Fake news and the Ken­tucky Derby

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - BY CHARLES HURT

In the stun­ning con­fu­sion of the Ken­tucky Derby as we tried to com­pre­hend why Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity’s jockey had been dis­qual­i­fied af­ter ap­pear­ing to win the race, my first thought — nat­u­rally — was: “I can­not wait to see what Pres­i­dent Trump tweets about this!”

As usual, Pres­i­dent Trump did not dis­ap­point.

“The Ken­tucky Derby de­ci­sion was not a good one,” his thumbs opined the next morning. “It was a rough & tum­ble race on a wet and sloppy track, ac­tu­ally, a beau­ti­ful thing to watch.”

This alone, while highly Trumpian, might have been an ac­tual dis­ap­point­ment for its lack of full­ness and con­text. So he con­tin­ued.

“Only in these days of po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness could such an over­turn oc­cur. The best horse did NOT win the Ken­tucky Derby — not even close!” Ahhh. He scratched the itch. Nailed it! Some­body got robbed. It was a mis­car­riage of jus­tice. The whole thing was rigged. Some­body re­ally needs to knock the hell out of them. Time to Make Amer­ica Great Again! Aside from re­mind­ing me yet again that I never want Don­ald Trump to stop be­ing pres­i­dent, the episode re­veals a larger, more trou­bling co­nun­drum for the reg­u­lar

Amer­i­can cit­i­zen seek­ing truth these days.

When Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity clearly crossed the fin­ish line first and then was dis­qual­i­fied, I was com­pletely per­plexed. I was in­censed. I wanted to know ex­actly what hap­pened. Had, in fact, a great in­jus­tice oc­curred?

These ques­tions are, af­ter all, the very lifeblood of self-gov­er­nance.

I cer­tainly wasn’t go­ing to trust the an­nounc­ers on tele­vi­sion. Af­ter hours and hours of their non-stop boos­t­er­ism of the Ken­tucky Derby, I did not trust them to give it to me straight. They would say what­ever Derby of­fi­cials told them to say.

There was a time when I might tod­dle on over to The New York Times or pick up The Wash­ing­ton Post. But af­ter years of con­stant lies about a story that never hap­pened, I no longer trust a word ei­ther pa­per prints. If I read any­thing in ei­ther pa­per, these days, it is only as a spy be­hind enemy lines, try­ing to pick up lo­cal pro­pa­ganda that is clearly un­true. But horse rac­ing? Both pa­pers, af­ter all, have been breath­lessly spin­ning so many elab­o­rate lies about re­ally im­por­tant things, such as: Did Amer­ica elect as pres­i­dent a Rus­sian dou­ble agent?

If they will lie about such im­por­tant things, then they will lie about any­thing.

There is no topic they will not in­fuse with in­sid­i­ous agenda.

I know a lot about pol­i­tics and fol­low pol­i­tics pretty closely. I can spot their lies a mile away.

About horse rac­ing, how­ever, I know very lit­tle. I could eas­ily be bam­boo­zled by them.

The stun­ning loss of cred­i­bil­ity has been a griev­ous blow to many reporting out­fits that were once widely re­spected. Once your cred­i­bil­ity is shot, it is very hard to get it back. With­out cred­i­bil­ity, you have no power.

You can hear these death wheezes ev­ery­where these days. The once much-vaunted Poyn­ter In­sti­tute that preaches the re­li­gion of “jour­nal­ism” came out last week with a list of “fake news” pub­li­ca­tions. The list in­cluded sev­eral pub­li­ca­tions that produce very good reporting, in­clud­ing a few that have been on the cut­ting edge of ex­pos­ing what a hoax this whole Rus­sia fairy tale has been these last two years.

By week’s end, the pointy-headed poobahs at the Poyn­ter In­sti­tute had with­drawn their list of “fake news” out­lets, ad­mit­ting that they them­selves were ped­dling the very same such fake news.

The re­ally great thing about Pres­i­dent Trump’s pro­nounce­ment about the Ken­tucky Derby is that I didn’t have to go to The New York Times or The Wash­ing­ton Post or any other fake news out­let to sift through all the non­sense to find Mr. Trump’s com­ments.

No, Mr. Trump sent me his com­ments di­rectly — un­fil­tered — over Twit­ter.

Thank God for Twit­ter. And thank God for Pres­i­dent Trump. Con­tact Charles Hurt at [email protected]­ing­ton­times.com or on Twit­ter @charleshur­t.

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