CNN Pushing to Ban the Term “Fake News”
The term “fake news” has become President Donald Trump’s favorite two words when speaking to the public. Soon, it could be that the two words are used a lot less in media printing and other outlets. Before getting into the details, let’s take a look at the definition of “fake news.”
According to publishing company Merriam-Webster, “Fake news is frequently used to describe a political story which is seen as damaging to an agency, entity, or person.” However, the term could be used for other topics and not only politics. (Source: “The Real Story of ‘Fake News’,” Merriam Webster, last accessed November 29, 2017.)
On November 27, 2017, CNN posted an opinion piece stating their thoughts of banning the words “fake news” on all media outlets. The reason for the argument is that the two-word phrase has lost its meaning since it is used on a regular basis now. (Source: “Ban the term ‘fake news’,” CNN, November 27, 2017.)
President Trump is the one man responsible for the words losing their meaning. He uses the phrase in almost all his media appearances or in his Twitter rants. This is more to do with the media outlets disagreeing with Trump or putting him down in some way.
There are a couple of reasons why CNN would consider such a move. Firstly, when a news piece has the words “fake news,” it means there is a prejudice toward the piece (i.e. it is related to some sort of bashing of President Trump). Also, it is not great for the writer or anchor reporting the news because viewers will only look at the headline news; they do not go into all the details or appreciate the work that was put into the final product.
President Trump “Fake” and “Fake News” Claims
Did President Trump come up with the phrase “fake news” or the word “fake”?
One phrase that Donald Trump used very often on his television show, The Apprentice, was “You’re fired.” Now, these were not new words created from thin air. The words were just put together to make a phrase, which resulted in marketing the show and even a spin-off comedy series.
As Trump formed the phrase “You’re fired,” it is quite possible that Trump created the phrase “fake news.” The one claim being made as well is that Trump is stating he created the word “fake.” Both of these claims by Trump are false. According to Merriam-Webster, the dictionary publishing company has said the word has been in use since the late 18th century. (Source: Merriam-Webster, op cit.)
It is easy to conclude that since the word “fake” was not created by Trump, then the same can be said for the entire phrase. Merriam-Webster even went as far as taking to its Twitter page and stating that the term “fake news” was used before the 1900s. In the end, everything that President Trump is saying about creating words or phrases is false.
Our research traces 'fake news' back to at least 1890. But we won't be adding the term to the dictionary…yet. https://t.co/obsCKNu3RH
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) October 8, 2017
Why Is the Term “Fake News” Important to President Trump?
Being the President of the United States comes with three different support groups from the media: the ones that support his every move, media outlets that remain neutral, and media companies that will criticize his every single move.
President Trump is biased towards these media groups based on their actions and how they report the news. For instance, Fox News is a big supporter of President Trump and his belief system. This results in President Trump giving a lot of his support and high praise to the media network and encouraging Americans to tune into the network. Regardless of what actions are taken, both of these groups are on the same page.
Now, not all media outlets tend to agree with the president and his views. Take CNN, for example. They are on the other side of the spectrum. They take their own view and more often than not disagree with the president’s beliefs or actions. When CNN disagrees with Trump, he gets offended and feels personally attacked. Then Trump begins to use “fake news” to refer to the entire network and specific media piece. These are the two words that come out of his mouth once something negative is said about him, which could be a 100% guarantee.
Will CNN Actually Ban the Words “Fake News”?
In my opinion, things will remain at the status quo, meaning CNN will continue to use the words “fake news.”
The purpose of running a media company is to generate as much money from advertisers as possible and have a growing number of viewers tuning into the network. This has been the case for CNN; it has been growing even after the high viewership numbers during the 2016 presidential election.
In the third quarter of 2017, CNN saw its highest viewership numbers in its company’s history. The third quarter of 2017 saw growth of more than 10% compared to the same period in the previous year. This means even though the news reporting between CNN and President Trump seems like child-play, the numbers do not lie. This should help CNN get more advertisers to sign a deal with them. (Source: “Q3 2017 Ratings: CNN Has Most-Watched Third Quarter Ever,” TVNewser, September 26, 2017.)
Another reason for not seeing the ban of the term “fake news” is because of the potential purchase of CNN. CNN is owned by Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX), which has been offered to be bought outright by AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T). The deal has to be approved by President Trump and the U.S. Department of Justice. (Source: “AT&T to Acquire Time Warner,” A&T Inc., October 22, 2017.)
The reason for the approval is to ensure there is a fair competitive environment in place so customers are not in a losing position. However, the problem is that the Department of Justice and President Trump do not want to approve the deal until AT&T has sold off the CNN assets. AT&T has already come out and said they do not plan on doing such a thing because of its powerful brand. (Source: “AT&T Has No Intention of Selling CNN to Finalize Deal,” The New York Times, November 9, 2017.)
From the outside looking in, it seems that the hold-up of the acquisition is being done in order to satisfy the personal vendetta President Trump has with CNN. The fight for CNN shows there is a lot of value and there doesn’t need to be a change to its current business model even though President Trump may disagree.
It seems CNN played their cards well by allowing a writer to write an opinion piece to drum up more viewers to the network.