Our current President is changing the game for “fake news” and credible news outlets have become a target. A little less than a month ago, although it seems like a lifetime ago with how much has been happening within his administration already, he called out CNN and BuzzFeed (what an interesting combination there…) for publishing a dossier from a source that claimed to be an ex-British Intelligence Agent. This dossier, which is a collection of documents, contained very sensitive information on Mr. Trump. Having read the dossier, I can confirm it sounds more like an episode of House of Cards than real life. I’ll go ahead and summarize the gist of what it say on Trump. Several years back, Trump went to Russia and insisted on staying in the exact same hotel room that Barack Obama and Michelle Obama had stayed in. Then he, allegedly, hired three prostitutes and told them to urinate on the bed which the Obama’s had slept. This was well into Trump’s Birther movement and his hatred for Obama was at its peak. I am grateful to BuzzFeed and to CNN for publishing the dossier because it allowed me to read it myself, however disturbing it was, rather than getting it second hand from a news source. Although, both sources made it very clear that the information contained in the dossier WAS NOT confirmed and published for the benefit of the public (so they could read it and make up their own minds). The real terrifying (but totally logical and seemingly a good explanation for a lot of strange occurrences) bit of information is that the Russian government taped Trump’s actions in that hotel room and are now blackmailing him. Perhaps this could explain why Trump has repeatedly praised Vladimir Putin, who is nothing short of a heinous war criminal. Immediately after its release, Trump discredited it and categorized CNN and BuzzFeed as “fake news” sources.
You can read BuzzFeed’s article and the entire dossier here:
Publishing this dossier and knowing it is unverified could possibly be considered fake news or fall under freedom of the press. I would like to believe it’s the latter, due to both sources admitting that the information contained was not confirmed. If this is fake news, I believe it falls under an entirely new category of fake. Unlike most stupid fake news like celebrity deaths or Obama removing the Pledge of Allegiance from schools, this source is contains a 35-page document with solid, concrete information that was taken seriously enough to circulate amongst Congressmen and have Obama briefed on it (as it was released before Trump took office). I don’t think any old fake news source would get that much attention if it weren’t at least partially true.
I also want to touch on another bit of information on this subject of fake news and satire. In one of the readings for this week, “Truthiness and Consequences in Parodic News,” Day discusses how satirical shows like Saturday Night Live normally make fun of the politician but rarely take on the politicians policies on the same level. I can surely see this as the case when Will Ferrel was doing impressions of George W. Bush. They focused on satirizing Bush’s *questionable intelligence. However, I see a new rise of satire within SNL as Trump’s administration continues to cause more and more mayhem. Due to his absurd policies, i.e. the wall, I feel as though SNL has molded policy with politician when satirizing Trump. The fact that he’s not a politician and has no experience whatsoever in government work certainly aids their writing as well.
-Mackenzie Veselik, Group C