Lately you can’t turn on the TV, browse the internet, or go hang out in your local townie bar without hearing about “fake news” and its influence on the election. It’s the go to topic for news outlets and hack jobs desperate for eyeballs and clicks (like me!). It’s good that we’re talking about this.
That said, Conspiracy Theorist Scott Colby is worried. We know that governments and various interest groups are capable of twisting national narratives for their own ends (and if you don’t know that, wisen up—powerful douche bags have been doing it forever). So…when’s the other shoe drop with this fake news stuff? Seriously. What outrageous bullshit perpetrated by someone or something important is about to be completely disregarded because we’re so focused on not falling for incorrect information?
Sure, I should probably take my tinfoil hat off. Likely any attempts to exploit the current discourse will be much less dramatic than what I’m rambling about. Thing is…it’s sort of already happening. Watch this. That’s Kellyanne Conway, the president-elect’s campaign manager, telling CNN her boss is going to continue working on The Apprentice while he’s in the White House.
And this was the Big Orange Blumpkin’s response on Twitter:
Reports by @CNN that I will be working on The Apprentice during my Presidency, even part time, are ridiculous & untrue – FAKE NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2016
Think about this for a second. That is a downright impressive manipulation of the “fake news” phenomenon. I’m applauding even though I’m fucking disgusted. There was absolutely nothing phony about CNN’s report. A representative of the president-elect went on TV and provided information that turned out to be incorrect, and the vehicle that did nothing but communicate that representative’s words gets thrown under the bus—and people are going to believe that because “ohhhhh fake news is everywhere!” and think even less of the media. What a heel move. Get this guy some tights and get him (back) in the ring.
And I wonder…did the incoming administration just set up CNN? Sure, it’s possible Conway had bad information even though she’s a high-ranking, integral part of the operation that’s supposed to make sure she’s on message at all times. It’s also possible that the president-elect fully intended to continue working on The Apprentice and was caught off guard by the backlash. But man, doesn’t this feel almost like a beta test of sorts for exploiting the fake news thing? I’m not accusing them of anything and I have no evidence, but think about it. Fine. I’ll take my tinfoil hat off again. I’m sorry. I keep putting it back on because it makes me look positively dashing.
My point, I guess, is that it’s more important than ever to use your head. Don’t believe everything everyone tells you, but don’t automatically disbelieve it, either. “But Scott Colby!” I can hear you whining from under the covers to which you’ve retreated. “That’s hard! Can’t I just pick one and always do that!” Nope. Sorry, pumpkin. If you want to understand the world and participate well in it, you’ve got to put the work in.