Anything Goes · books · News · Observations · Politics

What Is Fake News

What exactly is fake news? It tends to be a common theme in the last five or so years, but what does that mean? I can only assume, based on the context, it left-leaning (as called )news outlets that do not tell the truth to sway public opinion and how people vote. I decided to do some digging to see how if any, there is a cause and effect.

I broke this down to the makeup of Congress, the president, job creation, and the economy. My frame of reference will be from 1968 – present. The news source CNN considered left-leaning and fake news established in June 1980, CNBC show Americas Talking 1994, MSNBC and Fox News 1996. Roger Ailes created the show Americas Talking for CNBC; he was forced out and hired by Rupert Murdoch to build FOX News. 1996 is considered the breakout of cable news with multiple shows providing an alternate point to CNN.

President

From 1968 – 1996 (Fox News goes on air), there we three republican presidents and two Democrats Nixon/Ford 1968 – 1976, Jimmy Carter 1976 – 1980, Ronald Reagan 1980 – 1988, George Bush 1988 -1992, and Bill Clinton 1992 – 2000. Republicans served two dual terms and from Reagan – Bush 12 straight years.

From 1992 – 2000 Bill Clinton, 2000- 2008 George Bush, 2008 – 2016 Barack Obama, and 2016 to the Present Donald Trump. Clinton is the oddball as Fox News started in the middle of his term and could not have any impact. Given that it still shows two republican presidents and one democrat. Given this data, it would appear that the mainstream media or fake news has benefitted the republicans more than the democrats.

Congress

Congress is a bit different and regional. Typically the Congress is controlled by the democrats. Any sway to this is usually related to how the population feels the president is performing. Looking at Congress using the same time frame as the president, it shows the Democrats have controlled Congress 16 times and the republicans 11 times. However, since 1996, it has been ten times for the Republicans and three times for the Democrats. This would be within the time frame of Fox News to balance CNN and includes the “fake news mantra.” Given this data, it would appear that the mainstream media or fake news has benefitted the republicans more than the democrats.

Job Creation

These presidents inherited a recession and did very well creating jobs; Clinton, Obama, Reagan, Carter, and Johnson. Presidents like Bush, Nixon, and Eisenhower created a recession that did worse. Here is the breakdown from best to worse In millions Clinton 18.6, Reagan 16.5, Carter 9.8, Roosevelt 9.5, Nixon 9.4, Obama 8.9, Johnson 8.6 Truman 6.9 George W 5.8, Eisenhower 4.8, and Trump 4.7 Carter and Trump(so far) are one-term presidents. If Trump is elected again and doubled is job creation, he would barely catch Nixon. Percentage-wise it is Clinton, Roosevelt, Reagan, Carter, Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Eisenhower, Obama, Bush two, Kennedy, Trump. For all Trump’s claim as creating an excellent economy, he has had very little to do with it when it comes to jobs. Since the media can’t influence this, the fake news mantra is moot.

Economy

For the economy, I narrowed the scope from Bush through Trump. We already saw from job creation of Clinton and Reagan was very strong, and there was no need to go that far back, but both had substantial GDP numbers. Bush did very well until the market crash of 2008 (a real recession) and was a negative GDP when Obama took office. When Obama left office, the economy was strong and stable, not in decline or having issues as Trump indicates. Economic growth was 2+%. For thirty-two quarters it was very good with only two dips, and a few times 4-5%. Trump has built on that with ten quarters that are very strong matching Obama but never at any time exceeding his numbers. This statement is contrary to Trump’s, saying he has built the most robust economy ever.  Since the media can’t influence this, the fake news mantra is moot.

Final Thoughts

Everything to this point is not my opinion, I have based it on facts, and I have listed some of my resources. It is also a fact that with the inception of Fox News in 1996, it  was to combat what is considered a left-leaning media, fake news, or the “mainstream media.” The book Loudest voice in the room by Gabriel Sherman looks at the creation of Fox News. It was the goal of Rupert Murdoch to build a news network on cable to compete with CNN. Murdoc was a moderate, and he wanted both sides of the story, and the “fair and balanced” was a catchphrase of Fox. Roger Ailes was not a newsman. He built his empire as a republican operative working with republicans (Nixon Presidency) and in the entertainment field. Aile’s goal was to use entertainment quality, not reliable news sources, and cater to a part of the country Ailes knew could manipulate by his message. Aile’s goal was to be the number one news source on cable, and in 2005 he passed CNN. Murdoch allowed him free reign due to the incredible profits he produced. Ailes’s world came crashing down when multiple sources of sexual abuse brought forward led by Gretchen Carlson. Ailes was forced to step down. Aile’s goal was to elect the next president, those were his words, and he thought Obama was bad for the country except economic numbers do not bear that out. After Ailes ouster, he went on to advise the Trump Campaign.

My voting record is unbiased; Reagan, Bush, twice independent (not Clinton) Bush, Independent, Obama, Romney, Trump. I say this to support the data and not to think I have an opinion one way or the other.

It would seem based on the data, the fake news or mainstream media has helped more than hindered the republican cause. Republicans have done better in elections with the mainstream media, and the democrats have done better for the country economically. That is not what we hear, but the data is factual. Fair and balanced – you decide.

Sources

https://history.house.gov/Institution/Party-Divisions/Party-Divisions/

https://www.thebalance.com/job-creation-by-president-by-number-and-percent-3863218

https://www.statista.com/chart/21137/which-president-created-the-most-jobs/

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/9-charts-comparing-trump-economy-to-obama-bush-administrations-2019-9-1028833119

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