Things That Matter

This Society Of Journalists Is Trying To Trademark The Term ‘Fake News’ To Stop Trump From Using It

Since President Donald Trump took office, he has frequently relied on the term “fake news” to describe a myriad of things: an exaggerated headline, a dubious “source” that chooses to remain anonymous. But more often than not, he has used the term indiscriminately to describe the media at large–regardless of a news item’s accuracy.

According to Factba.se (a website that allows you to search everything Trump has publicly said and Tweeted), Trump has used the term “fake news” over 1,200 times since becoming president–definitive proof that it is a phrase he regularly relies on the phrase when addressing the public. 

But while Trump may use the term “Fake News” often, he rarely, however, has used the term correctly. 

Dictionary.com–which recently added the word to its lexicon after a surge in its use by the public–defines “fake news” as “(noun): false news stories, often of a sensational nature, created to be widely shared or distributed for the purpose of generating revenue, or promoting or discrediting a public figure, political movement, company, etc.” 

In other words, the term “fake news” should only be applied to stories that are blatantly and demonstrably false–stories that are made to intentionally mislead their reader. The fact that President Trump uses this term in such a misleading way can work to confuse citizens who are trying to discern fact from fiction within the barrage of information they’re exposed to on a daily basis. And as for this journalistic organization, they believe it is their duty to stop President Donald Trump from continuing to misuse the term.

On Tuesday, the President of Florida’s local Society of Professional Journalists published an article on Teen Vogue announcing that her organization was applying to trademark the term “fake news” in order to prevent Trump from using it. 

According to reporter Emily Bloch, the president of the Florida Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the move is meant to bring awareness to the harm that Trump inflicts on the public when he uses this term so erroneously. And keeping the public well informed is something the organization doesn’t take lightly. 

According to its website, The Society of Professional Journalists is an advocacy group dedicated to protecting the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The organization is “dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior”.

Not pulling any punches, the Florida Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has teamed up with the creative agency WAX in order to bring as much awareness as possible to their campaign. While a decision is being made by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the organization will meanwhile be sending cease and desist letters to President Trump, accusing Trump of “trademark infringement”. The Cease and Desist letter states that the organization believes his “misuse of the term” has “greatly confused the American people and shaken their trust in the journalism that’s so vital to our democracy.”

Although they’re optimistic about the discussion their campaign might promote, the organization admittedly doesn’t expect their trademark will be approved. 

According to Bloch, the application to trademark the term “Fake News” isn’t being done in earnest–it’s satire. “No one can really trademark a generic term like ‘fake news’,” she said in her article. According to Bloch, the term “fake news” was widely being used “long before Trump even took office”. Instead, the organization’s ultimate goal is to create enough of a splash in the national discourse that it gets people “to stop and think about what fake news is, and what it means to them”. 

Reporter Emily Bloch also took the time to explain how labeling all journalists as part of the “Fake News Media” agenda (as Trump so regularly does), dehumanizes them. Not only does it degrade a profession that is so important to our democracy it’s referred to as the “Fifth Estate”, it also casts suspicion on journalists as a whole. Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric about journalists puts the safety of journalists at risk.

Bloch argues that it is no coincidence that there have been an uptick of attacks (both verbal and physical) on media outlets since Trump took office.

Bloch cites a laundry list of violent activities that have been aimed at the media since Trump entered the political spotlight: the pipe bomb sent to CNN and other Trump-critics by an unstable MAGA fan, the doctored footage of Trump shooting reporters shown at his resort, and the shirt that an airline passenger wore that promoted the lynching of journalists. 

So, even if the application for trademark is simply “a joke with a point”, as Bloch calls it in her article, it is at least an attempt to spark an important discussion. When the elected leader of our country consistently calls news stories he doesn’t like “fake news”, he is desensitizing Americans to the true meaning of the term, making them question reality. And when Americans don’t know what to believe, how can they be confident in their decisions?

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The Miami Herald Apologizes For Including Racist, Anti-Semitic Insert In Newspaper

Things That Matter

The Miami Herald Apologizes For Including Racist, Anti-Semitic Insert In Newspaper

@BillCorben / Twitter

Readers of the Miami Herald and the El Nuevo Herald noticed a racist and anti-Semitic insert in one of the latest editions. The column in the insert compared BLM activists to Nazis while talking down about the Jewish community.

The Miami Herald recently published a racist and anti-Semitic insert.

The offensive piece, written by Cuban exile Roberto Luque Escalona, received harsh and immediate backlash. Escalona expresses his displeasure for the Jewish community and those seeking racial justice by joining BLM with one column.

