Blaming the media is the real fake news

Every kid should learn from their parents the modern way to avoid responsibility for misdeeds and missed homework.

When you fail or do something stupid or dishonest or regretful, or just don’t like the way the world is spinning that day or how the spicy chili went down, deny you’re at fault and deny the heartburn is self-inflicted.

Instead, blame the news media.

No one ever believed the dog ate your homework anyway.

If you disagree with the facts of science, economics, the law or elections, accuse reporters and editors of making it all up.

And if you are running for political office, by all means blame everything on the newspapers, radio or TV if the event or facts don’t add up the way you want.

Sarah Palin brought the claim of “fake news” to national attention with a smile, a smirk and a wink. Donald Trump elevated it to a hostile shout and a fire-up-the-crowd rallying cry.

Why own your mistakes or accept responsibility or acknowledge that maybe you had the facts wrong when you can turn it around and point at someone else with a mere type of your tweeter thumb on the phone. Why face reality when you can book on the fact that Facebook will let you say most anything.

Double down and encourage your supporters to do the same, and soon there is a growing chorus of off-key, often misled voices all typing the same keystrokes on their phones, spreading claims of “fake news.” It gets so loud, even reasonable people start to wonder, maybe there’s something to it.

Nope, there usually isn’t. But what it creates can be dangerous. News people covering last week’s public testimony at the Anchorage municipal assembly over a proposed mask mandate were hassled and scared by opponents of what was a sincere effort by elected officials to discuss public health. Last week’s threatening behavior was an embarrassment for the state’s largest city. Fake news it wasn’t.

And even though the U.S. Senate race for the seat held by Lisa Murkowski is a year away, already her Republican opponent, Kelly Tshibaka, is blaming the news media for troubles of her own making.

The Alaska Department of Public Safety last week fined Tshibaka for commercial fishing without a crew license this past summer when she helped someone on the Kenai Peninsula pick salmon from a setnet. State investigators also looked at whether Tshibaka violated state law in 2019 when she obtained a resident sport fishing license even though she had not lived in Alaska long enough to qualify.

Her response was to blame Murkowski, “her campaign team, her minions in the media, and her political pals” for tarnishing her name “by falsely accusing me of getting the wrong sport fishing license. It was all a lie.”

Yeah, the dog must have eaten her other license.

There is fake fake, as in such political yelling. And there is real fake, such as back in August when federal agents seized more than 3,000 counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards moving as cargo through the Anchorage airport. Good that Customs and Border Protection officers know a fake when they see one. Maybe they should offer a webinar for politicians who don’t know a fake even when they create it.


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