In the Trump age, be your own news editor

Faux News, the original Fake News

Faux News, the original Fake News

In September 2015, we gave some recommendations on how to bypass the corporate mainstream media, which were doing an awful job reporting real news. We suggested that readers and viewers choose their own news sources, follow such sources on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and share important stories. This way, you can act as your own news editor and broadcaster. Given the mainstream media’s abysmal 2016 election coverage, and with Donald Trump now in the White House, these efforts are more important than ever.

Not since Ronald Reagan, and arguably never before, have we had a president who is largely a media creation, and who has spent his career manipulating the media. Donald Trump is a perfect storm of carnival barker and propagandist. Trump is also a master of using weapons of mass distraction. So, for example, Trump has been spending his time (often on Twitter) railing against the mainstream media, and tossing out phony yet provacative nuggets like “look what’s happened last night in Sweden,” hinting at some imaginary terrorist attack. Often, the very media about which Trump complains then chases after these fake stories, and many readers and viewers get caught up in them, instead of paying attention to the really important things that are going on.

What’s so important from which Trump may be trying to distract? How about RussiaGate, a growing story that involves a year of contacts between Trump’s campaign staff and Russian intelligence officials, illegal discussions about U.S. sanctions on Russia, interference in the U.S. election, the world’s largest oil company that is owned by Russia, the arrest of a Ukrainian billionaire for extradition to the U.S., and more?

Or how about the Republican-majority Congress’ efforts to undo the Affordable Care Act, Social Security, Medicare, public education, civil rights, and just about every kind of progress America has made over the past 80 years? It may be that Republicans in Congress are more than happy to have Trump in the White House, causing all kinds of distractions, while they go about dismantling everything good in America.

So once again, we call upon people to be their own news editors. and to redouble their efforts in the age of Donald Trump. That means, while you’re spending time on Culture War stories like Sweden, Milo Yiannopoulos, Alec Baldwin on Saturday Night Live, and other small shiny objects, you spend time examining the really important stories too.

Photo by Rex Sorgatz, used under Creative Commons license.

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