Posts Tagged ‘Cnn’

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“Hey children, what’s that sound… ?”

May 20, 2017

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If you’re near your TV, it could be the unified sound of channels changing all over the country as the click, click, clicks, signal Jeffrey Lord is once again on CNN.

Why CNN continues to interview Jeffrey Lord is a mystery.  As soon as he comes on there’s no reason to continue watching as he is not only completely predictable but he adds nothing to the conversation of any substance, yet alone value.  His answers are lame and transparent, totally without merit. Certainly they must know that they are loosing their audience as soon as he appears.  It’s been widely reported to be the case.  Time and again, he just repeats the party line in the same manner as Sean Spicer and the many other flunkies that Trump trots out to deflect from his many transgressions.  But here’s the really sad part.  Lord gets paid to be a pundit by CNN, as well as being paid to be a surrogate for Trump.  Yes, that’s right he’s double dipping.  CNN are made to be fools, well maybe except Anderson Cooper, who yesterday confronted Lord when he said, “If the president took a dump on his desk, you would defend him.”  Truer words were never spoken.  Anderson is merely saying what the rest of us have been thinking, he just put it in more certain and colorful terms.

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Mr. Thin Skin

February 26, 2017

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Mr. Thin Skin, Donald Trump, the bipolar narcissist of American Presidency, alternately a petulant child or a school yard bully, won’t be going to the Whitehouse Correspondent’s DInner this April. Mistakenly seeing this as an opportunity to “punch back” he has only punched himself in his soft, fat gut, and is now crying in the corner with only insults as his best defense.

Not since Richard Nixon have we seen such animosity for the press, but Trump has foolishly raised the stakes, making Nixon’s transgressions and his attempts to silence the media appear innocent by comparison. Banning major national news organizations from the Whitehouse briefing, CNN, the NY Times and the LA Times among them, betrays a weakness to withstand scrutiny, and openly displays his fear that simply pointing a camera at reporters asking questions that cannot be answered, of an angry puppet spokesperson who must deflect, spin or lie, might reveal to the nation the ultimate hopelessness of his grand plans or give credence to his misdeeds.

Surely, denying news organizations access to the briefings can only be seen as a “punishment,” an act of retaliation, another “punch back” for the media Trump cannot control, the media who do not have an agenda other than reportage.  Does he not understand that it only shows his weakness?  I’d like to see news organizations support each other’s right to attend briefings in an all-for-one, one-for-all display of unity, and boycott the briefings.  I’m sure the room would be empty save for Fox News, the ever loyal media arm of Republican conservatives and their wealthy supporters, all dancing snakelike in a twisted conga line at Trumps wedding reception. How long can the party continue without the coverage he so depends on?

Every president before him has attended the Whitehouse Correspondents dinner, except for the one time Reagan was hospitalized.  In a previous year, we all laughed with Bush as he watched his doppelganger address the audience of correspondents.  And who can forget Steven Colbert’s devastating remarks to the press, now immortalized on youTube.  Yet Bush endured it all with great dignity, and in the process further endeared himself to the public, supporters and critics alike. Even a political figure with diminished mental capacity, Sarah Palin, understands the value of self-deprecation and has appeared numerous times with Tina Fay on SNL. So Donald, you must see that you are only punishing yourself.

Grow up Donald.  You are a sad disgrace to the office and the nation.

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Wagging The Dog

January 30, 2017

Wagging The Dog.

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In light of recent events I think this might be a good time to take a close, hard look at who’s running the country.  By that I do not mean Trump or his children, his advisors or cabinet, or the Republicans in Congress.  What I want to understand is who was it that we trusted to make the decision, already going so wrong,  that we all must live by in this newly formed Trump Nation.

