Thursday, December 15, 2016

But it's *our* fake news

Several hours into CNN's Election Night coverage last month, lefty commentator Van Jones resigned himself to the fact that Donald Trump would be elected President. Upon that realization, Jones claimed to have received text messages from some Muslim friends who apparently were fearful they would be forced to leave America. Said fears stemmed from Trump's pledge to temporarily disallow immigration of Muslims into the U.S. until a more stringent vetting process of Syrian refugees could be put into place. While Trump didn't convey the most articulate portrayal of his position, the media fluffed a narrative that almost seemed to suggest he would revoke the U.S. citizenship of anyone practicing the Muslim faith, to say nothing of allowing Muslims to immigrate here.

So when unverifiable affronts have occurred against Muslims since Trump's election, the alleged incidents are seemingly beyond reproach. Just over a week ago, newly elected Minnesota state rep Ilhan Omar (DFL-Minneapolis) claimed a Washington D.C. taxi cab driver called her "ISIS" and threatened to remove her hijab. However, she took to social media to recount the incident as opposed to immediately alerting D.C. authorities or the cab company. She has since indicated that once she returned to Minneapolis she got around to filing a report. Am I saying Omar's story is untrue? Not necessarily. But I agree with my friend Walter Hudson that it doesn't quite pass the proverbial smell test. 

Less than a week before Omar's alleged incident, there was an 18-year Muslim woman who claimed she was accosted by three intoxicated white guys. The young woman, Yasmin Seweid, also said the men yelled "Trump!" while also attempting to rip the hijab from her head. Once again, many media outlets ran with the story while also stoking fear that this will become commonplace in "Trump's America." 

Alas, the Sewied incident has recently been revealed to be a hoax

On Wednesday, two weeks after the alleged attack, Seweid was arrested on misdemeanor charges of filing a false report and obstructing government administration, New York Police Department spokesman Adam Navarro told The Washington Post.

Navarro said he could not comment on the circumstances surrounding Seweid’s arrest. But the Daily News and DNAinfo, citing anonymous police sources, reported that Seweid admitted to police she fabricated her story because she was having family troubles at home.

Interesting that many of the same outlets who were all indignant over the epidemic of "fake news" were so quick to run with this story despite there being little to no verifiable evidence. Stephen Miller of HeatStreet noticed this, too.

(S)ince Donald Trump’s election, social media users have been bombarded by a finger wagging media about a flood of fake news and misinformation spreading online which, the media claims. But the media isn’t taking a long hard look at themselves and asking how and why “fake news” has gained the audience it has. With little to no discretion and all too eager to push anti-Trump narratives, these news organizations hit the publish button on Seweid’s story with little to no hedging that, at that point, all they had was her account. And its faith in the story dies hard. When Buzzfeed published the story of Seweid’s arrest on Wednesday, the headline read “Woman Arrested For Allegedly Making Up Story of NY Subway Attack by Trump Supporters”, carrying more skepticism in the fact that she was arrested for fabricating the story, than Buzzfeed gave to its original report.

These editors, apparently not convinced that Donald Trump provides enough real life clickbait content, rushed off to prove their desired narrative of rampant Islamophobia and hate crimes. If newsroom editors want to lament the spread of fake news, perhaps they can start with how they and their journalists handled the Yasmin Seweid case. Likewise with rape victims in the viral media cases of Emma Sulkowicz, the University of Virginia Greek system or Duke Lacrosse, all this does is undermine their own narratives and most importantly real victims.

Maybe mainstream news outlets and networks will figure this out sometime into President Donald Trump’s second term.

Dunno about that. After all, hubris is a helluva drug.


1 comment:

Mr. D said...

Hubris is indeed a helluva drug.