

Then there are actual fake news stories that are released by disreputable sources. If you don’t like a news item that you read, or if you doubt it’s truth, it would be very easy to research reputable (notice the word reputable) sources to verify the facts. If outlets like the Star Tribune, major TV stations or the ER Star News were often caught telling outright lies for political reasons, they would be called out for it. They know that their reputation relies on reporting facts, not fake news.

The term “fake news” does apply to a lot of websites and organizations that don’t use fact checkers or reporters who have actually gone to journalism school. Do you really think you’re going to get hard hitting news from a blog run by some drop-out living in his parents’ basement? The sad thing is that sometimes even when you have the facts behind you, if one party doesn’t like that set of facts, then they refuse to believe even though they have no facts to back their position. Their “truth” is based on belief, not on facts.

A case in point is climate warming. A vast majority (you can debate the exact percentage but by any reckoning it remains a vast majority) of climatologists agree that climate change is real and that burning fossils fuels greatly contributes to it. But just try to get the Republican party to admit the possibility!

The letter writer bemoans that “elites” are in the position to be able to share their point of view. As if conservatives can’t become actors, professors and journalists? Of course they can and some are. If they had more facts behind them and could convince others likewise then we’d be bemoaning the conservative media rather than the liberal media, right? When the source is using fact checkers and real journalists, the story generally goes where the facts go, right or left, and the chips fall where they may.

The writer goes on to say that the conservative side rarely gets heard. If that is true then how in the world did the presidency, the senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Capitol in our state all become controlled by the right in this last election? Is Fox news silent? Are these fake news websites that purposely put out fake stories in order to help get Trump elected silent? Is the writer actually trying to say that Trump did not get his fair share of coverage? The so-called liberal media talked about nothing but Donald Trump non-stop. I think we can all agree on that. Hardly unfair. I’d say the right is getting heard loud and clear, facts or no. — Cindy Rohde, Zimmerman