Did Donald Trump popularize the term 'fake news'?

30 Jul 2023 Keanu Harrington 0 Comments

Setting the Stage: The Birth of "Fake News"

It's no secret to anyone following the global media scene that the phrase "fake news" isn't a novelty. If we go back in time, we'll find it lurking in the shadows, sprinkled throughout stories of forgery and disinformation for hundreds of years. But in recent history, this term has skyrocketed into infamy, acquiring a new meaning and a tenacious stir. And the person more associated with the popularization of this phrase than any other is none other than former U.S. President Donald J. Trump.

Sometimes, words and phrases just stick. Yeah, kind of like how a Britney Spears song gets glued in your cluttered mind and refuses to leave. "Fake News" is among those sticky terms that got their undesired fame, thanks to Trump's Twitter handle. Don't distort me here. The term existed before Trump, but the man just knows his way around words. A kind of Don Draper of political rhetoric if you will.

An Unconventional President, An Unexpected Battle Cry

You see, born and raised in New York City, Donald Trump was handed the reigns of his family's real estate business in 1971, renaming it The Trump Organisation, and expanded its operations from Queens and Brooklyn into Manhattan. He subsequently ventured into various side businesses, from golf courses to beauty pageants to Trump Steaks - yes, steaks that bear his name. Yes, it's very much a thing, and no, I haven't tried them.

Funny, whimsical, or just peculiar, the flurry of incidents involving Trump make his tenure as a U.S. President quite memorable. One thing that's especially intriguing is his knack for using colloquial language and a guerrilla style approach to communicating with the public. Trump was a frequent user of Twitter and often used it to attack media houses, accuse opponents, or simply to set the record straight. In this chaotic connection with the world, "Fake News" rapidly became his catchphrase, his weapon, his shield.

'Fake News' - A Historical Overture

While the accelerated popularity of the term 'fake news' is attributed to Trump, it's not the Black Sabbath of fake stories. Misinformation, propaganda, and outright lies in media and politics have been around for ages. In fact, the idea of 'fake news' could be traced back to ancient Rome. But history, just like an experienced DJ, likes to remix things.

The digital era and invention of social media have made access to information easier than complaining about British weather (yeah, I did that). But with great access comes great confusion. And 'fake news' got more misleading and widespread. Trump's presidency rode on this wave and gave it a hefty push. In a way, he's the Klaus Meine of misinformation - he didn't invent it, but he sure did popularize it!

Unpacking Trump's Affinity for The Term

The thing about Trump is, he's got an idiosyncratic style of communication. Unconventionality could be his middle name. In him, the term 'fake news' found its ambassador. From press conferences to Twitter rants, the phrase became his favourite cub to poke mainstream media with.

He used it extensively and aggressively, creating an environment where any news broadcast or publication that painted an unfavourable picture of him or his administration could be dismissed outright as 'fake'. And the fascinating thing is, this rhetoric resonated with a significant portion of the American electorate. It's like a contagious dance craze, difficult to resist even when you've got two left feet (clearly a confession from personal experience).

The ‘Fake News’ Fallout

Though the term ‘fake news’ became a fervent anthem in Trump’s rule, its implications are far-reaching and substantial. Some lauded his candid approach, while others criticised his blatant undermining of established news organisations. The Trump era etched the phrase 'fake news' into our collective lexicon. Neither side is entirely correct, nor completely wrong. It's like marmite, you either love it or hate it, or you're like me, on the fence, probably because I'm too lazy to hop off.

The phenomenon has seeped into all corners of our societal consciousness. Whether it’s Facebook flagging information as ‘disputed’, or WhatsApp introducing a ‘forwarded’ label to curb misuse, the battle against ‘fake news’ has been hard-fought. It has even burst over borders, with countless countries cracking down on 'fake news' in their own ways. More than just a catchphrase, 'fake news' has now become a global socio-political issue.

Lessons to Take Home

In the end, ‘fake news’, much like the wind (and British weather), is tough to predict. Sure, Trump made it famous. Yes, it used to be primarily associated with print media and yellow journalism of yesteryears. But today, it's a multi-headed Hydra, constantly evolving and infiltrating every possible medium. We live in the 'post-truth' era, and we have only just begun to understand what it means.

Fact-checking, critical thinking, and questioning news sources are not just fancy-sounding practices; they're necessary to survive in this age of information. Until then, stay curious and stay informed. Apparently, we all need to channel our inner Indiana Jones and uncover the truth from the 'fake news' ruin.

Wrapping Up: And Here We Are!

Has Donald Trump popularized 'fake news'? Put it this way, if 'fake news' was a noir crime detective, Trump would definitely be its fedora. He didn't coin it, but he definitely gave it a whole new level of fame. Must have been the golden hair, sky-high towers, or compelling tweets that did the trick. Who knows?

But it's about more than just linguistics or politics. It's about the concept of truth in our society, and how it's being challenged, twisted, and sometimes buried under an avalanche of noise. As our information landscape continues to change, the term 'fake news' will continue to evolve. And while it's likely that it'll lose some of its Trumpian flavor in the future, the impact of his use of it will endure.

Seriously though, can someone check if Trump Steaks are any good?