There's fake news, and then there's genuine fake news
I'd never heard of anything being labeled "genuine fake" until a few years ago, while on a Mediterranean vacation. Our bus had just pulled up to the parking area near the ancient city of Ephesus when I saw the sign above the booths of souvenir peddlers.
"GENUINE FAKE WATCHES," it said.
I think back on that trip whenever I hear our commander in chief use the term "fake news" — primarily because he's using it wrong.
There IS such a thing as fake news, after all. The Onion does nothing but fake news. Facebook and other social media sites are full of it, as are TV shows such as "Saturday Night Live" and assorted others that make fun of what's going on in the news by distorting, embellishing or just plain making up stories — all in the pursuit of laughs, of course.
These SHOULD be labeled "genuine fake news," because that's what they are. The news being targeted by the president — you know, the stuff reported by organizations like The "Failing" New York Times, CBS, CNN, etc. — is not "fake" news, but simply news he doesn't like.
Now, before you get all squirmy because you think I'm going to bash Donald Trump, relax. What I'd prefer to do is point out what a truly magnificent country this is because of the freedoms we all enjoy — and why that may eventually be our salvation.
We can read (and write, for that matter) just about anything we want. We can travel anywhere we want, and in many of those places we can openly carry a gun. We can worship any deity we choose, or even decide to worship none whatsoever. Our skin can be any color in the rainbow and our rights remain exactly the same. And, in many of these United States, we are free to marry a woman or a man because it's nobody else's business.
That isn't the case in many other countries.
In the good old days, Russian people who spoke too freely had a habit of ending up in Siberia. In China, they were often sent away to be "re-educated." In North Korea, they simply wind up dead. Still.
I don't know this firsthand, of course, but I've been led to believe that in all of those countries I just mentioned, the news really is fake. It's what you get when the media is run by the government, so the news people have access to is only what their leaders want them to have.
So, there's another application for my proposed "genuine fake news" label. Not only comedic outlets, but also countries with state-operated news media should send everything out with a bold "GFN" stamped on it.
We require truth in labeling food and household products, after all. How about the information we're subjected to?
And if that were the case, then maybe our president could concentrate a little bit more on leading the country and give the First Fingers a rest from all that tweeting.
Full disclosure: I didn't even consider purchasing one of those genuine fake watches at Ephesus, but I kind of regret not doing so. They looked like real Rolexes, after all, and they didn't cost much more than a hamburger, fries and a Coke.
And — who, knows? — it may have actually kept the right time until I got all the way home from Turkey.
Mikel Kelly, a retired, occasional contributor to Pamplin Media Group papers, is proud of the fact that he's not on Twitter, and he mostly uses Facebook just to stalk his friends and neighbors.