I’m always amused when people recast serious questions about their mental fitness, or their performance, as the product of “fake news”. I’m even more amused when people selectively use the “fake news” label as a kind of get-out-of-jail-free card.
For instance, when people question Donald Trump about involvement by the FSB (the Russian spy agency) in the 2016 presidential election, that’s fake news. However, when the Trump “agenda” is validated on-air by the likes of Sean Hannity and Alex Jones, well, that’s just a hardworking journalist doing their job.
So, I was especially amused when I saw this piece on Fox News.
Fox News reported on Oct. 8 about John Garofalo, a “decorated Vietnam War Navy SEAL”, who wished to present Donald Trump with a gift.
The next day, on October 9th, Fox News began to revive reports that Garofalo was not a Navy SEAL.
Fox News also learned on October 9th that he was not a decorated Vietnam War veteran. The “two Purple Hearts and about two dozen other medals” Garofalo claimed to have received for his service were fake.
Oh, and Fox News also learned on October 9th that John Garofalo did not serve in Vietnam.
Nevertheless, the fake news story about John Garofalo was live at Fox News for 11 days before it was retracted last Thursday.
Let’s be really clear about this: Fox News learned about John Garofalo’s lies on October 9th, a day after their original story ran. Yet, Fox News kept the fake news story alive online for ten additional days. The story was viewed over 1.5 million times over this ten-day period.
While the now-retracted story was live, an anchor said “God bless John Garofalo. We certainly hope maybe the president is listening.”
So do I.
It’s Monday, the 23rd of October, 2017. It’s not a normal day.
You can find me on Twitter at @DecisionLab