That’s true, and I’ve noted it before myself. Usually “fake news” is code for “news I don’t want you to pay attention to.” Usually.
But not always. Some of the “fake news” criticism is well-earned, as CNN knows.
Profligate use of the term “fake news” to describe unpleasant real news makes it easier for actual fake news to pass as “real news.” I don’t know if that was an intentional strategy by Trump in pushing the “fake news” attacks for the past six months, preparing the battle space for his own self-produced counter-media, but it’s no coincidence that Kayleigh McEnany signed off from her first Trump TV segment by referring to it as “real news.” The combined effect, deflating independent news outlets as fake while inflating Team Trump’s own product as real, is to level the terrain between the two so that viewers trust, or distrust, both equally. McEnany’s debut segment stuck mostly to facts — a million jobs added to the economy since Trump took office — but I wonder if future segments will push more dubious claims. That would be strategic, establishing a baseline of truth in the early segments to earn the viewers’ trust and then gradually building towards more overt propaganda.
As I noted this morning, one reason that Team Trump and the RNC eyed McEnany for a spokesman role, I’m sure, is that she has a “real news” patina by dint of her time on — ta da — CNN. Tapper’s network thought that “balance” required bringing in commentators who would defend Trump under any circumstance, who’d back him even if, as Anderson Cooper once said, he took a dump on his desk. It’s rich of Tapper to be killing her here for pushing Trump propaganda when her cheery, indefatigable willingness to do that was the entire reason CNN hired her. They made her a household name because she was gung ho to defend the president in instances that made other right-wing pundits blush. And their reward for it will be her spending the rest of Trump’s term calling them “fake news.” They sowed the wind, now they reap the whirlwind.
By the way, the president’s latest example of “fake news” is the media supposedly refusing to cover the 15-0 UN Security Council vote for North Korea sanctions. At almost the exact moment he tweeted that this afternoon, CNN was covering the vote.