On Tuesday, I was honored to be included on a panel discussion titled “The Search for Truth in an Age of Fake News.” Two real journalists, a tech entrepreneur, a neuroscientist from the University of Pennsylvania and Christine “I Can’t Believe They Asked Me to Sit Here” Flowers engaged in a two-hour discussion of what is real, what is fabricated, how to tell the difference and whether it actually matters.
It does, of course, matter. As I said from the stage trying desperately to sound as intelligent as my co-panelists, “we are all entitled to our own opinions, but we are not entitled to our own facts.” I know what you’re thinking, but Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is dead, so I prefer to call it “tribute” as opposed to “plagiarism.”
The evening was a smashing success and proved that people of good faith and inquisitive minds can transcend their biases.
And in the afterglow of the evening, I started thinking about whether there really is such a thing as “fake news.” But when I came home to hear that FBI Director James Comey had been fired by President Trump, and when I found out the justification for it from the White House, I realized that we truly are wallowing in an era of falsehoods.
So I sat down and made a list of the fake news that’s been bandied about, and not just since the election of Donald Trump – because, as I recall, he’s not the one who said, “If you like your health-care plan, you can keep it” or “I did not have sex with that woman,” or even “I’m not a crook.”
In no particular order, here are some of my favorites:
James Comey was fired because of the mess he made of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
First of all, anyone who actually believes Trump is upset about the botched operation that played a critical role in making Melania miserable for the next four years is clearly one brain wave short of an EEG.
Democrats are protesting the firing because they resent the insult and injury to an honorable public servant and the danger it poses to our national integrity.
What Trump did is troubling and dangerous and the timing is suspect. But that’s not why the Democrats are breaking out in hives. Those opportunistic liberals see this as a way to exploit another convenient PR misstep from the Donald (even though his ardent supporters will act like extras from The Walking Dead and stumble along, blindly making excuses).
Women who wear pink crochet hats care about human rights.
This one is way too easy. Just ask an unborn child. Which brings me to:
Science is important to liberals.
This is partially true. They’re worried about global warming, spotted owls, the rip in the ozone and other depressing topics. They march in the streets and say horrible things about Trump. But when it comes to the science of pregnancy, they put their fingers in their ears and go “la la la. “ They refuse to consider the fetus as anything more than a sack of cells, one that becomes human only when mama says so. As far as life is concerned, science is optional.
Caitlyn Jenner is a woman.
No menopause, no club membership.
And finally, Russia elected Trump.
They tried, they really did. But Hillary blew it all by herself.
The writer is a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News.