BOSTON (CBS) – There’s been a lot of hand-wringing over the role that so-called fake news – false stories attacking candidates spread on social media to gullible voters – may have played in last year’s election.
And it’s a good thing that huge corporations like Facebook and Google are being called out for their failure to prevent abuse of their platforms in this way.
But when a top broadcast journalist, Lester Holt of NBC News, speaking to local college students tells them “truth is on the ropes,” it’s time for some perspective.
Let’s start with the Trump administration, arguably the most anti-press group Washington has seen in many years, although a good case could be made that the Obama White House was nearly as bad.
In what way is truth “on the ropes” these days in D.C?
Just as media coverage of the bungled roll out of Obamacare and its subsequent problems helped make that health reform into a potent political issues, so too did truthful coverage of the Trump/Ryan plan’s draconian impact on health care costs and coverage crater public support for it and fuel its legislative defeat.
Truthful coverage of the sarin gas massacre of Syrian civilians appears to have prompted the president to completely reverse his policy toward both Syria and Russia.
That is just the latest in a string of campaign promises – things like labelling China a currency manipulator and ending the import/export bank – now apparently abandoned by President Trump as reality collides with the fantasy world of campaign rhetoric.
Truth, and the power of those telling it to make the power-brokers back off – seems to me like the liveliest corpse I’ve seen in some time.