YEAR(S) IN REVIEW: In the beginning was the end!

MONDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2016

Part 1—These Macedonian teens today:
"In the beginning was the end." We believe T.S. Eliot said that.

(Actually, he only said something like that. He said it in East Coker, one of the Four Quartets, after saying similar things in the preceding quartet, Burnt Norton. For today, let's agree not to quibble. You can fact-check here.)

"In the beginning was the end?" As we review this past crushing year, we're forced to reach a bone-crushing conclusion:

Eliot got it right!

November's election has sent our liberal world reeling. But as we review the press corps behaviors which helped produce this astounding result, it must be said that those behaviors all had deep roots in the past.

For that reason, our "Year in Review" reports this week will cover a set of years. When we pick our Worst Journalist of 2016, for example, we will rule that her worst reports of 2016 actually occurred last year!

When we pick our Worst News Org of 2016, we'll claim that its worst news report of 2016 may have occurred last year!

It goes on from there. When we pick our Most Consequential Journalistic Narrative of 2016, we'll find that it began in 1992. When we pick our Least Authentic Journalistic Cohort, we'll find that their behavior has also stretched back through all those years, even as we in the liberal masses agreed to avert our gaze from their conduct.

Tomorrow, we'll start our hardest-hitting reports. For today, let's just limber up a bit. Let's select the Silliest Scapegoat of the Year(s).

For Silliest Scapegoat of 2016, we're going to name These Macedonian Teens Today, what with the malicious "fake news" you'd think these damn kids invented!

It has to be one of the phoniest moral crusades of the year(s). In the weeks since November's election, the mainstream press corps has suddenly spilled with denunciations of the practice which has been named "fake news."

Make no mistake—"fake news" can be a destructive phenomenon. But just as fake as the fake news itself is the opprobrium which has emerged from the mainstream press concerning this troubling new practice.

The lunacy about Comet Pizza has sent the mainstream press corps over the edge. So have the revolting events in which a bunch of Macedonians teens were found to be inventing phony factual claims for fun and profit.

Just for the record, how widespread is the press corps' outrage about the invention of fake facts? So widespread that NBC News has even come out against it!

These Macedonian teens today! Everyone has agreed to agree that they mounted a massive, and apparently new, challenge to our sacred discourse.

In truth, it has been darkly amusing to watch our journalists stand in line to denounce "fake news"—and to give the impression that the practice is something new. Let's consider that one recent episode which has been described as "fake news." As we do, let's consider a similar example of "fake news" from the ignored and forgotten, disappeared past.

Question 1: Was Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of that pizza restaurant?

Actually no, she wasn't! Widespread claims to the contrary have now been dubbed "fake news."

Moving right along:

Question 2: Did Hillary Clinton and her husband conduct a string of murders in the 1990s, perhaps including the (non-murder) death of Vince Foster?

Actually no, they didn't! But instead of denouncing these disgraceful claims, the press corps turned a blind eye to their purveyors in real time and beyond.

You see, those purveyors of fake news included some powerful, well-known people. We think of Jerry Falwell and Rush Limbaugh first, but we'll name two more purveyors below.

Can you see the similarities between these two episodes? In the more recent episode, a bunch of idiots went on-line to create a vicious, idiotic tale about (imagined) child abuse.

In the earlier episode, a group of major cultural figures created and promulgated a vicious, idiotic tale about a string of (imagined) murders.

Can you see the similarities? Almost anyone could! That said, the newer episode is being denounced as "fake news." The other episode hung around for years—did so right into October of this year, as we'll note below.

Did the practice of "fake news" have its roots in the past? We'd have to say it did! Indeed, the promulgation of crazy claims about Clinton and Clinton has been a part of our news culture ever since Bill Clinton emerged on the national stage in 1992.

Many people believed those crazy, fake claims. Presumably, crazy belief in those crazy fake claims contributed to Clinton's defeat this year.

That said, the press corps has been giving the impression of late that this troubling "fake news" thing is just extremely new. A string of liberals have even jumped up to insist that we should maintain a narrow definition of "fake news," just so no one gets confused or gets the wrong sorts of ideas.

Those liberals are what we'd almost call useful journalists. In fairness, though, let's observe the differences between this year's "fake news" about child sex abuse and all those earlier fake claims about all those Clinton murders.

In what way were these episodes different? The best we can give you is this:

This year's "fake news" about Comet Pizza was spread on the Internet. Because there was no such medium in the 1990s, Jerry Falwell spread his fake claims about those murders by selling a videotape, The Clinton Chronicles.