First, let’s look at some hard numbers.  At the last count, the population of the United States of America was 322,762,018.  Now to be fair, I must acknowledge that this was the last census estimate.  People die and babies are born.  The number is always in flux, but it’s close enough to work with. 62,979,879 people voted for Donald Trump.  That is a hard number.  A simple mathematical analysis easily shows that a mere 19.5% of the total population made that decision for the rest of us. That’s 19.5% of men, women, children, seniors, city-dwellers, rural dwellers and suburbanites, prisoners, patients, cripples, Illegals, students, workers, ministers, military—-everybody.

So who are these 62 million?  Well to start with a great number are single issue voters, mostly dominated by people of faith, Christians, “right-to-lifers,” who are willing to compromise all their other principles—ethical and moral guidelines— for this single, prayed-for outcome, in the belief that a man who can make money in any manner, can make decisions the rest of the world can live by.

Next are the voters living in fear that a wall on the Mexican border can protect them from dying in a movie theater or nightclub at the hands of a drug-addled rapist/terrorist from Mexico, and having failed to teach their kids to just say “no”, keep their daughter’s virginity safe and their family from OD-ing on cheap elephant-tranquilized heroin while driving their foreign made SUV into head-on traffic.

After that, we must consider those who feel they must protect the rights of said Latino-terrorist (or anyone else on the no-fly list for that matter)  to purchase assault weapons, in order to remain safe themselves, thereby keeping America strong.

And of course there are the economically-challenged and  motivated voters, who feel that a billionaire who has made money cheating people, by not paying valid invoices, sold fraudulent products and manufactured his goods overseas using cheap labor, can fix our economy and create more American jobs because he believes in “America first.”  These same people bought into the idea that he was the supreme dealmaker, and that he would stock his cabinet with the best dealmakers.  Well maybe that much is true.  Maybe all those guys he nominated know how to get the most from a deal, but the real issue is not how the deal is arrived at but the very nature of the deal itself, what do we want in the first place?  That is not about the dealmakers but is all about the voters.

And worst of all are the hard-line party voters, staunch Republicans all, willing to vote for a flip-flop candidate, really an independent without a plan or policy of substance, who, failing the advice and onslaught of negative comments by virtually every other leader in their party, all people of substance turned hypocrite, voted for the bully-braggart because he energized their base emotions of anger and revenge.

And lastly, let us not forget the fringe—the kooks and weirdos, the right-wing hate groups, racists, misogynists, and in general those still living in the past with delusions of how it “used to be,”  the “deplorables” as Hillary so named them—50% or not, still a real working fraction in the equation.

This is the Trump coalition.  These are the people who now believe that they run the country— 19.5% of Americans, the tail wagging the dog.

But as recent demonstrations show, they are not as in control as they might think.  The 80.5%, the rest of us,  may not control the congress, the cabinet, the lobbyists or the president and his family, but we outnumber them and we will be heard.  When spontaneous groups can mobilize in mere hours and minutes to close airport terminals all around the country, when millions of women worldwide unite in protest against the policies of a man who gets his policy-making information from limited channels on his television, I say look back at Richard Millhouse Nixon, Mr. Trump, you are more vulnerable than he, and we will stop every effort to take our blessed country in the direction of ruin you have embarked on.

 

 

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The Ventriloquist

January 22, 2017

The Ventriloquist.

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It was customary practice in my youth to play games—card games and board games.  Video games were yet to come, but not for me.  Often younger relatives might be playing against each other,  say an older youth playing against a much younger child, a teen against a kindergartner not letting the younger child win.  At some point an adult would intervene and help the smaller child, enabling them to win.  The small child was definitely the winner, but the older child might well be correct to claim that the win was illegitimate.

Today many are calling President Trump’s win illegitimate.  Let’s be clear here, his win was every bit legal, but it was achieved illegitimately.  Candidate Trump paraded himself in a manner that in the long game proved for most of us, that this is an essential truth, perhaps not yet a fact, but still a truth.  If this were not a concern, then President Trump might well be willing to give it a rest, but he can’t.  Yes, we must respect the electoral process, even with it’s flawed college defined by gerrymandered districts, and yes, we must respect the office of the president, but that does not mean that we must respect the man holding the office.  To receive respect you must act in a manner deserving of respect.  Nothing in Donald Trump’s history (go back as far a you like) has ever given anybody reason to respect him, except that he has made a lot of money, a shallow substitute for ethics, values and reasoned thought.

