The Trump administration’s attacks on the media as dishonest peddlers of “fake news”—in actuality, their war on reality and the nature of truth itself—has some dangerous consequences.
Case in point, earlier today CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski busted a senior Department of Housing and Urban Development official who posted their own fake news on Instagram by falsely accusing CNN’s Anderson Cooper of faking a live shot of Hurricane Florence.
Lynne Patton, whose Twitter profile describes her as a HUD official “working across the aisle to advance smarter policies, less regulation, increased funding, stricter inspections, more preservation & basic common sense in NY/NJ” seems to think that basic common sense consists of misrepresenting the CNN anchor’s demonstration of how standing water can be deceptively deep—a demonstration he that he illustrated using recycled footage shot during Hurricane Ike—as a phony live segment.
CNN’s Jim Acosta saw his colleague’s post and explained why this purposeful spread of accusatory mistrust is so reprehensible and alarming.
This is one of my greatest worries about attacks on the press from the admin. Beyond the obvious falsehood in slamming our storm coverage, there is a danger in labeling reporting on disasters as “fake news.” People may scoff at storm warnings and put lives in danger. https://t.co/nEbxwiFUvL
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) September 17, 2018
After Jim Acosta responded to the tweet, Anderson Cooper posted his own response, a video from his broadcast today fully addressing the ridiculous accusations of staged journalism and “fake news.”
"The idea I am kneeling in water to make it look deep is idiotic." @AndersonCooper debunks the lies being spread by Donald Trump Jr., and others who falsely claimed he and his team exaggerated the severity of Hurricane Florence. #KeepingThemHonest https://t.co/j2HptrYpe0 pic.twitter.com/zwfvIXCsIY
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) September 18, 2018
Suffice it to say that Anderson Cooper is likely preaching to the converted with his rebuttal to the Trump administration in their attacks on him and his network.
Perhaps Ms. Patton and other Republican enablers, including Donald Trump Jr. who retweeted a similar message, wouldn’t be so quick to disseminate a sense of skepticism towards the weather coverage of mainstream media if her own family was in harm’s way. No matter what, however, her actions demonstrate the death of truth in a politically polarized environment and the dangers that such a situation can bring.