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By Ken Blackwell, The Stream, May 31, 2019
President Trump’s enemies provided yet another disturbing glimpse of the bona fide fake news factory into which the mainstream media has morphed.
Late last week, Ian Bremmer tweeted a made-up quote from President Trump. Bremmer is one of the most well-known foreign policy experts in America. He didn’t offer any hint that the statement was fake. “President Trump in Tokyo: ‘Kim Jong Un is smarter and would make a better President than Sleepy Joe Biden,’” Bremmer wrote. He provided no further context.
As expected, the fake news twitterverse took the quote at face-value. Journalists and lawmakers alike went on to share Bremmer’s tweet. They blasted President Trump for a comment he never made.
Liberals Run With the Fake Quote
CNN contributor Ana Navarro-Cárdenas retweeted the fake quote with an emotional message to her followers.
“Don’t shrug your shoulders. Don’t get used to this insanity,” she wrote. “The President of the United States praising a cruel dictator who violates human rights, threatens nuclear attacks, oppresses his people, and kills political opponents, IS NOT FREAKING NORMAL.”
Democrat Representative Ted Lieu also took the bait. He tweeted a list of critical questions at the president in response to Bremmer’s made-up quote. “Is this when @realDonaldTrump became our President? Or was it when he kowtowed to Putin in Helsinki? Or was it when he said there are find people on both sides? Or was it when he obstructed justice multiple times? Or was it when he separated infants from parents? Or was it w …” the lawmaker said.
The Objectively Ludicrous Remark
The outrage spread across social media. Finally, Bremmer posted an “update.” He admitted that he had invented the “objectively ludicrous” remark as an experiment. The following day, Bremmer finally issued a belated apology for his original tweet. He admitted that he “should have been clearer” when (mis-)quoting the president.
You may not believe Bremmer’s claim. But it’s clear that his initial tweet lacked proper context. He is a respected foreign policy expert, columnist and editor-at-large for Time magazine. Bremmer is — or was — viewed as a credible source by many of his followers. He should have taken that responsibility more seriously. However, Bremmer is not an objective “reporter” who is paid to publish facts. Media persons who quickly spread his tweet without checking the information should have known the difference.
Fake News Media Haven’t Learned
The whole event was a stressful reminder of the Covington Catholic controversy. Reporters across mainstream media aggressively smeared a group of high school students. And it was based on incomplete and false reports from non-journalists on social media. Only later they found out their original description of the event was practically the exact opposite of the truth.
Sadly, the fake news media haven’t learned their lesson from that travesty. In fact, the Ian Bremmer stunt wasn’t even the only fake news scandal that happened in recent days.
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The New York Times published an editorial. It suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Trump are partially responsible for the rise of anti-Semitism. The Times, of course, is a well-known peddler of anti-Semitism itself.BuzzFeed News was forced to delete an “inaccurate” tweet. It claimed that a pro-Nazi vandal was radicalized in part by conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro. Shapiro happens to be Jewish. Democrat presidential candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke’s twisted facts about immigration, inmates and gun violence during a CNN town hall. He barely received any attention from the mainstream media at all.
The high-profile journalists and elected Democrat politicians who were so quick to spread Bremmer’s “objectively ludicrous” tweet should be embarrassed by their own gullibility. And the American people should be disgusted by this glimpse at the sausage-making behind the spread of fake news, which persists like a plague on our society in the age of Trump.
Ken Blackwell served as the mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, the Ohio State Treasurer, and Ohio Secretary of State. He currently serves on the board of directors for Club for Growth and National Taxpayer Union.