FACT:  Trump was elected with only a 26% total of the eligible voters, not the 46% of Americans as David Axelrod repeatedly mistakenly claims.

FACT: Trump lost the popular vote by almost 3 million people.

FACT: This is hardly a mandate.

And now the measure of his legitimacy seems to rest on the evaluation of his inaugural crowd size vs. Obama’s inaugural crowd and also by comparing it to the size of the crowds in Washington on the day following (but not at the 620 protests nationwide and many others world-wide).

Will someone on the Trump team please wake up this hollow buffoon to a reality that defies dispute. Just because he says it is so, does not make it so.  The narcissistic statements he made on that day regarding the size of his crowd were an embarrassment that he cannot back down from.  And then to stand in front of the CIA (an intelligence agency) and insult their intelligence by denying the very egregious things he had previously said in the most plain and blunt fashion as being a media attack, only added to his lack of credibility, now in a state of total deficit.

But wait, there’s more.  The Ventriloquist, VOTUS, rolls out his dummies, Sean Spicer and KellyAnne Conway to plug the holes in the dike.  Spicer revealing himself to be a complete fool who will say anything he is told to say no matter how easily refuted, and Kellyanne Conway who in the best spirit of politispeak coins a new word for lying, “alternative facts” to support Spicer and Trump in their transparent efforts.

And it’s only just beginning.

Now as supreme commander, he chastises the Park Service for retweeting a Time photo comparing the crowds on the mall at the Obama and Trump Inaugurals.  In the best Orwellian spirit he feels he can erase the facts and suppress further revelations.

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Top: 2009.  Bottom 2017.

Well Donald, it’s like I said, “it’s only just beginning.”  We the American people will hold your feet to your own fire of lies, with or without the support of the namby-pamby, so called liberal media.  CNN being oh-so proper was too shy to call the sea of pink hats by their proper name. “pussy-grabbing hats” and referred to Madonna’s speech as containing the F-bomb.  Why can’t they just say “Fuck.” She said it on the news, it’s just reportage to repeat it.  CNN you’re just a big overrated pussy.  Start taking us seriously and take the news head on.  Call a lie a lie.

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The Smell Test

January 17, 2017

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The Smell Test.

I’m not sure that the tale of the boy who cried wolf is oft repeated these days.  It was one of those fables told to children of another era to instill values and principles about the right way to conduct oneself—moral, yes, but really just plain, common-sense, good advice.

The tale involves a shepherd boy who repeatedly cried wolf when his sheep were not under threat of a wolf.  After a while, his cries were ignored and no one any longer responded.  Eventually, when the wolf did come, his cries for help went unheeded and many sheep were lost as a result. It’s a tale about the ultimate effects of repeated lying and how it discredits personal integrity and erodes trust.

Donald Trump is the extreme example, the epitome of the denial politician, a distillation of decades of evolved strategies of political denials protecting self-interest by requiring absolute proof to accept a belief in the opposing view.  As anyone familiar with the machinations of closed-door, back-room politics and dealmaking can tell you, no one knows for sure but the dealmakers themselves and proof in the legal sense is highly unlikely, if not impossible. As the voting public is left to make its own determination, it often must fall to the smell test, a rather unscientific method but often more accurate than the inconclusive legal test.

Regarding Russian hacking, Trump has repeatedly denied their involvement.  Only under pressure from every intelligence agency of the United States, seventeen in all, as well as nations worldwide, has he finally conceded that yes, we were hacked by the Russians.  He has cried and lied so many times that his current admission of the truth is being being given little attention while the real danger is being widely ignored.