“What kind of people are these Jews” writes Escalona. He then continues to “teach” Jewish people the history of the Holocaust and claims that BLM supporters are worse than the Nazis during Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, because the Nazis simply destroyed things and didn’t steal.

The newspaper has apologized for the insert going so far as to admit that it was not properly vetted and that “internal failures” were at play.

According to an open letter, higher ups at the Miami Herald admit to the insert not being read and vetted by the staff. The obvious overlook led to a 40-page insert of right-wing propaganda to be distributed to the readers of both the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald. Since the publication, the Miami Herald claims to have ended their relationship with Libre, the insert with the racist and anti-Semitic content.

Those responsible at the Miami Herald admitted to not reading the insert before it was distributed.

“We are deeply sorry that inflammatory, racist and anti-Semitic commentary reached our el Nuevo Herald subscribers through LIBRE, a Spanish-language publication that paid our company to have the product printed and inserted into our print edition as a weekly supplement,” reads part of an open letter to readers. “The fact that no one in leadership, beginning with us, had previously read this advertising insert until this issue was surfaced by a reader is distressing. It is one of a series of internal failures that we are investigating in order to prevent this from ever recurring.”

Readers are outraged that the newspaper would allow such offensive things to be published and distributed.

The right-wing conspiracies pushed by Libre are part of a larger Spanish-language disinformation campaign targeting Cubans in southern Florida. The community has been inundated with disinformation ahead of the 2020 election preying on the fears and ignorance within the staunchly conservative Cuban community.

“It’s difficult to measure the effect exactly, but the polling sort of shows it and in focus groups it shows up, with people deeply questioning the Democrats, and referring to the ‘deep state’ in particular — that there’s a real conspiracy against the president from the inside,” Eduardo Gamarra, a pollster and director of the Latino Public Opinion Forum at Florida International University, told Politico. “There’s a strain in our political culture that’s accustomed to conspiracy theories, a culture that’s accustomed to coup d’etats.”

The disinformation is targeting Cubans because of the growing Latino communities who tend to vote Democratic.

According to Politico, the campaign is Cuban specific. The Puerto Rican, Nicaraguan, Colombian, Venezuelan, and Dominican communities in Florida, which continue to grow, typically vote Democratic. These shifting demographics have left Republicans doing anything it takes to keep a strong hold of the Cuban community, even by means of racism, anti-Semitism, and disinformation.

READ: Politicians Need To Stop Assuming That The Latino Vote Is A Monolith Because It Is Not The Truth

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Latinos For Trump Posted A Collage Of Flag For Hispanic Heritage Month And Got Some Wrong

Culture

Latinos For Trump Posted A Collage Of Flag For Hispanic Heritage Month And Got Some Wrong

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Latinos for Trump has long been a confusing organization in the Latino community. President Donald Trump has built his administration and brand to be squarely against people of color. Now, the Latinos for Trump group caused a stir when they posted a collage of flags that are not quite right.

Latinos for Trump really thought they had something when they posted their Hispanic Heritage Month collage.

The first, and most obvious mistake, is that the Mexican flag is backwards. The flag is supposed to be green, white, and red in that order. As we can all see, the collage has a Mexican flag that is red, white, and green. The eagle is even facing the wrong way so someone literally flipped the flag the wrong way.

Of course, some people tried to make sense of the bizarre Mexican flag snafu.

Last year, the Trump administration announced that it was cutting aid to three countries in Central America. The countries were El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Fox & Friends picked up the story but told their audience that Trump was cutting aid to “3 Mexican countries.” Perhaps this Twitter user is right and the Latinos for Trump are trying to suggest the existence of other Mexicos.

Someone else pointed out the issues with the Guatemalan flag in the top right corner.

People are very defensive about their cultural heritage and national origin. Messing up someone’s flag is a very serious issue for people. Just ask a Cuban or Puerto Rican about people confusing their flags. It is never a good thing.

Some people fixed the image for them so the organization can see what it should have looked like.

Good, clean lines with all of the flags facing the right way. The creator even changed the message in the middle for the Latino community. It is clear that social media is still willing to show up and teach a couple of lessons here and there.

Others had a more direct message for Latinos for Trump.

We all know that social media is where things go to be manipulated and made fun of. It is very important that if you make something for social media that you take good care to make sure that you check all of the right boxes and execute your work right the first time.

READ: In A Seriously Awkward Announcement, Vice President Pence Went To Florida To Launch A ‘Latinos For Trump’ Coalition

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