WASHINGTON, June 29, 2017 — In 2010, former Obama administration “green-jobs czar” Van Jones wrote a prescient op-ed for the New York Times. He lamented the rise of alternative media whose exposés concerning his Maoist past and belief that 9/11 was an inside job eventually forced his resignation.
“Anyone with a laptop and a flip camera can engineer a fake info-virus and inject it into the body politic … The high standards and wise judgements of people like Walter Cronkite once acted as our national immune system, zapping scandal-mongers and quashing wild rumors. As a step toward further democratizing America, we shrunk those old gatekeepers—and ended up weakening democracy’s defenses. Rapidly developing communication technologies did the rest.”
Jones feared the democratization of news would heighten the credibility of a new generation of alternative and independent information gatherers while diminishing that of the nation’s ossified, evening-news readers.
Jones was primarily worried about Andrew Breitbart and “his colleagues, whose Web hits probably numbered in the millions.”
Six years and two presidential election cycles later, a study by the Columbia Journalism Review noted,
“Over 1.25 million stories published online between April 1, 2015 and Election Day shows that a right-wing media network anchored around Breitbart developed as a distinct and insulated media system, using social media as a backbone to transmit a hyper-partisan perspective to the world. This pro-Trump media sphere appears to have not only successfully set the agenda for the conservative media sphere, but also strongly influenced the broader media agenda, in particular coverage of Hillary Clinton.”
Not only did alternative, right-wing media successfully advance the political brand of reality-show star and political novice Donald Trump, it served to keep the scandal-rich history of Hillary Clinton front and center in the voting public’s mind.
And social media sites like Facebook gave a platform to disseminate that information to many millions of Americans every day. And this occurred right under the nose of Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, who donated $20 million to various groups determined to elect Mrs. Clinton the nation’s first female president.
It was Facebook that began a frantic search for a term to describe this iconoclastic force which refused to concede to Clinton’s preordained electoral triumph.
“Personally, I think the idea that fake news on Facebook, of which it’s a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea,” said the social site’s stunned CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a post-election tech conference.
Zuckerberg single-handedly resurrected an old World War I phrased used to describe misinformation planted in Allied newspapers by the enemy.
And with that, the media—Van Jones-like—began a relentless campaign against the alternative, tiny by comparison, media that helped elect America’s 45th president.
But old media never stopped to consider that Donald Trump, in a Jujitsu-like move, would use the lumbering media beast’s own weight against it.
And thus, “fake news” became a favorite phrase of the new president, used in tweets and at press conferences, to attack the toothless attack dogs of the Washington press corps.
And with every Trump attack, the media falls further in the public’s esteem.
And that brings us back to Van Jones.
Project Veritas, founded by Andrew Breitbart protégé James O’Keefe, recently got CNN’s on-air personality Van Jones to discuss the network’s relentless coverage of President Trump’s alleged “collusion” with the Russians.
“What do you think is going to happen this week with the whole Russia thing?” asks the undercover alt-news reporter.
“The Russia thing is just a big nothing burger … there’s nothing there,” admits Jones.
This supports the blunt assessment by CNN Supervising Producer John Bonifield, also captured on video by Project Veritas, who called CNN’s Trump-Russia conspiracy theory “mostly bullshit right now. Like, we don’t have any big giant proof.”
When CNN pulled one of its Russia conspiracy stories from its website last week, in which a single, unnamed source’s information proved false, heads rolled at the network.
Needless to say, Trump took to Twitter:
“Wow, CNN had to retract big story on ‘Russia,’ with 3 employees forced to resign. What about all the other phony stories they do? FAKE NEWS!”
CNN’s fraudulent Russia-Trump story, which is representative of the same fraudulent reporting by the Goliaths of the mainstream media in general, would never have been unmasked without the help of those inventive, right-wing Davids that Van Jones once dismissed as possessing only “a laptop and a flip camera.”
They also possess a commodity rare among the mainstream media: the truth.