Thanks to a large demographic of voters who don’t understand how journalism works, the term “fake news” has been weaponized by President Trump and his most vocal supporters as a way to discredit adversarial reporting. It’s been a successful tactic; self-proclaimed “journalists” now operate on an entirely separate plane from legacy media, and as a result, they’ve been able acquire huge followings and have created their own world where universal truths are now questioned and dismissed using the flimsiest of evidence.
With the President of the United States leading this charge, there’s no reason why agenda-driven journalists in other parts of the world wouldn’t utilize the weaponized “fake news” term to direct the focus away from their own scandals. Now, in the wake of horrific reports of African refugees being sold into slavery in Libya, Libyan media outlets are using Trump’s attacks on CNN as cover to undermine the network’s reporting on the story.
One outlet seemed to suggest that CNN could be sued for defamation in “international courts” over their reporting. According to an article from the Libyan-based 218TV.net, Trump’s slandering of CNN has opened up a “big hole in the wall of international accusations against Libya” regarding migrants being sold into slavery.
The article goes on to state that Trump has triggered an “internal debate” in the U.S. about the network’s “credibility of many of its reports.”
The piece is titled: Trump says CNN lies… what about the "slavery" report from Libya?" Article explains "After Trump's tweet, legal steps could start to sue the channel (CNN) in international courts for its reports."
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) November 28, 2017
Earlier this month, CNN published a report along with a disturbing video showing a Nigerian man being sold in an auction-like setting. The man was reportedly being offered up for sale as one of a group of “big strong boys for farm work.”
After the auction, we met two of the men who had been sold. They were so traumatized by what they’d been through that they could not speak, and so scared that they were suspicious of everyone they met.
The report triggered international outrage and has prompted an investigation by the Libyan government. Nevertheless, 218Tv’s article is a signal that Trump’s irresponsible rhetoric attacking the free press sets a precedent that can be echoed by other less-than-reputable actors looking to gain a foothold in the public debate — which in some cases will only further human suffering around the world.
[H/T Jenan Moussa] Featured image via screen grab