The Left and mainstream media have been pushing a narrative that fake news is a disease of the Right, and that it catapulted Donald Trump to win the presidency.
In fact, the non-partisan website PolitiFact deemed “fake news” the 2016 Lie of the Year (in 2015, it was Donald Trump’s misstatements). The publication cited fake news stories like Hillary Clinton running a child sex trafficking ring inside a DC pizzeria or Democrats wanting to impose Islamic Sharia law in Florida as the prime examples.
In the article, PolitiFact’s Angie Drobnic Holan wrote:
Fake news found a willing enabler in Trump, who at times uttered outrageous falsehoods and legitimized made-up reports. Clinton emboldened her detractors and turned off undecideds with a lawyerly parsing of facts that left many feeling that she was lying. Her enemies ran wild.
What Drobnic Holan, PolitiFact, and the entire mainstream media miss is the fact that they have been uttering outrageous falsehoods and legitimizing made-up reports long before Donald Trump ever did.
In the spirit of reviewing fake news, let’s take a gander at some of the top fake news stories the Left and the mainstream media pushed in 2016:
Hillary Clinton winning the presidency
The Left and the media were not shy in sharing their thoughts on who would win the 2016 presidential election. Leftist publications like Huffington Post had given Clinton a 98% chance of beating Trump in November. Other mainstream news outlets like the New York Times gave Clinton an 84% chance of winning. They wanted the public to know and believe that Trump’s pathway to 270 electoral votes was all but shut.
Donald Trump is the worst candidate to ever run for president
First of all, the narrative that someone is the best or worst candidate to ever run for public office is clearly subjective, not factual. However, that idea was discussed frequently over the course of the campaign from cable news shows to the Washington Post.
Donald Trump is not the worst candidate to ever run for president. He did everything he needed to do to win. It can be argued that Hillary Clinton is the worst candidate to ever run for president, because while she had all the qualifications and the political establishment backing her, she still lost. Badly.
Vladimir Putin hacked our election system
The hacking of the U.S. presidential election is a big deal. And it should be a big deal. However, what the Left and mainstream media are putting forward doesn’t exactly fit their narrative of what actually happened.
On Friday, the White House implicated Russian President Vladimir Putin as having a direct role in hacking our election system. President Obama even admitted that he told Putin to “cut it out” when the two last met this year.
Here’s the biggest problem with this story: evidence.
In July, the website Wikileaks dumped thousands of emails exchanged with the Democratic National Committee that showed they tipped the scales in favor of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the primary.
In October, after the Access Hollywood tape of Donald Trump and Billy Bush dropped, Wikileaks started dumping Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails.
These are two obvious hacks that were committed by those with ties to Wikileaks. The Left and the mainstream media, however, run into a wall when trying to connect Wikileaks founder Julian Assange with the Russian government and Vladimir Putin. They go based on hear-say and what people think, not on concrete evidence that can make it more apparent. Yet, instead of conceding that they have doubts that Putin could actually be behind a hack, they report it as fact from the CIA. Note that our intelligence community sold the lie of the decade in the early 2000’s when they said that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, prompting the U.S. to invade Iraq.
One more point about the Russian hack is that it didn’t target our actual voting booths. Cybersecurity experts say it’s virtually impossible for the Russians to not only sway our election, but our voting booths. Creating chaos during the election is not the same as hacking the election.
Hate crimes committed by Trump supporters
Hate crimes are real. Some of them are committed by Trump supporters. However, there were a lot of fabricated hate crimes that now make it more difficult to believe when a hate crime that was committed actually took place.
Take for example, Yasmin Seweid, an 18-year-old college student from New York who practices Islam and wears a hijab, lied to her parents that she was assaulted by three drunk men yelling “Donald Trump.” Turns out, she missed curfew and misled her parents because she was dating a Christian. She’s now charged with filing a false police report.
Trump supporters are never the victims of hate crimes
In the same token that a lot of hate crimes committed by Trump supporters turned out to be fake, there were a lot of hate crimes targeting Trump supporters that were real. They were either reported on and dismissed, or completely underreported by the Left and mainstream media.
Throughout the campaign and after the election, Trump supporters were on the receiving end of vile rhetoric and vicious attacks for their political beliefs. The all-inclusive tolerant Left had zero tolerance for political speech that didn’t fit their narrative or worldview.
Following the election, a student in Rockville, Maryland (right outside Washington, DC), was beaten up by an angry mob of high schoolers protesting Donald Trump because he wore a “Make America Great Again” hat.
Donald Trump mocking a disabled reporter, and thus ALL disabled people
I was a bit hesitant to call this story fake because, in a vacuum, Trump mocking a reporter who has a physically disability using an impression seems undisputed. Not to mention, the initial incident happened in November 2015, however, the story was so dominant over the course of the campaign that it needs to be included on the list.
Here’s a video that can illustrate the difference between Trump’s impression and the New York Times reporter he allegedly mocked Serge Kovaleski:
However, if you recall throughout the campaign trail, Donald Trump uses that impression to mock everyone, including former Republican rival Ted Cruz, who is not disabled.
Once you actually watch footage of Trump mocking more than just one person with that impression, it becomes apparent that Trump may have mocked a reporter for being dishonest, but he didn’t mock disabled people as a whole.
If you feel there’s a fake news story from 2016 that we missed, go ahead and shoot us a line (email@example.com) and we’ll come back with a sequel.