Thursday, January 5, 2017

Trump a "Strongman" dictator, consolidating power, delegitimizing institutions, pushing "fake news."

It's almost crazy the way the "right" is trying to steal away and use "fake news" as a weapon against the opposition party. Used to describe outlets like Breitbart, Townhall, Red State, and the MacIver Institute, fake news is now being used broadly against the real news media.

MSNBC's Ari Melber took a look at how quickly Republicans have latched onto fake news, as a sledge hammer against the media, and now as a "legitimate" source supporting their purely ideological fake world vision. In the video below, watch former Senator and leader of the Heritage Foundation Jim DeMint laugh and call estimates by the Congressional Budget Office fake news.

The Washington Post's Paul Farhi made a few great points as well:
Farhi: "The term has now been weaponized, it's been politicized...If we can't in a society, at least agree on some facts, we've got nothing to talk about. You're talking about chaos." 

NYU Journalism professor Jay Rosen has written a paper on how the press must now change the way they cover the news under Trump, the king of fake news.
Rosen: "A man in power untroubled by contradictions and comfortable in the confusion he creates cannot be held accountable by normal means...a Trump presidency is likely to be constructed on a propaganda model in which fomenting confusion is not a drag on the Administration's agenda, but a sign that it's working." 

The most troubling development is Trump's plan to reform and pare down the US intelligence agency, after trashing it and saying that it's bloated and politicized. When the incoming president has more faith in intelligence pushed by Putin and Julian Assange, well you get the picture.

Here's Ari with former independent candidate Evan McMullin, and Wisconsin's Charlie Sykes:
McMullin: "It is absolutely textbook for a "strongman" to come in and attack not only the media, they do that, but also intelligence and security services. Try to weaken them, try to consolidate power within them...I mean it's absolutely textbook and I have to say as a former intelligence officer myself, seeing his attacks on the press and in reading this report tonight really has me greatly concerned, perhaps more concerned than I been all along."

Sykes: "I see the pattern here of Donald Trump trying to delegitimize any institution that might be a check on him, whether it is the news media or intelligence community...he does not want these independent agencies who might actually be a truth detector on his administration." 

And these latest developments only add to the urgency:
Daily Beast: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Thursday that Russia cyberattacking campaigns are “multi-faceted” and also include fake news. “This was a multi-faceted campaign,” Clapper said at a Senate hearing on Thursday morning. “So the hacking was only one part of it, and it also entailed classical propaganda, disinformation, fake news.” Clapper’s testimony confirms suspicions that, in addition to hacking into U.S. political institutions like the Democratic National Committee, Russia helped propagate and spread fake news online as part of its purported goal of helping to elect Donald Trump. Asked whether Russia’s campaign is continuing, Clapper said simply: “Yes.”
 Daily Beast: Russians Who Hit DNC Are Using Fake News to Hack U.S.: Some of the Russian hackers blamed for infiltrating the DNC are using bogus news to get inside the networks of the unsuspecting. James Scott, a senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, told The Daily Beast in an email. “News or Fake News are both effective lures because the targets feel compelled to open the email or link in order to be informed [or] to be vindicated.”

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