We should be well familiar with this strategy by now.  The most recent and very best example may well be the issue of climate change.  In the face of years of exacting documentation, satellite imaging, scientific measurements and analysis and the confirmation by virtually every scientist worldwide save those on right wing political payroll, a few republican politicians from energy producing and environmental polluting states stand against the rest of the world as climate deniers, to hold the line on energy profits for the lobbyist companies that financed them into office. Meanwhile, the worst floods, the biggest hurricanes, the most tornadoes, forest fires, mudslides and  droughts and rising oceans continue to threaten and afflict our nation and it’s citizens and all the world unabated.  Do we need absolute legal proof, or is all this evidence, a simple smell test, enough?

So let’s look at a series of facts and subject the November election and the idea of Russian hacking to the smell test..

1. In 2012 Rex Tillerson then CEO of Exxon negotiated a 500 billion dollar oil exploration deal with Vladimir Putin between Exxon and the Russian government’s oil company Rosneft. Russia has 63.6 million acres of oil that it cannot access and only Exxon has the technology to make extraction possible.

2. In 2014, when Russia invaded the Ukraine and took Crimea, the Obama administration imposed sanctions that stopped the oil deal dead in its tracks.

3. Throughout his campaign Donald Trump repeatedly praised Vladimir Putin, even lying to say that he had met him and knew him.  Furthermore Trump has indicated that he has every intention of warming relations with Russia.

4. Tillerson owns 2.6 million shares of Exxon. Despite selling off his current shares, it seems that because of many complicated tax laws,  1.3 million shares will likely remain held until fully vested which occurs after he would leave office.  Even if put into a blind trust, any action taken by Tillerson as SOS to renew the Russian deal would line his pockets  to an extreme degree now and far into the future.

5. Trump has withheld all his financial information by denying access to his tax records.

6. Trump and Pence do not have to divest themselves of their financial assets.

7. Trump has repeatedly denied Russian involvement, even in the face of top secret briefings to the contrary.

8. Currently, in spite of CIA opinion to the contrary,  he challenges the assertion that the hacking was done to favor his election and deny Hillary a win.

One must task, “Then why did the Russians do it, if not for that?”

So there’s the smell test…

We know fore sure that the Russians hacked the Democrats and leaked harmful information regarding Hillary Clinton.  That much is a fact.  But the questions remain..”Why did they do that?  What did they expect to happen?  What did they want?  Who benefits?”

We also know that the Russians hold information on Trump that could be damaging whether true or not.  Most likely they have financial information that is accurate, attained through hacking.  But think about this… In the world of spies, disinformation is more useful than information.  The best way to obfuscate a fact is to tie it to a lie, one so preposterous that it is not likely to be believed by anyone, much less reported in mainstream media.  Perhaps a lie that could be disseminated by internet media like BuzzFeed regarding, say  “Golden Showers” in Moscow—nasty, outrageous, funny and virile—but ultimately the understated truth evaporates with the preposterous lie it is tied to and it all goes away.  It can never be proved in the legal sense.

So I ask you, which is the more likely scenario?

Candidate Trump, a multibillionaire who achieved wealth by screwing suppliers, skirting fraud, shipping jobs overseas, who is defending multiple charges regarding sexually assaulting women, (and not coincidentally admitted such on camera as a confessed pussy-grabber), has been caught repeatedly in lies, and who won his nomination by bullying a field of hapless Republican candidates to the cheers of angry mobs, who has incited violence at rallies, demeaned women, immigrants and the handicapped, publicly egged on Putin to hack Hillary and denied the intelligence of every Agency guarding the US cyber networks, that this same Candidate Trump who brags he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue without political consequence, boldly pushing the world record set by Dick Cheney, was an innocent babe in the woods, unaware of the consequences of his actions and ignorant of the facts and conclusions in the face of Russian hacking briefings by the CIA, FBI and others…  that  Candidate Trump,  has nothing to personally gain and is only acting in the interest of the American people?

