CNN is the Best Example of Fake News. Here’s Why.
Look at this network’s coverage of 2 “breaking news” events separated by less than 24 hours.
When the sitting President Donald Trump held a rally attended by tens of thousands in Montana, CNN reported on the “breaking news” of…the tirades of Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo against President Trump. Other networks broke away to real “breaking news” – The President of the United States speaking for himself.
That used to be the standard I remembered for decades: when the US President spoke publicly, that was breaking news! When a retired President campaigned for the Democrats in Illinois, CNN did NOT air a commentary about it. CNN showed Barack Obama speaking and labelled it “breaking news”.
Let’s be real. This is a shameless double standard. This is not journalism; it is political favoritism. This is not breaking news, it is broken news. And I will expose both the root of the problem and the simple solution in a moment. First, let’s talk Obama.
Obama is back. As I said to skeptics before, Obama is too persuasive for the “Deep State” to let go of him any time soon. Obama’s return leaves room for the 15-year-old Jewish boy Nathan’s vision to still be fulfilled (see the viral video about Nathan’s Near Death Experience on Youtube).
Obama’s political utility and ambition are beyond debate. He will seek a come back on the world stage. My question is: why do people still believe Obama? He virtue-signaled, “We need more women in charge,” yet he ran against a woman, Hillary Clinton. Obama sabotaged her campaign and prevented her from becoming the Democrat presidential nominee. If he had really wanted a woman in charge, he could have stepped down and made his dream a reality. This is insincere patting-yourself-on-the-back, not truth-telling.
Obama failed to lift black Americans out of poverty. Under Donald Trump, blacks have advanced further and faster. Black unemployment is at a historic low; GDP growth is at a modern record high of 4.1%. Obama broke all previous retired Presidents’ decorum and made unprecedented attacks against a sitting President. He has started campaigning for Democrats before the mid-term November 2018 Congressional election.
In his August 2018 speech, Obama compared millions of people who elected Donald Trump to racists and slaveholders of America’s past. No facts, no economic arguments, only gender-baiting and race-baiting. This name-calling may have worked in schoolyards, but in the age of social media, it will only reinforce to millions of Americans why they rightly voted for Trump.
The problem to address today is: why do some people actually believe Obama’s patently false promises and false claims?
Why will they believe Fake News?
How do people with access to so much information, including some who were born in the Age of Internet, become so easily deceived by this race-baiting and political scam? The answer is simple really. Most teachers no longer know where to find primary sources, most students don’t know how to use a primary source text, and most consumers of news do not question secondary sources or demand for more primary sources.
When CNN covered Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon mocking and accusing President Trump, those characters are called secondary sources. When Fox covered the President speaking for himself, that is called a primary source. CNN chooses to present secondary sources more than primary sources. This is how it builds up the narrative known as “fake news“.
What is the difference between a primary source and a secondary source?
A primary source is the entire original document (like an unedited diary, photo or video) or an unfiltered record of a person or event recorded at the time of that person or event. A secondary source is a filtered analysis or interpretation of a person or event after the time of the person or event.
According to the Pepperdine University guidelines for recommended research resources for journalism: “A primary source is ‘first-hand’ information, sources as close as possible to the origin of the information or idea under study. Primary sources are contrasted with secondary sources, works that provide analysis, commentary, or criticism on the primary source.”
Examples of Primary & Secondary Sources
A piece of original art is a primary source. What the artist said about his own art is a primary source. What the artist’s wife, mother or best friend said about his art is still considered a fairly reliable primary source. What the artist’s competitor said about his motive for creating the piece of artwork is a secondary source. It should be considered skeptically. What an art student who lives 100 years after the artist’s death says about his work is a secondary source; it is so far removed from context that without proper citations to primary sources, it would generally be unreliable on its own.
People need to be exposed to more primary sources. Viewers should demand to see primary sources, alongside which commentaries can be fairly evaluated. In this age of dishonest photoshopping and video editing, even a partial clip of a primary source can be misconstrued. How much more fake is CNN when it refuses to let its audiences hear real breaking news: the President of the United States speaking for himself and in context?
Fake news is constructed on the ample use (misuse) of secondary sources. Even Christians are guilty of not verifying claims by secondary sources. Too often they believe critics who assert, “Trump’s a racist” without checking: 1) who said it, 2) on what authority they said it, and 3) how does that claim compare to the primary source?
