Bold stance seems a bit fake: In his latest column, Nicholas Kristof became the third New York Times journalist in recent weeks to deplore the rise in "fake news."
Make no mistake—fake news isn't good. Here's the way Kristof began:
KRISTOF (11/13/16): If you get your news from this newspaper or our rival mainstream news sources, there’s probably a lot you don’t know.Our view? A person can't have sufficient contempt for a high-minded fellow like Kristof.
You may not realize that our Kenyan-born Muslim president was plotting to serve a third term as our illegitimate president, by allowing Hillary Clinton to win and then indicting her; Pope Francis’ endorsement of Donald Trump helped avert the election-rigging.
You perhaps didn’t know that Clinton is a Satan worshiper at the center of “an international child enslavement and sex ring.” Or that Chelsea Clinton isn’t Bill Clinton’s daughter, but a love child of Hillary’s by another man—or that Bill has his own love child with a black prostitute.
Oh, the scoops we miss here at The Times!
None of those items is actually true, of course, but all have been reported by alt-right or fake news websites (the line between them is sometimes blurred). And one takeaway from this astonishing presidential election is that fake news is gaining ground, empowering nuts and undermining our democracy.
For the record, fake news is very bad. We've been complaining about fake news, and the toleration of same, for almost two decades now.
That said, the New York Times has been inventing fake news for many years. It has also been ignoring fake news—averting its eyes from the many fake claims which have been unloaded on the public down through these many long years.
It has long averted its gaze from the purveyors of fake news. Powerful purveyors leave them scared. Lesser figures are too trivial for the great Times to acknowledge.
Earth to Kristof: the fake news about Bill Clinton's love child with the black prostitute has been fake news for decades. (Surely, Kristof knows this.) The Times had always averted its gaze from this sort of blight on the discourse. At various times, the paper was too busy pushing its own fake news, or lionizing sex accusers who had hauled in giant sums by pimping overt "fake news."
It's stunning to see a New York Times scribe complaining about "fake news." That said, Kristof is even prepared to name some big-asped names:
KRISTOF: Facebook has been a powerful platform to disseminate these lies. If people see many articles on their Facebook feed, shared by numerous conservative friends, all indicating that Hillary Clinton is about to be indicted for crimes she committed, they may believe it.Kristof is angry at Breitbart and Bannon—now. In early 2015, Kristof's newspaper formally partnered with the crazy book, Clinton Cash, which the crazy Breitbart site sponsored.
These sites were dubbed “alt-right” because they originally were an alternative to mainstream conservatism. Today they have morphed into the mainstream: After all, Steve Bannon, the head of Breitbart, one of these sites full of misinformation, ran Trump’s campaign.
Cutting and pasting from Breitbart's droppings, the Times published a 4400-word "news report" about the scary uranium deal. The Times report was an absolute joke. It was one of the biggest pieces of "fake news" of the entire campaign.
(Still, it played a major role in the anti-Clinton narrative of the past several years. On MSNBC, Chris Hayes even called it "a bombshell report." Where do they find these kids?)
We think Macbeth may have said it best: "I am in blood stepped in so far that should I wade no more/Returning were as tedious as go o'er."
It seems to us that Kristof's paper is similarly situated with respect to the era's fake news. This may explain why Kristof chooses to power ahead, ignoring the blood which has already been shed.
The New York Times was Trump before Trump. It was alt right before the alt right.
Both actively and passively, the Times has served as Bannon's trailblazer. Like so many others, Kristof is sunk so deep in this history that none of this truth can be told.