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A "Big Lie" Is Not News

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The author is a homemaker and retired medical transcriptionist. She holds a Masters degree in English and loves to write.

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The public has spent years listening to Donald Trump's lies repeated on the 24-hour news networks. Trump's latest falsehood, that he won the 2020 presidential election, has been dubbed "The Big Lie" by the leftist media.

When and how, exactly, did “lies” become news? If I reported seeing a brontosaurus in my back yard it would not be news, because it’s a lie.

“Lies-as-news” began when FOX news began spreading Trump's lie that President Obama was not a U.S. citizen. Like the brontosaurus above, the claim was a lie and therefore a non-story. Nevertheless, CNN and MSNBC quickly jumped on the bandwagon and began airing the story as well. They gave the story even more credibility when they, too, decided it was newsworthy.

The charge leveled against President Obama, at the time, felt as though it were a slap in the face. Thanks to the media, those of us who are liberal and tune into CNN and MSNBC, were forced to hear the falsehood over and over again until we became accustomed to being slapped.

The lie quickly became a well-established headline story, bestowing importance not just to the lie, but also to its perpetrator, Donald Trump. Trump's face appeared across our television screens day after day, as the media elevated him to a position of prominence.

Trump had now morphed into someone who actually deserved precious face-time on TV. This recognition endowed him with credibility as a person, despite the fact that he was a liar. He went on to win the Republican primary, when he should have been a blip on the radar.

a-big-lie-is-not-news

Trump's fabrications are known to the newscasters who broadcast them. During his four years as president, Donald Trump made over 30,000 false or misleading remarks, according to one reporter who kept a tally. Trump's reputation as a liar has even earned him a detailed Wikipedia page titled, "Veracity of Donald Trump's Claims.”

The key issue is not whether Trump is a liar or not. We know he is. The key issue is "Why did the leftist media, CNN and MSNBC, give a liar so much airtime, even if he was president?" Why didn't they just ignore him and focus on other current events that wouldn't harm the country's psyche?

The answer, of course, is that cable TV is a business, and they are out to make money. In the Trump era, cable-news networks experienced a ratings boom, as long as they covered politics as if it were a public brawl.

There's a fine line between news and spectacle, and cable news chose spectacle over real news when it came to Donald Trump.

I'm reminded of WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), which has reinvented a once-legitimate sport into a spectacle. These wrestlers, with their unique cartoon character identities, are fit, powerful, competent, and well-trained.

But, when WWE wrestlers engage in sport they are not really competing. They are acting. The winner has been chosen in advance.

Their objective isn't to win, but to elicit specific emotions and responses from their audience, to cause them to become addicted to the “sport.”

In my perspective, newscasting is like WWE. What was once news has been reinvented as spectacle or entertainment.

Each newscaster is a hand-selected, highly stylized persona created to appeal to a certain demographic. The newscaster elicits specific emotions and responses from the audience, triggering a range of feelings that include anger, grief, terror, astonishment, irritation, tenderness, and patriotism, that cause the viewer to become addicted to the spectacle.

Also, while you, as a viewer, may have formed a relationship with a particular newscaster, they cannot see you, do not know you, and do not care about you. He or she has the capacity to affect you, while you have no such ability with them. The newscaster's sole interest in you is to earn a living and advance their careers in any way possible. This should cause you to routinely reconsider your position, what you are hearing, seeing, and feeling.

My dream is to see a 24-hour news station regarding news stations. As a watchdog, it would not only monitor the major news networks, but educate the public on what they witness when they tune into CNN, MSNBC, or FOX.

For instance, networks use many ways to manipulate audience emotions. While such techniques and strategies are hidden for the most part, a trained eye can identify, measure, and explain them. This data would give some viewers a sense of control.

Also, it would be interesting, and perhaps useful, to know what the power structures are inside a news organization.

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Trump appears to have faded from the media spotlight for the time-being. Network ratings are almost certainly declining . . . however, I'm on the way-way up. There will be no more Trump creeping up next to me in my house, making me feel uncomfortable. There will be no more mad dashes to mute the television set—and, as you may have noticed, Trump got no face-time here.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

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