OR…

The Russians hacked Hillary to help Trump win and Trump and his cronies, Exxon and the Russians will all soon be the richer for it.

Trump may defend his policies and appointments on the “letter of the law” but everything about Trump—his candidacy, his legitimacy, his right to govern, his choices—-all violate every principle regarding the “spirit of the law.”

And now the media falls into line asking us to unite behind Trump for the good of the nation.  No good can be had by such action.  Trump has been a divisive candidate from the start and continues his divisiveness to this day.  “Divide and conquer” is his strategy.  Yes, we must unite, but not behind Trump.  It begins with people of integrity refusing to acknowledge his legitimacy, people like representative John Lewis and more than 50 Democrats that are boycotting the inauguration.  These are today’s heroes, first in the battle lines drawn to stop this deplorable movement called “Trump Nation.”

After Trump was endorsed by hate groups like the KKK, Hillary almost got it right when she coined the “basket of deplorables” phrase referring to half of Trump’s supporters.  Of course that was just a figure of speech, like saying there was a “million ants.”  The other half being non-deplorable (by her own definition) rose up in protest, as if she had referred to them, and she caved.  Pity.  Moderate Democrat that she is, she chose to play by the old rulebook and she failed to pick up the banner and attack head on.  Today as Trump’s approval slips to about 41% he heads into the inauguration with the lowest approval rating of any modern-day  President Elect.  It’s not half of his supporters that are deplorable.  More accurately it’s 41% of the nation.

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The Illegitimate Child

January 6, 2017

The Illegitimate Child

A middle-aged woman is told by her neighbor that her husband has been cheating on her.  She has proof that she shares with her.  Considering the facts, the woman makes a bad choice and has an affair with a charismatic ner-do-well who tells her what she wants to hear in order to seduce her.  He promises her a new life and that he’ll protect her.  Unfortunately, all the union produces is an illegitimate child. It’s a real child, just wrongly conceived.  The child is here to stay.

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We live in a democracy where every four years the adult citizens can participate in electing a president to manage the affairs of the country by setting policy and commanding the military.  Anyone who qualifies can vote.  The qualifications are very low, pretty much you just have to be old enough.  However, in recent times we have witnessed many games played in several states to delegitimize minority voters by the application of voter registration rules towards discriminatory ends. This has been well reported and documented.  It handed the GOP the election in Florida in 2000 that shoe-horned Bush into the Whitehouse and continues to this day.  It is nothing short of bare-knuckles, hands-on election hacking, but within the accepted tone of election mudslinging, insults and lies, it is acceptable practice and has yet to be held responsible for wrongly electing a winner.  Perhaps that is because we do not elect the candidate with the best ideas, policies and ethics.  No, we elect winners.  It really doesn’t matter how they win, they just have to win.

In theory American voters make an informed choice.  Their information comes from media sources who must play the “fair and balanced game” by reporting news that includes both sides of a political argument, all the spin, much disinformation, false promises, deflection, outright lies and smiling denials.  To that end, voters are left to make a decision based on their opinion which is formed by the information they choose to access.  Unfortunately most people choose the channels of access that support their existing beliefs and no new knowledge is attained.  They make an emotional decision rather than an informed one.  The system allows for that.  The “system” preys on that.  If the winner can falsify information to achieve success, they are still, nonetheless, the winner.  We do not question their legitimacy.  That’s the way it works.

So the question I ask today is this.  What difference does it really make where the lies come from?  A lie is a lie.  If we accept that we can elect our leaders on lies, then why should we delegitimize a winner who gains an advantage through truthful leaks from a foreign player, simply because the foreign player wants to influence the outcome.

