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Fake News Is Nothing New

By | January 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

With the demise of the Weekly World News, we were no longer treated to amusing fake news. My favorite was “Two-Headed Calf Predicts Stock Market.” Presumably one head predicted it would go up, and the other predicted it would go down ‒ which beats most investment advisors.

Now all we have left is fake news, and it is not at all amusing. But this is nothing new. What is new is that most people now realize that much of the news is in fact fake.

Rodney King beating video.

Almost everyone in America, and millions the world over, saw the video of four Los Angeles Police officers beating Rodney King with batons. I saw the video scores of times on TV, before and during the trial of the four officers for using excessive force. Many people were surprised when three of the officers were acquitted, and the jury “hung” on the fourth. As a result, the city endured a week of bloody, destructive rioting.

King was repeatedly described as a black “motorist,” when in fact he was on parole for strong-arm robbery and was driving recklessly over 100 miles per hour while drunk. But we all believed that the video we saw so often on TV was the whole video. It wasn’t. I happened to be off work during the trial of the officers, and I watched the live coverage.

Only then did I discover that all those times, the media were showing us only the last part of the video. At the trial, the whole tape was shown. Only then did I discover that the first part of the tape showed that King, who was well over 200 pounds and “buffed” from his time in prison, ran full-speed at one of the officers, and if the officer hadn’t skillfully hit King with the baton, King would have knocked him flat − and perhaps taken his baton or his pistol. King was violently resisting arrest, which the media hid from the people.

Only because I happened to be home that day did I discover that we had been shown only part of the video, the part that showed King prone on the ground, being hit with batons. But we had not been shown the whole tape, which shows King attacking the officer. I have never talked to anyone, even well-informed persons, who knew this. It’s too bad our government can’t keep secrets that well.

We will never know how many of the 53 people killed during the Los Angeles riots of 1992, and how much of the billions in damage, were the result of this doctored video the media used to stir up emotions. But I believe that somewhere there is a large ledger, and that ultimately we all will have to answer for the negative entries against our names. Those who doctored the video and then showed it incessantly have much to answer for.

George W. Bush’s military records.

Remember Dan Rather’s CBS “news” story that broke during the 2004 election season? Remember the letter, supposedly from George W. Bush’s commanding officer in the Texas Air National Guard? The letter stated that Bush had been absent for large portions of the service he claimed to have performed.

It soon became obvious that the letter was not written on a typewriter, but on a modern computer and printer. The font was Times New Roman, which was not offered on old typewriters. The letters were “proportional”‒ that is, m was wider than n, which was wider than i. On a typewriter, each letter takes up exactly the same width. Moreover, the letters were “kerned,” that is, nested together − for example, fl, not f l as they would have appeared on a typewriter. In addition, quotation marks and apostrophes were “smart,” not plain, as they would have appeared on a typewriter, and the th in 187th was written as the superscript, which was not available on a typewriter.

CBS “verified” the documents by interviewing the 86-year-old woman who had been the secretary for the supposed author, now conveniently dead, and for several others as well. She stated that she never typed those documents, but she recalled typing similar ones 32 years earlier. In short, we had dubious copies of nonexistent documents not typed by the secretary of a dead man. This gave “verify” a whole new meaning.

When this deception was revealed, Rather insisted that the letter was “forged but accurate.” Apparently Rather meant that it accurately reflected his own preconceptions about Bush. This is the viewpoint of a propagandist, not that of a reporter. Rather “retired,” but did the media learn anything about altering evidence? Did liberals learn anything about the credibility of the media? Not really.

George Zimmerman’s 911 call.

Look at the transcript of the actual tape of George Zimmerman’s 911 call:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.

911 Operator: Okay, and this guy, is he black, white, or Hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.

Now look at the transcript of the tape NBC played on TV “news”:

Zimmernan: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.

Clearly, the implication is that Zimmerman is a racist who saw Trayvon Martin as suspicious just because he was black. But in fact, Zimmerman mentioned the person’s race only after the 911 operator asked about it. This is a half-truth that gives a false impression ‒ the worst kind of lie.

This lie, and the slanted media coverage that went with it, created the expectation that Zimmerman would be convicted of murder. But the jury studied the evidence and found him not guilty.

So more social unrest was stirred up. And, of course, there were more eye-catching stories on TV, thus increasing ratings. There were more exciting stories for newspapers to cover, thus buoying up sagging readership. In answer to the tape scandal, NBC promised an “internal investigation.” I didn’t know it was possible to perform a colonoscopy on oneself.

The obvious problem with those who alter tapes and forge documents is the problem with all liars − they cause us to believe falsehoods. The less obvious problem is that they cause us to doubt the truth. When proven liars say something we thought was true, we begin to doubt it.

I was never a “birther.” I put those who doubted the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate in the category of conspiracy theorists in aluminum-foil hats. But when I considered how the leftist establishment feels free to alter audio and video tapes and fabricate documents, I had to admit that forging a birth certificate would not be beyond their capability ‒ or beneath their moral level. They destroyed their own credibility. They shouldn’t complain about being distrusted.

There is an old saying that if a clock strikes 13, it casts doubt not only on that, but on everything that went before. If persons, or “news” organizations, alter audio and video tapes and forge documents, their credibility is shot. How can we know what to believe in all their other “news” stories? How can we know if these reports are really news, or just stories?

The mainstream media didn’t lose their credibility − they killed it. It’s been dead, muerto, kaput, for years. The corpse is in an advanced state of decomposition. It really stinks. Let us hold a long-overdue wake and get on with our lives.

Contact: dstol@prodigy.net. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.

www.stolinsky.com

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