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Sharyl Attkisson Explains Left-Wing Origins of ‘Fake News’ Term in TedX Speech

Sharyl Attkisson during her TEDx talk on fake news
YouTube/TEDx Talks

Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson explained the left-wing origins of the term “fake news” that rose to prominence during the 2016 election at a recent TEDx talk.

PJ Media reports that speaking at a TEDx talk at the University of Nevada recently, investigative journalist and author Sharyl Attkisson revealed the left-wing roots of the term “fake news” that became popular during the 2016 election. Attkisson noted that during the election there seemed to be a concerted media effort to focus on “fake news” within conservative media, which made Attkisson suspicious both of this new term and the mainstream media’s sudden attempts to push it to the forefront of the national conversation. She then traced the origin of the word back to the nonprofit organization “First Draft,” which, she says, “appears to be about the first to use ‘fake news’ in its modern context.”

During her speech, Attkisson said, “On September 13, 2016, First Draft announced a partnership to tackle malicious hoaxes and fake news reports.” Attkisson continued, “The goal was supposedly to separate wheat from chaff, to prevent unproven conspiracy talk from figuring prominently in internet searches. To relegate today’s version of the alien baby story to a special internet oblivion.” Attkisson noted that shortly after this, President Obama commented on fake news, “He insisted in a speech that he too thought somebody needed to step in and curate information of this wild, wild West media environment,” she said. Attkisson pointed out that at that time, “nobody in the public had been clamoring for any such thing.”

Attkisson said that soon enough “fake news” was being discussed on a national level, as if the mainstream media had received “its marching orders.” She stated, “Fake news, they insisted, was an imminent threat to American democracy.” Attkisson posed a question, “What if the whole anti-fake news campaign was an effort on somebody’s part to keep us from seeing or believing certain websites and stories by controversializing them or labeling them as fake news?” It was then that Attkisson began to research who was funding organizations such as First Draft, she discovered that one of the first major donors to that particular nonprofit group was Google. The former Executive Chairman of Google parent company Alphabet, Eric Schmidt, is well-known to be a big supporter of Hillary Clinton.

She added that Schmidt “offered himself up as a campaign adviser and became a top multi-million donor to it. His company funded First Draft around the start of the election cycle.” She continued, “Not surprisingly, Hillary was soon to jump aboard the anti-fake news train and her surrogate David Brock of Media Matters privately told donors he was the one who convinced Facebook to join the effort.” It was then that Attkisson decided that, “the whole thing smacked of the roll-out of a propaganda campaign.”

Attkisson then noted that there was a sudden shift in the attitude towards the term “fake news” — thanks to President Trump. “But something happened that nobody expected. The anti-fake news campaign backfired. Each time advocates cried fake news, Donald Trump called them ‘fake news’ until he’d co-opted the term so completely that even those who [were] originally promoting it started running from it — including the Washington Post.” 

The journalist warned that the public should be wary of powerful figures attempting to influence their opinion and says that these are the signs the average person should look out for to avoid being manipulated by the mainstream media:

  1. When the media tries to shape or censor facts and opinions rather than report them.
  2.  When so many in the media are reporting the same stories, promulgating the same narratives, relying on the same sources — even using the same phrases.

She tated that members of the public should be wary when the mainstream media seems to have a consensus of opinion, “when everybody’s on the same page, it might the result of an organized campaign.”

Attkisson warned that the next attempt to suppress speech has come in the form of something called “media literacy,” where people are told which news outlets should be trusted – unsurprisingly most of the supposedly trusted outlets are liberal and mainstream. What Attkisson describes is reminiscent of Facebook’s “trusted publishers” system which aims to dictate which news publishers should be trusted by Facebook users. “Media literacy advocates are busy trying to get state laws passed to require that their version of media literacy be taught in public schools,” said Attkisson.

Attkisson concluded, “When interests are working this hard to shape your opinion, their true goal might just be to add another layer between you and the truth.”

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan_ or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com

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