Let’s be real here.  We need to understand that every nation, every foreign leader, not just every US citizen, has a stake in the outcome of our elections.  Foreign corporations and wealthy individuals donate massive sums of money in every legally-loopholed way to influence our elections and garner influence in future administrations.  No problem, right?  They do it out in the open and we just stand by and watch.  Should we be surprised that Russia has a preferred outcome in our elections, or that they seek to influence that outcome.  I think not.  Is there anything wrong with that?  What they have done is distribute factual data.  That data was assimilated by news sources and put before the American public.  It became one of several factors that affected the results of the election.  It was the facts and not the method that affected the results. Since when have truthful facts delegitimized an election?  Foreign leaders are not bound by our honor code, yet it sticks in our craw that we have been manipulated to make a choice that favors an enemy. God forbid it calls our own values into question.

There are no illegitimate children-only illegitimate parents. We are those parents.

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The Disinformation Age of Fake News

December 21, 2016

The Disinformation Age of Fake News

“No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”       P.T. Barnum

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Job prospects are bright for college grads interested in careers in fact checking.  Donald Trump has boosted the field with his many gross exaggerations, ignorant falsehoods and outright lies.  The growth rate in this new industry is so rapid that the market is having trouble keeping up with it.

Trump, being no stranger to the subtleties of the differences in each form of falsehood, practices all with equal enthusiasm and occasion.  Each day he spews forth outrageous statements that challenge the readily available data that proves otherwise. Despite this, there is no end in sight to his daily false pronouncements.  It’s not that he invented this style of management, there have been many experts before him who have paved the way, but in Trump’s case he has fashioned a new viral form through the use of social media blended with the power infused into his lies through rallies, a form of collective group surrender emulsifying the audience with his monumental ego, producing the current form of nationalism.

One of the his latest claims is that he won the 2016 election in one of, if not the greatest, landslide victories ever.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Whether evaluating his claim by the popular vote or the electoral votes, it is blatantly false.

Of the total votes counted for Clinton and Trump, 128,824,210, Clinton received 62,844,594 while Trump received 62,979,616, a loss of 2.22% for Trump, hardly a landslide.

But Trump’s claim gets even more preposterous when the electoral vote count is considered.  Of the past 58 elections since the founding of this country, Trump’s victory ranks 46th in the percentage of winning electoral votes, certainly not one of the greatest landslides ever in political history.

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Another current debate in the media centers on Trump’s refusal to admit that the Russians hacked the 2016 election.  It’s understandable that he does not want the legitimacy of his win to be undermined by nefarious actions on the part of the Russians, but his attempts to suggest that it could be the Chinese, or a fat man somewhere does not dismiss the data that a hack existed.

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In this all the security agencies of our nation are in agreement, the FBI, the CIA and the NSA. Any uncertainty on Trump’s part as to who performed the hack does not repudiate that a hack was committed. That notwithstanding, the agencies all agree hat it was the Russians.  Trump alone advances the argument for uncertainty, as he alone benefits from it.  In his heart he knows it does challenge the legitimacy of his win.  So just how does shifting the blame change the only fact that matters, that the election was hacked?  It doesn’t.  What it does do, is shift the focus of the discussion away from the facts and into the realm of speculation, his intent being that he won’t go broke underestimating the ability of the American public’s intelligence to distinguish between the two. And the sad news is, he is probably right.

The irony of all this is that Trump won the GOP primary and the general election by propagating  falsehoods regarding his opponents. The Russians, however, influenced voters to a Trump win by releasing accurate, however biased, information regarding the Democrats and Hillary. Say what you will about the Russians, but if the information had been leaked by the GOP, would we be in such a fuss about it?  After all, it’s true.  So ultimately the vote was an accurate reflection of the sentiment of the voters, whipped to a frenzy by Trump’s lies but codified by the truth revealed by hackers.  This should not be viewed as  an endorsement of the method but a confirmation of the belief in the truth of the information revealed. So one might be safe to say, “what does it matter?”  In general, we permitted many lies to go unchallenged but have stoked a large controversy over facts acquired through illegal means.  It seems our emphasis is on the means and not the content, perhaps rightly so.  The content is incontrovertible.