In a similar vein, Limbaugh spread his insinuation about Vince Foster through the medium called "talk radio." We were actually listening that day!

Can you see how different the fake news of that era was, as compare to the fake news of this year? This year's fake claim was spread on the Net. Those earlier fake claims were pimped through different media.

Can you see how different this year's "fake news" was? We can't see a real difference either! What we do see is the reliably fraudulent behavior of the big stars of the mainstream press, supported by vassals a bit lower down on the career crystal stair.

Let's be clear. This year's fake news about that (imagined) child sex ring needed to be confronted. So, of course, did the earlier fake news about those (imagined) murders.

That said, in the beginning was the end! So much fake news has been spread for so long that this year's version apparently seemed convincing to a lot of gullible people.

Inevitably, that was due, in part, to the press corps' past refusal to challenge, analyze or examine widespread fake claims. How did the upper-end mainstream press continue that practice this year? Consider what the New York Times was doing right through the first week of October.

Of course! As the second Trump-Clinton debate approached, Donald J. Trump was lionizing Bill Clinton's past sex accusers.

Two of the more famous accusers were deeply sunk in the practice of selling the fake news about all those past murders. But as you'll recall, the press corps hadn't yet discovered "fake news" when they engaged in this conduct.

Result? The New York Times ran a front-page report on October 3 of this year rehabilitating these earlier purveyors of fake news. For perhaps the millionth time, Kathleen Willey and Gennifer Flowers were pimped to the public again.

Thanks to Megan Twohey and unnamed editors, readers weren't told about the ways those famous sex accusers had conspired to sell that earlier, ugly fake news.

Readers weren't allowed to ponder what this repulsive conduct might say about their general credibility, which the Times was now pimping again. If we might borrow from Eliot again, this is the way the world ends within our mainstream press corps.

The claim that Candidate Clinton was running kids out of a pizza point? That repulsive, stupid claim now qualifies as "fake news."

The claim that she murdered all those people? Right up through October 3, that claim apparently didn't! Willey and Flowers were vouched for again. We hate Macedonian teens today. We loved sex accusers back then!

In the beginning was the end! We'll explore this framework all week. For today, we'll offer this warning:

We liberals! The people we accept as our heroes have accepted this crap every step of the way. This November, the wages of their endless conduct helped bring electoral death.

In the beginning was the end? This year's horrible journalism stretches back through many years. To borrow from a Nobel laureate, as these practices took hold, our heroes "just stood there grinning!"

Tomorrow: Worst Journalist of the Year(s)

18 comments:

  1. It is easier to recognize fake news when it concerns something outrageous like child sex rings, but many of the accusations against Clinton were just as fake, if more plausible on their face.

    It takes critical thinking and intellectual curiosity to ferret out the subtle fake stories. Reporters are supposed to do that but they didn't. If they missed the big fake stories, they definitely missed the subtle ones. Even the supposed fact checking sites got things wrong (I would say about 25% of the time). I'm not talking about matters of opinion, but about verifiable facts.

    When it becomes too difficult to figure out who is saying true things, people give up. Then it boils down to who is most appealing on a personal level -- who seems friendly and likeable and who is funny and would be fun to drink with.

    I pretty much confine myself to using candidate policy statements to decide who to vote for. I ignore what they say about each other and what they say in their rallies. I look at their voting records. Maybe what is needed is to educate voters about how to make a choice, not which choice to make. Back to basics might be needed to fix things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which Clinton stories were fake? Emails were deleted after subpoena. The investigation was revisited. She did make the deplorable speech. The last example verified what people who rejected her detest about her and her party, and cost her the election.

      R bombs did her in and if you were paying attention you could see this reaction coming long ago.

      Delete
  2. "Fake news" is defined by the mainstream media as "lies we do not have control over."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Given that the mainstream media can choose to discuss whatever it wants, and certainly can discuss what anyone else says, why does it not have control over those other lies?

      By ignoring those other lies, it permits them to flourish. It can control them by analyzing and discrediting them. When it chooses not to, it is furthering them as much as the original lie teller.

      I do not understand why Somerby doesn't discuss the importance of click bait driven by advertising. That is a bigger change than the simple shift of medium that he does talk about. These lies are a phenomenon of capitalist money-making just as much as a political weapon. Lies are told about celebrities when it is not election season. Lies are told about talking cats and ways to live longer and how to become wealthy. The internet is clogged with garbage.

      Delete
    2. A very useful definition.

