For the last several days social media, particularly the Facebook newsfeed, has erupted with allegations of “fake news” stories. Don't buy it. The flood of articles alleging “fake news” on social media comes in the immediate wake of the neoliberal Democratic establishment attacking Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook saying his social media site is responsible for #Hillary Clinton's loss. The first scapegoat was a frightening neo-Mcarthyist allegation that the Russian state was responsible for Clinton's email hacks.
Despite the fact that no evidence has surfaced that the Russian state was in any way involved. If we follow social media, they haven't finished beating this dead horse yet either. As idiotic and irresponsible as Clinton's saber rattling at the second largest nuclear power in the world might be, perhaps more frightening is the neoliberal establishment's new scapegoat, the press.
The new scapegoat
As “The Free Thought Project” has previously pointed out, the recent flood of social media with allegations of “fake news” is in fact another chapter in the ongoing neoliberal assault on freedom of the press. The assault began with making an example of whistleblowers. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning is serving a 35 year prison sentence for revealing US military personnel murdering innocent civilians and reporters. Founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange has been detained in the Ecuadorian Embassy for five years without charge for his revelations of the abuses of state power through WikiLeaks. Edward Snowden remains in Moscow under Russian political asylum for having had the courage to reveal the level of illegal spying on American citizens, US allies, and others by the national security state.
And now agents of the neoliberal establishment are flooding social media with allegations that “fake news” caused Clinton's loss. The truth is Clinton and the DNC betrayed #Bernie Sanders causing #Donald Trump's election.
Free press is essential to democracy
Many scholars of history point to the significance of the invention of the printing press in the gradual liberation of humanity from totalitarian systems of religion, hierarchy, and monarchy. Scholars of the American Revolution often point to the centrality of freedom of the press in the preservation of a truly democratic society. Both the “Federalist” and “anti-Federalist” papers that shaped American political thought were originally newspaper op-ed pieces.
Indeed it was largely the newspapers where early American political discourse took place. For this reason press freedom was enshrined as an American Constitutional right under the First Amendment. What the printing press meant for freedom of thought for the European Enlightenment the Internet and social media means the same for 21st Century freedom of thought. This is why they seek to destroy it.
Assault on independent media
Notice that the allegations of “fake news” are only targeting new and independent media sources, mostly internet based. None of these lists of allegedly “fake news” sites includes the neoliberal multinational corporate owned media. This is no coincidence. The main stream media is a part of the neoliberal establishment. It long abandoned any pretense of real investigative journalism. Main stream media, particularly television media, is the largest coordinated propaganda effort in human history. The neoliberal establishment media does not dare question what some refer to as “the establishment”, or “the DC consensus” also known historically as the “status quo.” We watch uninformed talking heads read prepared texts off a teleprompter and are expected to believe that what they tell us is what is going on in the world. We revolted. We turned off the television and turned to the internet and social media, and that is why they are trying to take it away from us. Just as William Randolph Hearst propagandized the newspaper, now the neoliberal establishment is trying to propagandize the internet. We must fight for press freedom.