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"No, Not You. You Are Fake News."

"No, not you. You are fake news."  These were the words chosen by our president-elect to shut down a CNN reporter seeking to question him at his recent press conference. Many hearing those words surely recoiled, interpreting them as an affront to freedom and a form of censuring. I reacted quite differently, instead celebrating the moment that a strong leader decided to hold people accountable in a public manner for their actions.


Anyone who has watched CNN's election year coverage would be hard-pressed to argue that it has been fair towards our President-elect. One might rightly say that they hit a new low when giving credence to a leaked 35 page report that was filled with allegations and accusations against our President-elect that were described in certain news reports as being "salacious and disturbing."  The report's allegations were known to be uncorroborated and thought, even by an intelligence community known to be at odds with the President-elect, as being likely false. With all that, only two news organizations chose to publicize the reports contents - Buzzfeed and CNN.  Enough said, right?

We are living in a time that is so different from times preceding and in so many ways. Years ago news outlets reported facts. Surely they all expressed their personal views but these were labeled clearly as editorials and not news. Over the last decade or two we have witnessed the collapse of fact reporting and have seen it replaced with near 100% biased reporting. This has dangerous ramifications and is a direct threat to our freedom.

In an important book called "Thinking Fast and Slow," the brilliant Daniel Kahneman explained how the brain can confuse information that it hears often enough with the truth. As such, a misinformation campaign by popular media outlets is particularly dangerous. Our President-elect's inclination to be forceful and quick in his rebuttals, utilizing the broad and unfiltered reach given him by social media networks like Twitter and Facebook, is the only way for maintaining any hope of integrity. It should come as no surprise that those who wish to manipulate minds by confusing fiction and fact are those who are most hostile to the President-elect's use of these channels.

When confronted with the continual barrage of unsubstantiated accusations, mostly vague insinuations about Russian influence, our President-elect wondered aloud if he somehow had found himself in Nazi Germany. For those who are not expert in the details of that horrible regime, it was their misinformation campaign that paved the way for their ascension, and consolidation of power.  It was that same misinformation campaign that preyed upon ordinary citizens' fears and worst inclinations to move them to go along with, and to do the unthinkable. Of course, today's U.S.A. isn't Nazi Germany, but if we aren't vigilant in protecting our freedoms anything is possible. Misinformation campaigns through accepted media outlets are direct threats to our freedom, and the only way to counter them is to properly and publicly discredit these outlets.

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