The fact is Trump has been a public figure for over 3 decades and many of his friends and endorsers have been black Americans. He appointed a black community hero, neurosurgeon genius Dr. Ben Carson, to the position of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Look at this meme presenting photos from the last 30 years (a photo is a primary source):
It is wrong to believe accusations without finding primary sources. A critic claiming, “He’s a racist. He’s a sexist,” doesn’t interest me. I want to hear the man for himself. I want the primary source. Never once have I heard Trump make a statement that indicated he hated a person because of his race. Illegal immigrants are not a race. Muslim terrorists are not a race. The Left is misusing secondary sources to paint a distorted picture of a leader protecting his borders and his country. Virtually every other leader on earth, including past Democrats, would do the same. America is still very much open to Hispanics, Arabs, and immigrants of diverse ethnicity.
Why do most students and graduates not know how to use primary sources anymore?
Primary sources can sound old, even foreign, to a young person. So teachers simply opt for the easier option of assigning secondary sources, which are typically modern interpretations and analyses of past persons and events.
Primary sources can be delivered without context. To understand the Founding Fathers’ Declaration of Independence or Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, a student will have to learn the circumstances which led to the War of Independence or the American Civil War. Why did they fight? Against whom did they fight? Etc.
Teachers do not always know how to find primary sources. Teaching Christianity as an academic topic is a great example of teachers’ limited resources. The primary source textbook of Christianity is the Bible, yet many teachers do not feel confident to refer to it and don’t know to which relevant Scriptures to refer. The argument of “separation of church and state” is then raised as a canard to ignore primary source text in favor of secondary sources!
But there is no argument against the use of primary source text in schools. Much of what students learn in literature, poetry, politics and history are borrowed ideas from the Bible; it is intellectually dishonest and almost unethical to not cite the original source from which they came. (See my arguments, based on founding father Benjamin Rush’s, titled “12 Reasons the Bible Should Be Taught in Schools“).
Benefits of Using Primary Sources Again
Nothing will give a student a better insight into history than the primary sources. You get to hear distant voices unfiltered, so they become less distant and you become more empathetic to their views.
Nothing will develop a student’s critical thinking better than examining original objects and documents. You will confront multiple, sometimes contradictory, points of view. You will learn to wrestle with complex facts and opinions and come to your own conclusion.
Nothing will hone a student’s independent research skills more than studying primary sources. You will not have to depend on CNN or BBC to get your news. You will know when mainstream media is giving fake news by misusing secondary sources and burying primary sources. I believe this is why the Bible and even Dr. Seuss books are banned in many classrooms (hear me read a banned Dr. Seuss book to my children). What if students read the Bible for themselves? What could be so dangerous? The ideologues do NOT want students to learn independence. They want them dependent on “benevolent authority figures” such as socialist institutions and the welfare state.
Donald Trump the Villain
We the People are learning to distrust mainstream media because we are learning to demand to see and hear primary source again. Professional pundits and pollsters continuously claiming in 2016 “Trump has no chance of becoming the Republican nominee,” then unrepentantly claiming “Trump has no chance of winning the Presidency” showed us how unreliable professional secondary sources are.
Numerous other false statements by the media reinforce the fact that they are fake news: “If Trump’s elected, the economy will crash…world war 3 will start with North Korea…blacks will suffer job loss…the US Embassy will not be moved to Jerusalem, etc.” By overplaying their hand, by over-criticizing Donald Trump, we saw them abuse their power to try to influence us with news. Now thanks to Trump, we see them for what they are: Fake News.
Jesus the Hero
Fake news will remain with us till the end of the age. Jesus predicted it and it is coming true. But back in the first century, they had not coined the term yet. Jesus called it mass deception in the end.
“…the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us… what shall be the SIGN of thy COMING, and of the END of the world [Greek aionos or age]? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Matthew 24:3-5
“For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24
“…because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12
Mainstream media has been peddling strong delusion. We were asleep, but now we are woke.
Steve Cioccolanti is a Christian author and blogger who helps seekers of truth understand the news from a Biblical worldview. Read his personal blog and join his online mentoring program via Discover Church Online.