2 Minutes of Mainstream Media Backtracking Really Put 'Fake News' Into Perspective

February 6, 2017

After her surprise presidential election loss to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton warned about the scourge of fake news that gripped social media during the campaign.

In a Dec. 8 speech, Clinton said an "epidemic" of fake news–a catch-all term for misleading, inaccurate, or outright false stories under the guise of news–can have "real-world consequences."

Indeed, it still does.

Since Trump's election, numerous mainstream outlets have propagated rumors or falsehoods before being forced to peddle them back. The Federalist listed several such stories in an article on Monday, including the report that election results were "hacked" in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan; an erroneous report that the bust of Martin Luther King, Jr., had been removed from the Oval Office upon Trump becoming president; and a debunked story that Trump's treasury secretary pick foreclosed on an elderly woman for coming up 27 cents short on a bill.

In addition, fake news has manifested itself in the form of a dubiously sourced New York Times story that Rick Perry was unaware of his responsibilities as head of the Department of Energy, a widely reported claim by a Muslim woman to have been beaten up by Trump supporters which turned out to be made up, and poor attempts to draw comparisons between Richard Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre" and Trump's firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates.