Mainstream Rhetoric Could Be Just as Damaging as ‘Fake News’


In a recent speech, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton claimed an “epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda” has “flooded social media over the past year.” What’s missing from Clinton’s commentary on “fake news” is the fact that mainstream commentators warp many of their stories so much as to render them almost as misleading as fake news. On top of that, they habitually use real human suffering as a blunt tool for bashing opposing views.

Ultimately, this bad habit could cost the mainstream media all their credibility.

Mainstream: Climate Skepticism is like Racism

When President-Elect Donald Trump appointed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, CNN news anchor Chris Cuomo compared Pruitt’s skepticism of climate change to a racist rejection of interracial marriage.

As Scott Whitlock reported for News Busters, “Cuomo ranted … ‘People thought blacks and whites shouldn’t marry. People thought blacks shouldn’t be equal. That doesn’t mean you accept it as fact as a leader.’”

The debate over climate change is abstract. The average layman has little understanding of the science involved. But plenty of us are in mixed-race relationships or have interracial couples as neighbors, and we can imagine what it would mean for a family to be torn apart by the senseless bigotry of onlookers.

But what about today’s most egregious cases of real anti-black racism, the systematic killing of blacks before birth? That’s the question I got from black pro-life civil rights leader Ryan Bomberger—himself a member of an interracial couple. And when mainstream figures regularly trivialize racism by comparing it to such mundane things as disagreement with climate change orthodoxy, it shouldn’t surprise us to learn how they treat men like Bomberger. As he told me in an interview at The Stream:

I’ve been officially denounced by the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, black liberal politicians, and even sued by the NAACP. It’s not surprising that a once great civil rights group would sue me for exercising one of my most basic civil rights — free speech. They lost in federal court. But sadly, the American public (white, black and every hue in between) loses daily when these racial propagandists cry racism exists in every other facet of American life except in the one industry that kills for a living.

…It’s why Frederick Douglass started his own newspaper. Mainstream media refused to tell the truth about slavery. I do the same today, through Radiance Foundation and efforts like our Be A Factivist video series. Our devotedly liberal mainstream media, public education, university system, Hollywood, some churches and political party leadership won’t tell the truth.

Mainstream: Trivializing the Holocaust

When Time Magazine named Donald J. Trump the 2016 Person of the Year, The Independent, a “centre-left” publication in the UK, responded with the headline “Donald Trump was just named Time’s Person of the Year. Hitler once held that title too.” The Independent’s headline was hardly a standalone. Many on the mainstream Left have compared Trump to the genocidal German dictator.

The trouble is that, as British author and politician Daniel Hannan recently pointed out on Twitter, “[If] everyone is Hitler, then no one is Hitler.” “I can’t help feeling,” wrote Hannan in another Tweet, “that when Lefties called Mitt Romney, the mildest of men, racist, fascist etc, they drained those words of any meaning.”

Indeed, if Trump, Romney, and anyone else who even mildly opposes the mainstream media worldview is Hitler, then Hitler himself is a less meaningful figure, and the Holocaust is that much less a moral marker in our collective memory.

When I think of the elderly Jews I’ve known, who still recall the scars their parents, uncles, and aunts carried with them to their graves, I’m tempted to wonder whether antisemitism isn’t alive and well, hidden in the open discourse of flippant mainstream commentators who think so little of genocide that they’re willing to put it on the same level as, say, opposition to their favorite White, Southern Methodist presidential candidate.

Mainstream: Hillary Clinton Cares About Ordinary People

Returning to Clinton’s “Fake News” speech, as reported by the Associated Press:

Clinton warned that “it’s now clear that so-called fake news can have real-world consequences,” an apparent reference to an incident involving a gunman who fired multiple shots inside a Washington pizza shop that has become the target of a fake conspiracy story.

Clinton said the issue “is not about politics or partisanship. Lives are at risk. Lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days to do their jobs, contribute to their communities.”

The correct response to Clinton’s fearmongering about alternative news sources is, to quote the great Nat King Cole, “Your story’s so touching, but it sounds just like a lie.”

As a society, we care about each other. We care about the suffering of real people, and we are increasingly aware that mainstream politicos, activists, and media commentators only care about using that suffering as a promotional tool for their own agendas, regardless of who gets hurt in the process.

Fake news is a shame. But so are the deliberate abuses of the mainstream media, particularly when they use the stories of human suffering for political gain.

That elites toy with such serious matters as racism and genocide, without taking action against it, is immoral and offensive. More importantly, their callous showmanship drowns out the cries of real victims.

Finally; need I even mention that many of these ordinary people are victimized by powerful people who are directly enabled by that same political and media establishment?

Need I mention the Christian victims of genocide whom the mainstream Western media deliberately ignored for a decade, while celebrating their oppressors as “freedom fighters” for doing the bidding of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, destabilizing Libya, Iraq, and Syria?

And what of the black voters (including the elderly and even the homeless) who were threatened and assaulted for rejecting Hillary Clinton in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election?

For those of us who care about true victims of racism and genocide, cynical and deceitful mainstream rhetoric is a constant threat. That is the real “epidemic,” and it is arguably just as harmful as the “fake news” that Hillary Clinton warns against.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author


Stephen Herreid is Managing Editor Online at, and Executive Producer and Host of the CatholicVote Radio Hour. He is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHerreid.


  1. Hillary Clinton should be smart enough to control the authenticity of her messages. It is unfortunate that her opposition is fiercely continuing to bring her down. Trump is without a doubt the biggest false contributor who ever occupied the Oval Office. And, he will not be denied when trying to fill his support team Those minions who spew lies begin with VP elect Mike pence. Pence offered a false reply to Morning Joe when he said that Mike Flynn Jr. was not part of the Trump transition team. Then Flynn Jr. made a story about John Podesta running a child sex ring from a Pizza rest in DC. Trump quietly fired Flynn.

    Chris Cuomo’s analogy for Pruitt may need to be improved. Pruitt is similar to DeVol the new secretary of Education. They enter jobs that require an open mind. Neither has the proper background. Like most Republicans Pruitt seems to have a closed mind on climate change. He should have a discussion with Pope Francis about being a “good steward of Earth”. DeVol has a preconceived notion that Public Education should be dismantled and she is hell-bent to make it happen. My weak analogy is that these two are playing wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    • The ‘closed mind’ is the mind that claims that the “science is settled” (an absurdity on its face) and that climate ‘deniers’ (whatever the hell that is) should be silenced, by government force, and by the mass media.

      Rant on.

    • The voters deciphered Hilary’s message well enough.

      Sorry your side lost.

      It happens.

      You get another crack at it in 4 years.

      Go and be productive in the meantime.

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