Cue “Twilight Zone” music and hear Rod Serling’s voice say: “Imagine, for a moment, if a newspaper ran an outrageous story about Barack Obama with no named sources, and — in the 12th paragraph — inserted a quote from Obama saying the whole tale was made up.”
Can’t imagine it? That’s because it never happened — not even in “The Twilight Zone.”
But the mainstream media does it all the time with President Trump, and once it’s out there, it get repeated as pure fact forever more.
Take the latest “scoop” from Axios, a liberal online publication run by a former Washington Post reporter. In the story — headlined “Scoop: Trump suggested nuking hurricanes to stop them from hitting U.S.” — Trump is said to have wanted to use nuclear bombs “to stop hurricanes from hitting the United States, according to sources who have heard the president’s private remarks and been briefed on a National Security Council memorandum that recorded those comments.”
During one hurricane briefing at the White House, Trump said, “I got it. I got it. Why don’t we nuke them?” according to one source who was there. “They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they’re moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane and it disrupts it. Why can’t we do that?” the source added, paraphrasing the president’s remarks.
Then Axios added this quote, again from the unnamed source: “The briefer ‘was knocked back on his heels,’ the source in the room added. ‘You could hear a gnat fart in that meeting. People were astonished. After the meeting ended, we thought, ‘What the f—? What do we do with this?’ ”
Now that’s a quiet room if you can hear a gnat flatulate.
Axios cites another source (unnamed of course) saying at another time, Trump asked about bombing hurricanes to break up their rotation, but didn’t mention nukes that time.
Way down in the 12th paragraph, the site wrote: “Trump called this story ‘ridiculous’ in a Monday tweet from the G7 summit. He added, ‘I never said this. Just more FAKE NEWS!’ ”
Here’s exactly what he said: “The story by Axios that President Trump wanted to blow up large hurricanes with nuclear weapons prior to reaching shore is ridiculous,” Trump tweeted from the Group of Seven summit in France. “I never said this. Just more FAKE NEWS!”
In the article’s final five paragraphs, the writers say “the notion that detonating a nuclear bomb over the eye of a hurricane could be used to counteract convection currents dates to the Eisenhower era, when it was floated by a government scientist.”
They also note that detonating a nuclear bomb anywhere would be in violation of the terms of the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union.
And that is how you plant a fake news story. You don’t need sources or documents, just claims from “sources who have heard the president’s private remarks and been briefed on a National Security Council memorandum that recorded those comments.”
By 10 a.m. Monday, if you Googled “trump nuclear hurricane,” you got 21,500,000 results.
So, now, it must be true!