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Op-Ed: Fake News - National, Local And Terrible!

Dec 15, 2017 01:00AM ● Published by Brian Genest

Walter Cronkite told us “and that’s the way it is” and we believed it. Every day.

Back then, we could. Whether we were Republicans or Democrats. And regardless of which person, place or political party the stories of the day were about.

But that’s the ghost of Christmas past. As it turns out, the media analysis provided by my grandmother was more enduring. “Don’t believe everything you read,” she warned. 

Cronkite’s successor, Dan Ratherlost his job due to a fake news story about President George W. Bush. And that was long before it was fashionable. Fellow fallen anchorman Brian Williams, who misremembered getting shot at, went away from the network but is back on cable. Thankfully, no one is watching. 

In Dracut, she’s no news anchor, but State Rep. Colleen Garry misremembers overriding the governor’s veto and voting for the automatic gas tax. This is the same Colleen Garry who filed a two-sentence bill that she ironically claimed was designed to penalize false political information. (Of course, it was really about shredding the First Amendment, silencing her political opponents and making sure no one hurts her feelings.) The additional irony is that Colleen Garry wants to change the very campaign finance laws she was fined $5,000 for violating!

Today, for Republicans, Independents and other Deplorables in Massachusetts and across the nation, every other “story” has our #FakeNews alarms blaring like air-raid sirens. 

Just ask President Donald Trump. He’s continually battling ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, The New York Times and other outlets. Using Twitter and campaign-style rallies, Trump just isn’t winning his war against the mainstream media; they’re blowing themselves up with friendly fire. Just ask CNN and The Washington Post.

Plus, after months of pursuing an alleged Russian collusion narrative with absolutely nyet evidence, ABC News broke a story that had wicked kooky witch 
Joy Behar rejoicing on The View. The only problem is the story wasn’t true: the network apologized and Brian Ross got suspended, but not before the stock market plummeted 350 points. Talk about the ghost of Christmas present. Kaboom!

Meanwhile, 
Democrat resisters and GOP never Trumpers, like Bill Kristol, are standing, um, strong. They’re apparently against the lowest unemployment in 11 years and against consumer confidence at a 17-year high. The stock market is at an all-time high and 401Ks are swelling, too. But Trump Derangement Syndrome is real.

The daily rag here at home, The (Lowell) Sun, takes a more Dr.-Jekyll-and-Mr.-Hyde approach to politics.

The recent special election for the state senate seat in Middlesex and Worcester district is a perfect example. A few days before Dean Tran won, the editorial board decried 
Democrat dirty tricks and made it a point to criticize the party’s approach and awful results:

“The Democratic Party seemingly wants every candidate to toe the line. Everyone must think the same, adopt the party's ‘progressive’ platform, and swear loyalty to an elitist leadership that remains out-of-touch with common folk both nationally and in Massachusetts. Sure, Democrats still dominate Massachusetts politics but the nearly total Blue State tag isn't getting us ahead by any stretch of the imagination. Higher health-care costs, higher housing costs, higher college-tuition costs, higher property taxes, and higher annual state-budget deficits (even though its [sic] state law that carrying over a deficit from year to year is unconstitutional) are the result.”

A week later, the paper endorsed the independent in the race who had zero chance of winning. (Might as well have just endorsed the Democrat!)

But don’t worry. Then, the paper 
celebrated Tran’s election, calling his success remarkable, pontificating about its potential ramification on state government and offering him their stellar political advice. 

That’s called being in favor of it, before being against it, before being in favor of it again. Conviction? Consistency? Kaboom!

Anyone have one of those old “The Sun ain’t so hot” bumper stickers?

Typically, The Sun endorses the Republican for president. But when it comes to local and state offices, the editorial board geniuses use a special formula… First, they complain about the spending and shenanigans of the Democrats. Then, they endorse them. 

Speaking of which, the editorial board on Dutton Street has been drooling all over Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell). They called her a “no-nonsense Senate Democrat.” Indeed. Not only did Eileen Donoghue refuse to say whether Stan Rosenberg should resign, she could smell the blood in the water and is now front and center in the race to succeed him!

Worse than the fawning over Eileen Donoghue on the editorial pages was the lack of balance on the news pages. Not a peep from anyone suggesting perhaps there’s a better choice than Eileen Donoghue. Not a peep about how Eileen Donoghue would be business as usual, Democrat style: elitist leadership continuing to push a "progressive" platform for a party that is out of touch with normal people. Not a peep about Eileen Donoghue voting for record taxes and budgets, overriding the governor's vetoes and engaging in deficit spending. 

Did The Sun contact John MacDonald, GOP candidate for state senate, for comment? Or anyone else with an opposing view? Or has telling both sides of the story stopped, like their press in Kearney Square?

I’m guessing Walter Cronkite wouldn’t be impressed. Neither would my grandmother. Nor the ghost of Christmas future. Kaboom!

(Brian Genest is a member of the Dracut Republican Town Committee. An Emerson College graduate who majored in journalism, he is a former newspaper reporter and editor at the Dracut Dispatch, Derry News and Billerica Minuteman. )


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Opinion, Town Hall politics op-ed newspapers fake news

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