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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AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

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AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ted Cruz are at it again on Twitter. This time it’s about immigration policy. After recently traveling to the US-Mexican border to underline the recent rise in immigration, Cruz accused AOC of pushing for a “full open borders” policy.

And of course, AOC got him with some solid zingers.

AOC in turn hit back at Cruz for recently fleeing his home state of Texas during its power grid collapse to vacation in Cancún.

In response to Cruz’s attack, AOC suggested Mexico avoid allowing Cruz in the next time he attempts to vacation there. She also called on him to resign from office for his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“Ted, this is pretty rich coming from someone who fled their own home (and responsibilities) during an environmental crisis to cross the border and seek refuge in Mexico,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Also you funded cages, expanded cages, and yet you’re complaining about cages. You have no policy, just puff.”

Ocasio-Cortez accused Republicans of hypocritically attacking the current administration’s detention of migrant children at the border after they supported President Donald Trump’s policy of separating migrant parents from their children.

Currently, Democrats like AOC are calling on Biden to impliment more liberal immigration policies.

Republicans have strongly expressed their dislike for the recent rise in migrants which has come as a result of Biden’s reversal of Trump’s most rigid border policies.

AOC is currently a co-sponsor of the Roadmap to Freedom resolution. The resolution calls on the Federal Government to develop and implement a Roadmap to Freedom “in order to overhaul the outdated immigration system in the United States that has gone without significant reform for decades, and to relieve the great human impact an unjust system bears on communities around the country.”

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From COVID To Elections, Here’s Why Misinformation Targets Latinos

Things That Matter

From COVID To Elections, Here’s Why Misinformation Targets Latinos

One of the big surprises of the 2020 election was how even though most Latino voters across the U.S. voted for Joe Biden, in some counties of competitive states like Florida and Texas, a higher-than-expected percentage of Latinos supported Donald Trump. One factor that many believe played a role: online misinformation about the Democratic candidate.

Another important subject that’s been victim of a massive misinformation campaign is the Coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing vaccination program. But why does #fakenews so heavily target the Latino community?

Since the 2020 campaign, a large misinformation campaign has target Latinos.

Although fake news is nothing new, in the campaign leading up to the 2020 elections it morphed into something more sinister – a campaign to influence Latino voters with false information. The largely undetected movement helped depress turnout and spread disinformation about Democrat Joe Biden.

The effort showed how social media and other technology can be leveraged to spread misinformation so quickly that those trying to stop it cannot keep up. There were signs that it worked as Donald Trump swung large numbers of Latino votes in the 2020 presidential race in some areas that had been Democratic strongholds.

Videos and pictures were doctored. Quotes were taken out of context. Conspiracy theories were fanned, including that voting by mail was rigged, that the Black Lives Matter movement had ties to witchcraft and that Biden was beholden to a cabal of socialists.

That flow of misinformation has only intensified since Election Day, researchers and political analysts say, stoking Trump’s baseless claims that the election was stolen and false narratives around the mob that overran the Capitol. More recently, it has morphed into efforts to undermine vaccination efforts against the coronavirus.

The misinformation campaign could have major impacts on our politics.

Several misinformation researchers say there is an alarming amount of misinformation about voter fraud and Democratic leaders being shared in Latino social media communities. Biden is a popular target, with misinformation ranging from exaggerated claims that he embraces Fidel Castro-style socialism to more patently false and outlandish ones, for instance that the president-elect supports abortion minutes before a child’s birth or that he orchestrated a caravan of Cuban immigrants to infiltrate the US Southern border and disrupt the election process.

Democratic strategists looking ahead to the 2022 midterm elections are concerned about how this might sway Latino voters in the future. They acknowledge that conservatives in traditional media and the political establishment have pushed false narratives as well, but say that social media misinformation deserves special attention: It appears to be a growing problem, and it can be hard to track and understand.

Some believe that Latinos may be more likely to believe a message shared by friends, family members, or people from their cultural community in a WhatsApp or Telegram group rather than an arbitrary mainstream US news outlet; research has found that people believe news articles more when they’re shared by people they trust.

Fake news is also impacting our community’s response to the pandemic.

Vaccination programs work best when as many people as possible get vaccinated, but Latinos in the United States are getting inoculated at lower rates.

In Florida, for example, Latinos are 27% of the population but they’ve made up only about 17% of COVID-19 vaccinations so far, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. And Latinos are relying on social media and word-of-mouth for information on vaccines — even when it’s wrong. There’s myths circulating around the vaccine, whether you can trust it and the possible the long-term effects.

And it’s not just obstacles to getting information in Spanish, but also in many of the native Mayan indigenous languages that farmworkers speak in South Florida.

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