ME/NA/SA FUTURISMS MENASA FUTURISMS :: 2 - Page 9

respect it succeeded. Unfortunately, it also damaged the British’s credibility so much that when real news was being reported about the atrocities of the Holocaust a couple of decades later, people tended not to believe it. Once you publish fake news, people don’t trust you any more. The fact of the matter is, perfectly reputable news sources are spreading fake news right now. Or rather, in the panic around this presidency, journalists are publishing things too quickly because the things they are hearing are so outrageous. The incident with the alleged Russian dossier on Trump that was published in full by Buzzfeed and then reported on by CNN is one infamous example, 8 but there are many others. The problem is that the absurdity of the presidency makes it all too easy, especially for fake news of a certain nature. In a reality where the President actually asked a black reporter to set up a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus because they must be “friends of [hers],” it’s all too easy to believe the fake news that Trump removed the statue of MLK Jr. from the Oval Office. So then the president gets to get up in front of the CIA and say that reporters are “among the most dishonest people on earth.” 9 People believe that now because there is demonstrably false news all over the place (never mind that most of it was written for Trump, not against him; see Breitbart). Professor Alan Levinovitz of James Madison University explains that the term “alternative” in “alternative facts” is “a Trojan Horse modifier meant to collapse epistemologies.” Branding your lies as alternative facts does two things. One, putting the word “facts” on it and proclaiming them from the highest office in the land is enough to fool some into thinking they are actually … well, facts. Second, and more insidiously, branding something as “alternative” makes it cool, edgy, and persecuted, and thereby more appealing than whatever it was an alternative to. It’s the same sort of patina that alt rock uses to feel cool and young and downtrodden. But now you have “alternative facts” (lies) and the “alt-right” (neo-Nazis) using that same rhetorical strategy to make them sound like the political equivalent of Nirvana--roguish, charming, and more honest than the other guys. An aide to the Bush II administration once told New York Times reporter Ron Suskind that reporters were the “reality-based community,” and that “That’s not the way the world really works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.” Kind of terrifying. Similarly terrifying, during a press conference on February 16th where Trump was ostensibly supposed to be announcing his nomination of