      Delete
  3. The difference between fake news on talk radio (or videos sold on TV) and fake news spread on social media is the speed and geographical areas which it can be spread. To me, THAT is what is new and disturbing.

    Does Somerby not see that the instantaneous nature of the Internet (not to mention the international implications of foreign interlopers) makes the threat of fake news more urgent than in the '90's when you had to actively listen to talk radio or watch cable news to hear these crackpot claims?

    To me, that is what makes these fake stories more punishing than ever.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Many conservatives get their news from sources other than mainstream media because, the media sometimes report fake news. Consider the false Bush reserve papers presented by Dan Rather.

    More commonly, the media may ignore real news that doesn't fit their narrative. This practice goes back at least to the Lewinsky scandal. Newsweek had the story, but chose to suppress it, whereupon the Drudge Report picked it up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Newsweek had the story, but chose to suppress it" is wrong. They ran it February 2, 1998.

      Delete
    2. One of the biggest "fake news" stories was that because a document was forged, it proved that W *wasn't* drunk and AWOL.

      Delete
    3. AnonymousDecember 19, 2016 at 9:46 PM -- Newsweek hads been given the story back in Oct., 1997. They didn't publish it. Drudge broke the story on Jan. 19, 1998. Newsweek didn't publish until Feb. 2, 1998.

      Delete
  5. "Consider the false Bush reserve papers presented by Dan Rather."

    Rather was correct.

    ReplyDelete
  6. For background, read Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky.

    ReplyDelete
  7. How to get your Ex Boyfriend back after a breakup, I’m extremely happy that me and my ex-boyfriend are living together again.
    I' m Mary from England, My boyfriend of a 4yr just broke up with me and am 30 weeks pregnant.I have cried my self to sleep most of the nights and don’t seem to concentrate during lectures sometimes I stay awake almost all night thinking about him and start to cry all over again.Because of this I end up not having energy for my next day’s classes ,my attendance has dropped and am always in uni and on time. Generally he is a very nice guy ,he ended it because he said we were arguing a lot and not getting along.He is right we’ve been arguing during the pregnancy a lot .After the break up I kept ringing him and telling him I will change.I am in love with this guy and he is the best guy I have ever been with.I’m still hurt and in disbelief when he said he didn’t have any romantic feelings towards me anymore that hurt me faster than a lethal syringe.He texts me now and then mainly to check up on how am doing with the pregnancy,he is supportive with it but it’s not fair on me, him texting me as I just want to grieve the pain and not have any stress due to the pregnancy.i was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a spell for me. 28 hours later, my bf came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my bf are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Unity. If you have any problem contact Dr.Unity now and i guarantee you that he will help you.
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    ReplyDelete
  8. My ex and I were together for 5 years. We lived together and were engaged. We went on a trip with friends and his family and had a nasty fight and broke up. We both moved out of our home and with our parents. We decided to go no contact for a month and 2 weeks in he started dating a girl and took her on a trip to California ( where we’ve gone the last 2 years on my bday) on my birthday weekend! After battling it out thru emails and a few meetings we finally came to see each other all of last week, i love him so much and i was so desperate to have him back coz i new that girl was not the right person for him so i have to save my relationship and reunite with me ex again so i try all i could to bring him back but all to avail i have be in contact with so many spell caster who only too my money and still nothing good work out of it, i ws so confuse and devastated one day trying to search on facebook, i come across a wonderful testimony of a lady on how a spell caster who she contacted also for love spell help her and bring her husband back to her with-in less day 2 days after the spell i was so fill with joy coz this lady meant my day and i regain my hope back so i directly and desperately email http://happyspelltemple.webs.com/ coz i love my ex so much and i want him back all to my self so with-in 5 min,Dr happy email me back with hope and told me that i have found solution in him that i should worried no more so i did all he ask of me and he gave me assured and guarantee that my ex will come back so i believed and was so gifted all to my surprise after the spell my ex call, come to my working beg and apology for his mistake,and he said sorry for the nasty break up that he was inconsiderate of my feelings nt in tend to hurt me. i can testify with the power love spell of Dr happy me and my ex are happily married now thank you Dr i will for ever be grateful to you and keep sharing your testimony if you need help or love spell fine it difficult to get back with your ex, email happylovespell2@gmail.com or call his mobile number on +2348133873774

