A post in the Washington Post getting at the root of Trump’s definition of fake news caused me to pause and think a bit. His Twitter ranting reveals a lot about how he truly sees the world, pulling back the curtain on what he actually means when he says fake news. Here is his recent Tweet:
“The Fake News is working overtime. Just reported that, despite the tremendous success we are having with the economy & all things else, 91% of the Network News about me is negative (Fake). Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt? Take away credentials?”
The portion that is revealing in all of this is the “91% of the Network News about me is negative (Fake)” portion. Demonstrating that he feels anything negative about him, or anything that challenges his view of the world is fake. Showcasing an important tool in the toolbox of his supporters, and the conservatives who share his view of the world. Folks who feel the world is passing them by, and refuse to change or understand the world, are increasingly choosing to bend reality to fit their view of the world, and using it to dismiss anything they don’t agree with.
This allows isolated people who are terrified of the world to rationalize their views, and dismiss anything that challenges or opposes their position. Giving them license, as they see it to craft a world in their view and dismiss everyone else’s views as fake, a conspiracy, or anything else that helps advance their cause. It is almost a defense mechanism in a very scary world of people who are all out to get you, and something that rationalizes your isolation, and position the world–allowing you not to change.
You don’t have to travel, because airplane scanners are poisoning you. Cities are toxic. You don’t have to read, because it is all lies, conspiracy and fake news. The government is only out to get you, take things from you, and prevent you from being free. Doctors all want to kill you. Judges are all trying to lock you up. Your guns are the only thing standing in between you and the world getting you. Anything that challenges this reality is fake. Is a conspiracy. Allowing your isolated narrative to flourish and take root, and everything else becomes fake.
It is easier to bend reality to fit your view of the world than to have to go out in the world, and change to fit in. Or at the least, be able to relate to people who aren’t like you. It is much easier to stay with your kind, believe the tales that get told in your circles, and dismiss everything else as untrue. Ultimately, I think that folks who live like this have been telling themselves lies for so long, they do not know any other way. Not that they can’t find their way out, but they’ve barricaded themselves into this reality and are aware of the bubble they live in, but are too afraid to ever come out and face reality, and the world around them.