Fake News for the Week Ending October 30, 2020

The presidential election is just four days away, so I won’t bury the lede: The Fake News blog endorses Joe Biden for president. Read on to discover why.

  • Two years ago, when I wrote my book, Fake News: Separating Truth from Fiction, I tried to be as impartial in my coverage as possible. My editors were especially cautious about showing bias for or against any particular political party. But as the writing process progressed, no matter how hard I fought it, Donald Trump took over the narrative. I didn’t intend to write so much about Trump but he just jumped in and demanded attention.

    As such, some readers have claimed that the book itself is “fake news” and has an anti-Trump bias. I don’t think it does, but I do think that Trump himself has an anti-truth bias. He lies, he spreads conspiracy theories, he repeats and retweets fake news from other sources, and he has been the beneficiary of fake news and propaganda planted by Russian actors and other entities. Even worse, he calls factual coverage that he doesn’t like “fake news” and refers to established, reliable media as “fake media,” thus conflating “real” fake news with factual reporting from legitimate media. The result is that regular citizens don’t now what is fake and what is real. (Which, of course, is what my book was all about.)

    For these reasons alone I have to vote against Mr. Trump. I believe that the president of our country needs to be truthful and dependable. That does not describe Mr. Trump, who utters so many falsehoods that you truly cannot and should not believe a single word he says.

    There has been no public figure in my lifetime who has been as untruthful and deceitful as Mr. Trump, and I say that as someone who lived through the Nixon administration. With my focus on fighting fake news and disinformation, I must oppose Mr. Trump and all who seek to subvert honesty and reality. I advise all followers of this blog and supporters of the truth to vote against Donald Trump and support his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. Mr. Biden is no more or less capable of shading the truth than any other politician, but there is an order of magnitude difference between him and Mr. Trump in how they address reality. Mr. Trump says whatever is expedient, no matter how far removed from the truth; Mr. Biden, while sometimes avoiding full disclosure, does not continually lie about anything and everything.

    Again, I repeat: This blog endorses and supports Joe Biden for president. He is the candidate who speaks truthfully and fights fake news, which is what we’re all about here.
  • Back to the fake news beat, the whole Hunter Biden laptop pseudo-scandal is looking more and more like a classic disinformation campaign (likely perpetrated by the Russians, with the willing duplicity of Rudy Giuliani and others). A month before the purported “leak” of files from Biden’s laptop, a fake “intelligence” document alleging an elaborate conspiracy theory about Biden and his father Joe went viral on the right-wing Internet. This document was written by a supposed Swiss security analyst named “Martin Aspen.” Supposed, that is, because intelligence experts say “Aspen” is a fabricated identity, whose profile picture was created with an artificial intelligence face generator. This is fake news at its finest, as reported by NBC News.
  • Leading up to next week’s election, Facebook is emerging as a “superspreader” of misinformation. Newsweek has the story.
  • Not surprisingly, President Donald J. Trump is also spreading disinformation about voting issues, especial mail-in voting, asserting that “the only way we can lose, in my opinion, is massive fraud.” That isn’t true, of course, as FactCheck.org reports.
  • The Trump campaign is also disseminating a deceptively edited video of opponent Joe Biden saying “Why am I doing this? Why? What is my real aim?” It’s apparently supposed to show that Biden is out of touch, but it’s a small snippet of a longer quote taken completely out of context. Misleading at best, completely dishonest at worst. CNN does the reporting.
  • Twitter blocked another tweet by candidate Trump, this one alleging that there were “problems and discrepancies” with mail-in ballots “all over the USA.” Good for Twitter, good for voters. Politico has the story.

One last thing before we sign off:. VOTE!!! Your vote is important, so do it — whether by mail or early voting or in person on election day. Fight fake news and disinformation by making your voice heard.

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