Brian Willams, Stephen Glass, Chris Cuomo, CNN, NBC, and CBS all have history involving FAKE News. Some lost jobs, some lost credibility. The public was cheated in all cases.
I have five examples, with two different motives, for stooping low enough to offer fake news. The first four fall in the category of self promoting one’ own importance, The last exhibits the desire to deceive people from truth for political reasons. The second seems more arrogant as it strongly indicates a lack of respect for his audience by assuming they are stupid or naive.
In 1976 Jayson Thoma Blair resigned from a newspaper in the wake of plagiarism and fabrication charges involving some of his stories. I guess fake news has been around a long time.
Number two on my list is Stephen Glass. He worked for The New Republic. A movie, Shattered Glass, dramatized his demise. Stephen published articles that were fabricated with false quotations, sources and events, for at least three years.
Dan Rather is my third example. He was fired from CBS when the accuracy of a story he wrote questioned President George W. Bush’ military service.
More recently Brian Williams was suspended for six months without pay from NBC for interviews and some writing from his past experiences as a correspondent in Iraq. He claimed he came under fire while riding in a U.S. military helicopter. In another claim he mentioned Hezbollah rockets buzzed his helicopter while he was in Israel. He even talked about an incident during Hurricane Katrina that was reported to be false. He said he saw dead bodies floating past his hotel, and that the hotel had no medical supplies and was anything but secure. The manager of the hotel said she never saw Williams and that they did have medical supplies and were very secure and that there was not enough water outside the hotel for anything to float by. At the time of his suspension he was the anchor for NBC’ Nightly News. He is now MSNBC anchor for some of their programing. I thought it was telling that a survey by Marketing Arm reported that at one point Williams ranked 835th for most trust worthy person. Earlier he ranked 23rd.
Now here is what I consider the biggie in fake news in my story. On a television talk/new program on CNN Chris Cuomo actually said the following. To paraphrase, he said it was illegal for anyone but the MEDIA to read Clinton’ emails released by WikiLeaks. They were full of messages from her camp and especially her “Camp Master” John Podesta. He was her campaign chair. He continued his nonsense by saying that is was legal for the media to read them and that they could tell the public what they said. Unbelievable. Cuomo looked absolutely stupid for saying that in my opinion. Did he come up with that thought? Did his producer? Well he is still working and I am guessing so is his producer.
How do these examples “Infect Us”? People are too trusting, and maybe too lazy, and tend not to challenge news, from ALL FORMS of media, nearly enough. Part of the infection is self-imposed because of that. The brain is one of the most important parts of the body and needs to be used more often rather than less. It is a jewel of an organ that allows us to think, be leaders, and not be followers. Being brainwashed can be a sign of being too lazy to fact check and verify. So if we are fooled in the case of what CNN tried to feed us I guess we deserve to be uninformed.
The media should hold themselves to the highest standards possible to earn credibility. Once it is lost it takes a very long time to repair.