​Trump lashes media with Fake News Awards ​

Viral: This image of Trump spread rapidly. But was Trump right to call it “fake news”. © Getty

Are journalists biased against Trump? The US president says they definitely are. They reply that he cries “fake news” when he just doesn’t like what he reads. But which side is right?

The GOP website crashed on Wednesday night as Donald Trump announced the winners of the 2017 Fake News Awards.

Of the 11 examples given, CNN were responsible for four, while The New York Times were singled out twice. The broadcaster ABC and the magazines Time and Newsweek were each mentioned once.

The term “fake newsfirst arose during Trump’s presidential bid. At first, its definition seemed obvious. But since Trump appropriated the term, the definitions have become blurry.

Take a look at the image above. Trump was visiting his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe. A video circulated of Trump emptying a food box into a fish pond, implying that he had made a faux pas. In fact Abe had just done the same thing.

CNN picked up on the video. A lie? Perhaps not. A dishonest ploy to make Trump look foolish? The president thinks so.

Making number one on the list was The New York Times’s Paul Krugman claiming that the economy would “never” recover from Trump’s victory. Is this “fake news”, or just a bad prediction?

Yet statistics indicate that the media is skewed in favour of the Democrats. Nate Silver writes that “As of 2013, only 7% of [journalists] identified as Republicans.”

Is the media biased against Trump?

One side of the story

“The media downplays Trump’s successes and mocks his failures”, say some. Major media companies are located in Democrat cities and employ people from elite universities. This is the opposite of Trump’s support base. Given all this, why would they not be biased?

“Typical Trumpian paranoia”, reply others. If Trump were either successful or popular, this narrative about a “biased liberal media” would not exist. Fox remains the most watched news outlet in America. Media companies can lean left or right. But that is not the same as “bias”.

You Decide

  1. Is the media biased against Trump?

Activities

  1. Name six media outlets, and list them in the order in which you trust that they tell the truth.

Some People Say...

“The cure to eliminate fake news is that people stop reading 140-character tweets and start reading 600-page books.”

Piero Scaruffi

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
The term “fake news” was unheard of just two years ago. But it has now exploded, being named Collins Dictionary’s word of the year for 2017.
What do we not know?
Whether “fake news” is simply a phenomenon of the Trump era. Some argue that it is little different from propaganda and biased reporting, and so will always be around.

Word Watch

Fake news
An early example comes from the 13th century BC. Rameses the Great spread lies portraying the Battle of Kadesh as a crushing victory for the Egyptians. The battle was actually a stalemate.
First arose
A widely referenced example was the revelation that organisations in Macedonia were creating content they knew to be untrue.
“Never” recover
Ten major Trump achievements are listed at the bottom of the awards. The first is: “The economy has created nearly 2 million jobs and gained over $8 trillion in wealth since the president’s inauguration.”