More than seventy years ago, Hitler sent out orders from the Fuhrerbunker to exterminate the Jews, to wage war on the Allies and to eliminate his opponents at home. All from his own personal telephone. At the end of the war, the phone was given to a British brigadier by the Russians, where it remained a family heirloom. Until now.
The brigadiers family decided to sell the historic telephone, hoping to get about $300,000. The final sale price isn’t disclosed, but we do know who bought it. President Donald J Trump splashed out the cash, installing the still functioning relic in the Oval Office in the White House.
Leaks from White House insiders claim that Trump and Steve Bannon spent an entire morning taking turns using the phone to make prank ‘guess who’ calls to synagogues and holocaust organisations. Later that afternoon, Trump called Merkel and Putin from Hitler’s phone, just to brag a little bit about how much the phone cost. According to Trump, the final cost was $450,000, 6 million Jews, 10 million Germans and double that in Russians. But, like, TOTALLY worth it.
Hopefully by now you have correctly identified this as fake news. Like any good fake news story worth its salt, it begins with a reality based fact and a decent source and then it takes on a fictional life of its own. This is real fake news. Not the ‘news I don’t like’ type of thing that Trump incorrectly refers to a fake news. There’s a wide range of ‘real’ news producers, and it is true that all are not equal in the quality stakes. Mistakes will be made, bias confirmed and agendas will be followed. But these aspects do not make it ‘fake news’.
Real fake news has traditionally been click-bait headlines designed solely to get internet users loading up advert filled pages. But, in my humble opinion, it has evolved to include the memes that are so popular on Facebook and Twitter. These days, fake news and trolling often seem to go hand in hand, spreading misinformation across the web like a virus.
It is out of control. But fake news is not the NYT, it’s not the BBC and it’s not CNN. It is us, the end users of social media. Yup, we ‘the people’ are the fake news. Or at least some of us. And our self appointed leader, the emperor of fake news, the undisputed Twitter king of false stories and alternative facts is none other that @realdonaldtrump. Now also posting under the pseudonym @POTUS, and currently attempting to branch out to new platforms such as the White House Press Secretary.
Indeed. There is a troll in the White House. It’s fascinating to watch, but imagine how it will look decades down the road. School kids in history class will struggle to recall if it was ‘a twitter troll in the White House’ or a ‘whitey troll in the twit house’, because both will make perfect sense.
I’m equally fascinated by the efforts of Trump’s smarter followers to make sense of his presidency and justify their faith in him. Can we call them ‘alt-intellectuals’? Well, I will then. They invest time and energy interpreting Trump’s many contradictory statements, bizarre behaviour and narcissism. It’s an exercise in psycho analysis.
Sigmund Freud would salute their efforts. And would then point out the awkward probability that if you need to resort to psycho analysis, then it probably means your subject is nuts. But Freud is dead, so I’ll do the job for him. Trump’s office is chaotic because he does not have the necessary skillset or competencies to run the office. He makes false statements largely because he’s making it up as he goes along.
His relationship with the media is so sour because he is a thoughtless, prejudiced man who keeps giving them ammunition. If the papers were failing before, they’re doing better now. His dealings with fellow Republicans is so difficult because he is so thoroughly obtuse and offensive. His ratings are so low because most decent people see him for what he is – the opposite of decent. It’s as simple as that. It’s not science.*
And whilst he complains incessantly about fake news, Donald Trump is the godfather of fake news on the internet today.
* And for those of you who think that it is, you’re not paying attention. Trump just abolished science…