Really, some times I think that, in order to work in the mainstream press, you have to agree to have your brain purged of all memories every two years or so.
How much have we heard about "fake news" lately, and how many times have we heard it blamed on the internet, and treated like a new phenomenon that was created with the rise of twitter, 4-chan, Breitbart, etc?
Well, for those of you whose minds have fogged over, let's take a walk back through the mists of time.
Do you remember when Barack Obama was not an American citizen, but a citizen of Kenya, or maybe Indonesia? Do you remember when he was a Communist, or a Muslim, or the Antichrist? Do you remember when it was discovered that his wife was actually an ex college football player who had had a sex change operation, and his two children were actually stolen for him from Morocco?
Do you remember when the mainstream press gave endless publicity to a story that John Kerry was a lying coward in Vietnam, despite the fact that his superb performance evaluations were online for anyone to find in minutes? And when the same press collaborated to hide the information that George W. Bush had been AWOL during a significant part of his time in the Air Force, protecting Texas from the Viet Cong?
Do you remember when Al Gore claimed to have invented the internet? Or when he claimed that "Love Story" was about him and Tipper, or that he singlehandedly dealt with the Love Canal pollution disaster? Incidentally, those stories were all started not in some dank corner of the Right wing, but by the New York Times.
Do you remember that Bill and Hillary murdered Vince Foster, and over fifty other people? Do you remember that they ran a drug smuggling operation out of a small airport in Arkansas? Do you remember New York Times' supreme columnist, William Safire, inventing the story that Hillary was a congenital liar? Do you remember all of the women who were paid large sums of money by right wing rich guy Richard Mellon Scaife to make false accusations of sexual predation against Bill? Do you remember when the Clintons looted the White House before leaving? Do you remember Travelgate, Christmas Card gate, Hillary laughing about defending a rapist, and on and on?
And do you remember that Jimmy Carter was a Communist, and John F. Kennedy, and Truman, and of course FDR?
Now, while we are on the subject, let's consider some of the "false news" that has been around for decades, and has become enshrined as Republican holy writ:
How about the notion, pounded into the heads of large numbers of ignorant voters, that Republicans are better at defending the country than Democrats, despite the fact that we emerged victorious in both World Wars under Democratic Presidents, while the Republicans have our collapse in Vietnam and spectacular failure in Iraq to show for themselves, as well as the 9-11 bombing, to their credit.
Or the constantly repeated claim that the economy does better under Republican Presidents when the exact opposite is the truth.
Or the great lie of the Republican party, supply side economics, a fairy tale which is patently ridiculous on its face, and which has resulted in nothing but economic disaster every time it has been tried, starting with the three Republican Presidents who caused the Great Depression, and continuing through the 2008 near-depression, and the European economic collapse under "austerity," another term for the same old policies, which are actually nothing but propaganda to justify tilting the economic playing field toward the rich.
So, here is the simple truth: The Republican party exists, and has existed since the Taft administration, solely to advance the interests of the rich, who return the favor by providing the money necessary to con people into buying their self-serving lies. Of course, they cannot admit this, so their entire public program for a hundred years has consisted in an endless series of falsehoods. And unfortunately they have had so much experience at that sort of thing, that it very frequently works, as we have just seen. No, fake news is not a creation of the internet; it is the only tool the Republicans have, and they will continue using it as long as the compliant mainstream press collaborates with them in spreading the deception.