‘Fake News’ Is Becoming A Household Term, And It’s Seriously Creepy
Using the term 'fake news' makes you a tool. Literally.
Okay, this has got to stop. It was funny when it was just the pundits and politicians constantly regurgitating the neoliberal slogan “fake news” every ten seconds; it can make a fun drinking game depending on your level of alcohol tolerance. But when real, normal people start making it a regular part of their language, things have officially gotten creepy.
Look people, using the term “fake news” is like dabbing as an adult — it’s only okay if you do it ironically, and preferably not in front of your kids. That phrase was cooked up in a political think tank by a bunch of suits around a table early last month for the sole purpose of getting you to mindlessly repeat it, and if you do, you’re trading away a part of your humanity. You’ve taken this manufactured corporate catch phrase —no different from “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!” or “They’re always after me lucky charms!”— and made space in your consciousness for it to be used in the establishment’s war against dissenting media. If you use that term, you are (no offense) a tool. Quite literally; you're an instrument being used to complete a task.
I’m not saying that fake news stories don’t make the rounds on the internet; I know they do. Believe me, I know. Every Berner in America experienced the slow agonizing learning curve of seeing article after article titled “Bernie Still Has A Chance To Win” and then finding a few paragraphs of vapid word salad with a whole bunch of ads selling products to make your genitals less defective. I have no problem with people calling these clickbait Macedonian eye cancers what they are, I just have a problem with people parroting a think tank-manufactured slogan that was deliberately designed to manipulate them.
According to Google Trends, the phrase “fake news” wasn’t a thing at all until right before November 6th of this year. Nobody was saying it; when they wanted to talk about it they’d use terms like clickbait, along with a bunch of other words that I probably shouldn’t print here. Then from the 6th to the 13th there was an exponential explosion of usage of that term where it went from near-baseline to 75% of peak trending in a single week. Now obviously this new focus on bogus articles is connected to the election on November 8th, the outcome of which was blamed on “fake news,” as well as Vladimir Putin, James Comey, Julian Assange, Bernie Sanders, millennials, frog memes, bronies, and every living organism on planet Earth not named Hillary Rodham Clinton. So one could say it’s as understandable as anything else in this mess why people should be talking about clickbait articles all of a sudden, but why that exact phrase?
“Fake news! Fake news! Fake news!” Over and over again, it’s the exact same phrase used by every talking head on TV, every politician at every podium. It doesn’t even make sense if you think about it; something that’s fake isn’t news, it’s just fake. It’s a fake thing someone wrote. We were doing fine using the terms “clickbait” or “clickbait articles” or “how hard is it to do a quick google search before sharing this crap you pathetic waste of space??”, but the people pulling the strings behind the scenes of the political establishment and the legacy media wanted everyone saying something else, saying it often and saying it the same.
Let me pause here to point out that this should be enough to stop any self-respecting critical thinker from ever using that phrase again. You should never be reflexively regurgitating what amounts to a sales slogan unless you’re getting paid for it; nobody should get a piece of your soul for free. Could you imagine if all of a sudden everyone in your political conversations was constantly saying things like “There’s some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s Mastercard” and “Meow Mix! Tastes so good, cats ask for it by name!” It would feel like Invasion of the Body Snatchers! You’d be pleading with them, “No god, please just go back to being human.” That’s how I feel whenever I see people parroting a think-tank manufactured mind virus, and I’m seeing it more and more.
Remember “Support our troops”? That stupid, meaningless phrase that got bleated by everyone and their dog as America was gearing up for its evil, unforgivable invasion of Iraq to force Saddam to go back to selling oil in U.S. dollars? That was another one, a perfect example. A vapid phrase forced down the throats of an unsuspecting populace to hypnotize them into supporting a despicable corporatist agenda. Not sure war is the best option? “Support our troops!” Questioning whether Saddam has WMDs? “Support our troops!” Think it’s dumb to kill and be killed over a fuel source we should be phasing out anyway? “Why oh why do you hate our troops!?” America’s citizens became the wardens of their own psychic prisons based on sick manipulations like these, and we’re seeing it all again now. It made you wince every time you saw someone repeat that phrase, because you could just feel the part of their humanity they were choking off to do it.
So what’s the object of manipulation now? Why, alternative media of course. This year saw something entirely unprecedented happen: the political establishment in America completely lost control of the narrative. People just stopped listening to the pundits and talking heads and voted how they wanted, based on information they’d gleaned not from the TV or the legacy newspapers, but from WikiLeaks, from online publications, from bloggers and YouTubers. From memes. From conversations with people on the other side of the continent. 2016 forced the ruling elites to finally reckon with the reality that the internet has completely changed mankind as we know it forever, and the old systems of manipulation just can’t work anymore. It’s amazing that it took them so long to address this, but they are now.
So as is their go-to move every single time, the oligarchs are trying to drag things kicking and screaming back to the old way of doing things, rather than changing to adapt to the new paradigm. They’re using a massive propaganda campaign (perfectly legal as of 2013) to try and wedge people away from dissenting media and back into the monolithic dominance of the corporate media, where the talking heads can subject them to reeducation. They’re doing this by deliberately lumping all alternative media that goes against the establishment narrative into the increasingly-broad category of “fake news,” and teaching pliable citizens to pull one another into line like good little slaves just like they did with “support our troops.” They selected that exact phrasing because whenever they see something that looks like "news" they'll automatically ask themselves if it's on the approved reading list, and if it's not, it's fake. So now I see perfectly good and valid articles on social media every day with people commenting “fake news” because it says something that isn’t in line with the corporate liberal echo chamber.
It won’t work, of course. This Pandora’s box has been opened and it cannot be closed. The legacy media is like a 97 year-old grandma who’s only getting more and more arthritic and demented and she’s just a mean and miserable husk of her old self and everyone secretly wishes she’d just die already. Humans are only going to get better and better at networking and sharing information, and the official narrative of the ruling elites can only get less and less relevant. But in the meantime, please don’t degrade your humanity by parroting their manipulative slogans. It’s creeping the rest of us out.
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