But today, the big topic is fake news and it’s everywhere, from politicians, the media, the entertainment industry and now in it’s final form from individuals on social media.  Fake news has come full circle.  Gossip is the original form of fake news.  It began when an individual with malicious intent inventing a lie that could be spread through simple oral communication, “the grapevine.”  It can be as simple as “Mrs. so-and-so has taken a lover” or as the lie that Lyndon Johnson once spread through his minions, “my opponent is fucking a pig,” just to see him deny it.

A good liar does not have to personally shoot someone on Fifth Avenue.  No, all they have to do is stimulate someone else to do it for them.

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when at first we plot to deceive.”

In both cases gossip is manufactured to influence opinion. Is that not the very definition of a politician, creating perception?  Managing falsehoods can be the most relevant activity in a politicians bag of tricks.  It is performed most effectively through second parties such as media personalities like Rush Limbaugh, super pac advertising, loyal surrogates and paid pundits all furthering the principle of “divide and conquer” through multiple choice “truths” while maintaining deniability.

This is disinformation at its best, an art form practiced by spy agencies the world over, including our own CIA.  It redirects opinion away from the truth, obscuring the facts while creating multiple possibilities.   Like a court with a hung jury, we are mired in gridlock and division, unable to act as required.

Technology has played no small part in advancing the cause of disinformation.  It is the conduit by which a lie takes root so rapidly.  First, the lie itself becomes news.  Then the act of lying becomes news.  Then the spin becomes news, and finally the deflection becomes news.  The surrogates are trotted out to create confusion while the very existence of the lie is debated ad nauseam. If so many good people believe it, how can it be questioned?  It is repeated endlessly, over and over and over.  Maybe it is true?  Like kudzu overwhelming a tree, it becomes the only visible entity. Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK.

And with good reason.  Everybody profits.  The media profits with increased advertising revenues. The surrogates and pundits are well paid. All parties advance their political agenda.

Recognizing the potential in this arena supermarket rags have chosen to specialize in fake news, rags like the National Enquirer.  Aliens are keeping Princess Diana alive on Mars.  Brad Pitt is dating Honey Boo-Boo. Jesus appeared in a dog’s ass.  Elvis was identified at a truck stop in Alaska. Nothing, not even the most preposterous claims, has ever stopped them from going to press with it.  These stories are sold endlessly to gullible shoppers waiting in long checkout lines to buy their cigarettes, beer and ho-hos to return home with their snacks and settle in to an evening of FOX news and Duck Dynasty. This is the new American electorate.  It’s an easy sell for someone brash enough to try and one that pays off with big returns.

Like the best advertising, it creates a perception and then sells to it.  Just as that sale can justify questionable actions, it can also motivate to action or cause inaction.  It is a tool that can create gridlock or shatter the status quo, depending on how it is directed. It encourages the spread of an ideology for financial gain and it rewrites history.

Recognizing this potential, disinformation has come full circle, returning in an exponential degree to the private individual voice as fake news. Fake news, like the National Enquirer relies on the most outrageous and preposterous claims to attract the most attention.  It sells to perception as does the best advertising, and it feeds on the gullible, the innocent, the lazy  and the ill-informed.  The power of the internet and creation of social media gives voice to anyone with a story to share and the most mischievous can profit handily with paid advertising click-throughs, quite the incentive to spread clever lies, but also fertile ground for experienced political disinformation operatives.

But fake news is not a new phenomena, nor is it necessarily untrue.  Saturday Night Live crafted fake news into a comedic art form, but John Stewart and The Daily Show shaped it into a vehicle to comedically present real news and the truth behind it, in an entertaining form.  None other than Colin Powell, when asked in an interview, identified The Daily Show as his preferred news source.

Until the media cleans up it’s act we will be offered little choice, if that choice must consist of one form of fake news versus another.