Did "fake news" almost start a nuclear war on Christmas Eve? Well... no

Since you no longer have to pretend to be in the “holiday spirit” while taking down the tree, here’s something else to ruin the beginning of winter for you. The MSM is heavily focused on a so called epidemic of “fake news” these days and CNN has picked up on one story which is custom made to fill the bill. Did you know that Israel threatened to nuke Pakistan on Christmas eve? Yeah… Israel didn’t know that either. It was a bogus story which earned a quick response from a Pakistani official and it set some tongues to wagging.

A fake news story led to threats of nuclear war between Pakistan and Israel on Christmas Eve.

In an article published by AWDNews on Tuesday December 20, former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon was quoted as threatening to destroy Pakistan if it sent troops into Syria.

“We will destroy them with a nuclear attack,” the article quoted Yaalon as saying. There is no evidence Yaalon ever said those words.

So once this “news story” broke, Pakistan’s Defense Minister, Khawaja Asif, decided to bust out his Twitter account and let the Israelis know that he certainly wouldn’t be taking this sort of guff.


Pakistan is a nuclear state too?” Dude. That’s harsh.

The thing is, this is just a tiny, short lived example of people being poor users of social media and the internet in general. People who publish material on the web have a certain responsibility to the consumers of their content (not that all of them take it very seriously) but the consumer has certain obligations as well. Notice how CNN states that the original story came from AWDNews, a fact which they toss out as casually as if it had been on the Associated Press wire. Have you looked at AWDNews? I opened up their home page and immediately saw stories about “burst transmissions from the CIA” shortly before that Russian plane went down and something about Putin taking on the Illuminate. C’mon, man

If the Pakistani Defense Minister bit on that story, that’s not a sign of some shortcoming with the rest of the world. It just means that Khawaja Asif is a chump who probably shouldn’t have a smart phone. In a more sane time, reports of such a story would have resulted in someone inside the Pakistani government checking to see if any credible news sources were reporting on it and then – possibly – having a low level diplomat contact somebody in the Israeli embassy to find out if there was any credibility to the report. Finding out that it was garbage, everyone would go back to sleep. But in this case, one of their guys decided to jump on Twitter and a nothingburger turned into a feast for CNN.

A big part of the problem here is that the “fake news epidemic” probably wouldn’t be rising above the gutters if major news outlets like CNN weren’t pushing the theme constantly. Unfortunately for all of us, they seem to have a vested interest in keeping this sort of thing in the headlines. If you go on to read the rest of the CNN article they go into the recent history of, “Fake News Affecting Real Events.”

In that section they do an immediate pivot and mention how, “fake news has been blamed by the United States Democratic Party for helping President-elect Donald Trump win the 2016 United States election.” What does that have to do with Israel and Pakistan, you might ask? Nothing. But it’s a great chance to keep pushing a narrative which can be seen as undermining the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency. But even beyond that, there is the larger question of how the internet has damaged the stature and prospects of the mainstream media. Reporters are enraged that their role as gatekeepers has been even further diminished by Trump’s willingness to take his message directly to the public on social media rather than always allowing it to be filtered through the “analysis” of the traditional media.

This Pakistan story was a joke, but it’s going to be played up in the press because it serves a larger purpose. “Fake news” has been around since writing was invented. Heck, it’s probably been with us since man gained the power of speech. But now it’s becoming a distinct danger, not to the public, but to the papers and cable news networks. If it weren’t, you’d never have heard of this story.