Fake News about Fake News

The news media loves pointing out “fake news” in order to differentiate their alleged “objective” and “fact-based” reporting from the outright hoaxes and propaganda being slung around social media. I came across this article in the Providence Journal, purporting to do just that. The article, however, reveals biases of its own, and shows how the so-called legitimate news media engages in propaganda to push their own political messaging.

The Journal headline reads: “Fake photo of Emma González went viral on the far right, where Parkland teens are villains,” which already is suspect. Are all Parkland teens villains to the far right, or just the ones who exploited a tragedy at their school to push a pro-gun control message? Is Cuban flag wearing, buzzed haircut Emma González representative of all teens in Parkland? Never mind that she intentionally projects an image designed to piss off conservatives.

That’s why I thought the photo of her wearing a Cuban flag was the doctored photo in question, but no, it’s a photo of her tearing up a paper target doctored to look like she’s tearing up the U.S. Constitution. Now I don’t doubt some people actually thought this was a real photo. I’ve seen some of my own friends on social media taken in by obvious hoaxes. But the photo is clearly political satire. I remember when Democrats used to edit President Bush’s face onto images of Adolph Hitler and Nazis. No one in the mainstream news media raised a big stink over that.

The question is whether the person who made this photo was trying to illustrate a point about how Emma González pushing gun control was an attack on the Constitution, and some people mistook it for a real photo, or whether its creator deliberately tried to pass off the photo as real. No one can tell for sure, but this reporter made no attempt to find out.

The article goes on to mention 16-year-old Parkland student Kyle Kashuv, who has become a hero on the right for taking up the pro-gun side of the argument. So again, are all Parkland teens villains to the “far right,” or just the ones who disagree politically? (What constitutes the “far right” in this instance, btw? Anyone who supports the Second Amendment?)

The purpose of this article is to: 1) Imply conservatives are mean and hate children who experienced tragedy. 2) Reinforce the narrative that there’s an epidemic of “fake news” coming from the political right.

Low and behold, “The Washington Post’s Abby Ohlheiser contributed to this report.” No surprise the Washington Post had a hand in this.

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