    ReplyDelete
  9. How to get your Ex Boyfriend back after a breakup, I’m extremely happy that me and my ex-boyfriend are living together again.
    I' m Mary from England, My boyfriend of a 4yr just broke up with me and am 30 weeks pregnant.I have cried my self to sleep most of the nights and don’t seem to concentrate during lectures sometimes I stay awake almost all night thinking about him and start to cry all over again.Because of this I end up not having energy for my next day’s classes ,my attendance has dropped and am always in uni and on time. Generally he is a very nice guy ,he ended it because he said we were arguing a lot and not getting along.He is right we’ve been arguing during the pregnancy a lot .After the break up I kept ringing him and telling him I will change.I am in love with this guy and he is the best guy I have ever been with.I’m still hurt and in disbelief when he said he didn’t have any romantic feelings towards me anymore that hurt me faster than a lethal syringe.He texts me now and then mainly to check up on how am doing with the pregnancy,he is supportive with it but it’s not fair on me, him texting me as I just want to grieve the pain and not have any stress due to the pregnancy.i was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a spell for me. 28 hours later, my bf came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my bf are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Unity. If you have any problem contact Dr.Unity now and i guarantee you that he will help you. Here’s his contact. Email him at: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com ,
    you can also call him or add him on Whats-app: +2348071622464 ,
    His website: http://unityspelltemple.yolasite.com .

    How to get your Ex Boyfriend back after a breakup, I’m extremely happy that me and my ex-boyfriend are living together again.
    I' m Mary from England, My boyfriend of a 4yr just broke up with me and am 30 weeks pregnant.I have cried my self to sleep most of the nights and don’t seem to concentrate during lectures sometimes I stay awake almost all night thinking about him and start to cry all over again.Because of this I end up not having energy for my next day’s classes ,my attendance has dropped and am always in uni and on time. Generally he is a very nice guy ,he ended it because he said we were arguing a lot and not getting along.He is right we’ve been arguing during the pregnancy a lot .After the break up I kept ringing him and telling him I will change.I am in love with this guy and he is the best guy I have ever been with.I’m still hurt and in disbelief when he said he didn’t have any romantic feelings towards me anymore that hurt me faster than a lethal syringe.He texts me now and then mainly to check up on how am doing with the pregnancy,he is supportive with it but it’s not fair on me, him texting me as I just want to grieve the pain and not have any stress due to the pregnancy.i was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a spell for me. 28 hours later, my bf came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my bf are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Unity. If you have any problem contact Dr.Unity now and i guarantee you that he will help you. Here’s his contact. Email him at: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com ,
    you can also call him or add him on Whats-app: +2348071622464 ,
    His website: http://unityspelltemple.yolasite.com .

    ReplyDelete
  10. My ex and I were together for 5 years. We lived together and were engaged. We went on a trip with friends and his family and had a nasty fight and broke up. We both moved out of our home and with our parents. We decided to go no contact for a month and 2 weeks in he started dating a girl and took her on a trip to California ( where we’ve gone the last 2 years on my bday) on my birthday weekend! After battling it out thru emails and a few meetings we finally came to see each other all of last week, i love him so much and i was so desperate to have him back coz i new that girl was not the right person for him so i have to save my relationship and reunite with me ex again so i try all i could to bring him back but all to avail i have be in contact with so many spell caster who only too my money and still nothing good work out of it, i ws so confuse and devastated one day trying to search on facebook, i come across a wonderful testimony of a lady on how a spell caster who she contacted also for love spell help her and bring her husband back to her with-in less day 2 days after the spell i was so fill with joy coz this lady meant my day and i regain my hope back so i directly and desperately email http://happyspelltemple.webs.com/ coz i love my ex so much and i want him back all to my self so with-in 5 min,Dr happy email me back with hope and told me that i have found solution in him that i should worried no more so i did all he ask of me and he gave me assured and guarantee that my ex will come back so i believed and was so gifted all to my surprise after the spell my ex call, come to my working beg and apology for his mistake,and he said sorry for the nasty break up that he was inconsiderate of my feelings nt in tend to hurt me. i can testify with the power love spell of Dr happy me and my ex are happily married now thank you Dr i will for ever be grateful to you and keep sharing your testimony if you need help or love spell fine it difficult to get back with your ex, email happylovespell2@gmail.com or call his mobile number on +2348133873774

    ReplyDelete
  11. After being in relationship with Wilson for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that don't believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I meant a spell caster called Dr Zuma zuk and I email him, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: spiritualherbalisthealing@gmail.com or call him +2349055637784 you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS'

    ReplyDelete
  12. After being in relationship with Wilson for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that don't believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I meant a spell caster called Dr Zuma zuk and I email him, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: spiritualherbalisthealing@gmail.com or call him +2349055637784 you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS'

    ReplyDelete