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By Casey McCabe
Ever since our most recent presidential election, journalism has been subject to outcries of “fake news”. This started out as one of Trump’s punchlines and has since escalated into an Internet meme and is unfortunately far more damaging than most realize. Trump may be called an idiot by some, but his manipulation of the media and journalism as a whole is brilliant. He has used decades of distrust in a dysfunctional and changing news system to plunge the nation into a state of permanent distrust.
Trump is not the origin of “fake news” but the pinnacle. There have been many instances in the past were “fake news” has been used. From the Red Scare of the 1910s, to the Vietnam War. The influence of fake news even impacted President George Bush when he declared war on Iraq. President Bush passed harsh rules restricting journalists’ ability to cover the conflict, as a hope to keep the nation's confidence in the war high. Our current situation regarding fake news is long in the making.
Fake News was also present in past events, just in a different from. Fake News is simply a new name, and a new disguise for propaganda. Propaganda has been used since the creation of the print format to reinforce a particular mind set, or cause a population to behave a certain way. From the blatant “Uncle Sam Wants You!” posters from WWII to the yellow journalism that sparked the Spanish American War, propaganda has been around. These forms of propaganda however needed the individual reading it to buy into the ideas it presented. Fake news is propaganda designed to make you not trust anything, and henceforth be more susceptible to having another's worldview pushed upon you.
What America needs is journalists who don't bicker and show bias on TV. The dysfunctionality of cable news feeds the fake news machine. If we are to overcome the slander of journalism we must invest in individuals who are willing to give themselves in entirety to the collective. We are after all, a country of representation, and our journalists must represent the American people, and the American spirit. Only individuals who have given themselves entirely to representing the people will have the ability to report trusted fact.