Bernard Goldberg has written several fascinating books about the news during the era when the only available sources were the three TV networks and the daily paper. Back then, Goldberg writes, no one questioned the “slant” of the news, much less whether a story it carried was “fake.”
Many on the Left still don’t. When CBS anchor Dan Rather was caught in 2004 fabricating a story about George W. Bush’s military service record, he couldn’t fathom how a counterfeit document he proffered as evidence could have been outed. The clue to the document’s inauthenticity was its letter spacing, which was proportional — a red flag to Matt and Greg Sheffield, the two twentysomething brothers who first noticed it. The discovery put the lie to Rather’s claim that the document had been produced on a 1970s-era typewriter; it also ended Rather’s career.
At first, the veteran investigative journalist protested his innocence, not able or willing to acknowledge that a new era in news reporting had dawned that included a knowledge of fonts, kerning, and other arcane matters of typography. Enter the “Web log,” or blog, for short.
Since then, a second online “news” source, the social medium, has risen to prominence. Suddenly, every reader has the capacity not only to receive the news as it develops but to write about it as well.
Arguably, the granddaddy of all social media is the site overseen by Mark Zuckerberg, whose youth (he was born in 1984) bridged the eras of old and new news. So vital a part of daily life and information has it become that Facebook, Zuckerberg’s brainchild, has been the subject of many books, including one by LU contributor Joe Newby.
It is unlikely that Joe’s book occupies a place of honor on Zuckerberg’s mantelpiece because it takes a dim view of Facebook’s policy of censoring words and pictures that it deems offensive. What sorts of things “violate Facebook’s community standards”? The American flag, for one.
Needless to say, Zuckerberg is liberal — and so is Facebook. The site’s co-founder, Dustin Moskovitz, donated $20 million of his own money to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
As anyone following the news knows by now (and even Dan Rather, most likely!), that outcome was not achieved. And now that Donald Trump will be the next president, Facebook has suddenly “found religion.” Despite years of omitting inconvenient truths about Democratic candidates and inventing others to demonize Republican candidates, the liberal media have discovered “fake news,” which they claim accounts for Clinton’s loss. And Facebook for one has resolved to use its mighty pen and sword to ferret out fake news.
For this purpose, the company has hired outside “fact checkers” — PolitiFact, FactCheck.org, ABC, and AP — as its eyes and ears. It doesn’t take much digging to reveal that these “news” sites lean left.
Is anyone really surprised?