Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Trump and the Darkness of Post Factual Media
This will be the darkest night in half a millennia when the longest night of the year is accompanied by a lunar eclipse. However, the real darkness is emanating from the electoral victory of Donald Trump. The President-Elect was confirmed by electors on Monday, crushing the last hope of those who see him as unfit for the office. The result is that fact-based news is more likely than ever to be eclipsed by fake news. Trump's penchant for dishonesty and support for fake news are part of the reason why this is not a normal presidency. Trump's victory is but the latest example of a growing right wing movement whose political currency appears to be obfuscation. Trump's win can be tied to Brexit in the UK, and the surging popularity of the right in both France and Germany.
Steve Bannon has been a key Trump advisor throughout the campaign and after his win Trump announced that Bannon would be his chief strategist. Bannon is infamous for being the head of Breitbart, one of the world's foremost sources of racist fake news. To make matters worse Breitbart is expanding into France and Germany to try to influence the electoral outcome in these countries as it did in the US.
Fake news can sometimes appear to be real news, take for example an article on Trump.news which reports on Leonardo DiCaprio's meeting with Trump and his daughter Ivanka. The article starts out almost normally indicating that DiCaprio and his team made a presentation in support of green jobs. However, the article then begins to show its true colors when it asked the rhetorical question: "Isn’t DiCaprio the guy who flies all over the world while telling people not to fly all over the world?"
The article then goes on to its real purpose which is to question the scientific consensus on climate change.
"DiCaprio is a strong advocate of fighting so-called “climate change” that he insists is being created by humankind’s modern existence."
The article then makes it clear that, "Trump’s not ‘wavering’ on his global warming skepticism," and suggests that Trump was just being "presidential" when he agreed to meet with DiCaprio. The article reiterates the position of the President-Elect:
"Trump has made no secret of his disbelief in the notion of human-caused climate change/global warming, having mocked it in the past. Plus, it’s hard to take the “movement” seriously when its cultist adherents fake warming data all the time."
The article then goes on to say that Trump's decision to put Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt at the head of the Environmental Protection Agency makes the point that Trump is a bonafide climate denier. Trump agrees with Pruitt's view that global warming is a hoax, "perpetuated by the Left strictly for political purposes."
Then the article describes DiCaprio as an "environmental hack who has no special knowledge of such things." Then the article goes on to say, "...green jobs are not plentiful because green power production is not efficient or economically viable; the technology just isn’t there yet."
No mention is made of the scientific consensus on climate change, the ROI on sustainability or the fact that the opportunities associated with green jobs are far larger than the employment potential of the fossil fuel industry.
This is part of a wider trend that will see preferential access being given to fake news sites by the incoming administration. According to Salon, the conservative online media outlet Right Side Broadcasting Network (RSBN), dubbed “Trump TV” by the Washington Post, will get privileged access to Trump and the White House.
How Conservatives Use Fake News to Control the Narrative
Fake News is Serious but so are Efforts to Combat it
Mainstream Media's Failed Climate Coverage
Mainstream Media is Distorting the Facts about Climate
Popular Media is to Blame for Inaction on Climate Change
The Implications of the Trump Administration's Disdain for Science
The Science of Storytelling: Making Facts Matter in a Post-Factual World
Why We are Not Seeing More Action on Climate Change
Anti-Science Journalism Helped to End Progressive Climate Governance in Australia
The Slaughter of Innocents: Our Complicity in the Murder of Environmentalists
The Death of Mikhail Beketov and Environmental Journalism in Russia
The Persecution of Environmental Reporters
Environmental Advocacy Through Citizen Journalism