Investigative journalist reveals origin of 'fake news'

Friday, February 16, 2018
Steve Jordahl (

Sharyl Attkisson (journalist)If you think the concept of "fake news" started with Donald Trump, you'd be wrong. As it turns out, so-called "progressives" got the ball rolling – and it came back to bite them.

It didn't take long for the mainstream media to start trying to dismantle President Trump. On Inauguration Day, TIME Magazine reporter Zeke Miller tweeted that Trump had removed a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Oval Office. He was wrong and quickly admitted it, but the tone was set. Since then, there have been dozens of examples of certain news outlets giving facts short shrift if they see a chance to damage the president.

Trump calls those reports "fake news" and is largely credited – or blamed – for coming up with the term. But investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson says not so.

"I did a little digging and I traced the effort to a non-profit called First Draft, which appears to be about the first to use the phrase 'fake news' in its modern context," she explains in a TedX Talk (see below).

First Draft, she says, was birthed at the start of the latest presidential election cycle and run by a multimillion-dollar donor to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. A month later, President Obama used the term when he said someone needed to approve the news before it went out. Attkisson recounts that event:

"He insisted in a speech that he, too, thought somebody needed to step in and curate information in this wild, wild west media environment. Nobody in the public had been clamoring for any such thing – yet suddenly, the topic of 'fake news' dominates headlines on a daily basis. It's as if the media had been given its marching orders. Fake news, they insisted, was an imminent threat to American democracy."

But, Attkisson says, somewhere along the way the tables turned.

"The anti-fake news campaign backfired. Each time advocates cried 'fake news,' Donald Trump called them fake news until he'd coopted the term so completely that even those who originally promoted it started running from it.

"In fact, it's now commonly misreported that it was Donald Trump who thought up the phrase – actually it was just a hostile takeover."

So how do you spot fake news – from either side of the aisle? When everybody's on the same page, using the same phrase, emphasizing the same politically biased story, Attkisson says, it may be "the result of an organized campaign."

The journalist says when "connecting the dots" behind fake news, she suggests "follow[ing] the money" – finding out who's funding the sources. And typically, she adds, those who most loudly denounce fake news are the ones most aggressively disseminating it.

"When interests are working this hard to shape your opinion, their true goal might just be to add another layer between you and the truth," Attkisson concludes.

Consider Supporting Us?

The staff at strives daily to bring you news from a biblical perspective. If you benefit from this platform and want others to know about it please consider a generous gift today.



We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details




What is the most likely scenario on Election Day?





Hearing on Kavanaugh allegations puts #MeToo to the test
Trump challenges UN, boasting of America's go-it-alone might
Mattis: Jury is out on women succeeding in combat jobs
Crack in beam shuts down San Francisco's new $2B terminal
Trump says Dems using 'con game' to sink Kavanaugh court bid
Bill Cosby gets 3 to 10 years in prison for sex assault
Minnesota Democratic chairman says Ellison probe wrapping up


Breaking: Republicans schedule vote for Kavanaugh confirmation – and Democrats are outraged
Grassley says he 'is not going to silence' Ford, vows key Kavanaugh hearing will proceed before possible vote
Trump: Dems playing 'con game' with Kavanaugh
High school decides on gender-neutral homecoming
Mega-pastor: Ten Commandments no longer applicable


Cartoon of the Day


'Black Panther' movie: A springboard to the Gospel?

"Black Panther" movie posterA number of churches across America are reportedly throwing their support behind the new blockbuster film, Black Panther