Korwin: Fake News vs. Phony News – They’re NOT the Same Thing!

Fake News is a problem. But an even bigger problem is Phony News. Do you know the difference? (Photo: Fox News)

Trump’s complaints are often — not always — correct

Fake news, n. An article in “news” media that is fabricated, made up, has no bearing on reality, created by agenda-driven partisans with specific goals, who are served by fake stories they invent.

Phony news, n. An article in “news” media from one or more reporters, which appears to be newsworthy but is actually propaganda and spin disguised as news, designed to establish or continue a narrative that seems neutral but actually embeds a prejudice and represents a predetermined perspective or outcome.

Reporters adamantly reject the definition of phony news because, according to critics, they cannot see the truth it contains. In contrast, fake news is a problem everyone recognizes as a problem.

Phony news has dominated so-called “mainstream” reporting for decades, going back to at least when three networks dominated nightly TV newscasts, which many people can now recognize with the passage of time. The relatively new phenomenon of fake news, identified loudly by the present administration, has been a tool of both the radical left and radical right to influence political affairs. Phony news is the more insidious, since it is more difficult to spot and is more influential. Phony news slips into the mind through unconscious channels.

As an example, congressional Senate hopeful Sheriff Joe Arpaio was recently cast, in the lead of a front page article in Gannett’s Arizona Republic, as “a hardliner on immigration.” This is phony, and knowingly so. He never took much of any stand on U.S. Code Title 8, Immigration, and its lists of who is eligible to immigrate, or why, or who is banned, with extensive lists of people banned from the U.S., This includes money launderers, slave traders, people with communicable diseases, convicted felons, known spies, child molesters and many more, page after page. Sheriff Arpaio was a hardliner on illegal immigration, sneaking past border security, a completely different issue.

This phony spin permeated the balance of the article — and virtually all news coverage about the man — establishing a phony narrative that fit a left-wing agenda to denounce his policies, with vitriol spewed incessantly by the left. While it may be true he overstepped legal authority, there is tremendous merit in having borders, ports of entry, passports, a visa system, and criminal sanctions for sneaking into any country unannounced, staying without authorization, using the nation’s resources, and living criminally without citizenship “under the radar.” This is where Arpaio took a hard line, popular in some quarters, less so in others — including a blatantly prejudicial media (they deny this bias to this day).

Korwin: So Why Not Register Guns? Here’s Why Not!

Alan Korwin, visit his website GunLaws.com.

Similar phony coverage dominates the gun issue, for example. Virtually every firearms-related story takes the tack that guns are bad. This is not fake, it’s phony. Almost all firearms stories cover nothing but crime, yet firearms comprise the number two participant sport in America (based on sales, ahead of golf, number three, an elitist predominantly rich white pursuit that gets exemplary front page coverage a lot). Firearms are a huge sector of the economy, the trade show for firearms is one of the largest in the nation yet it gets zero play — and the industry is thankful for this because it knows what the spin would be. Phony from top to bottom.

Fake news is not the big problem, despite that focus in “news” reports. Phony news distorts your thinking, puts emphasis in the wrong places, imbalances the real issues, and the worst part is this: reporters, producers and editors are immune to this message. They can’t see it, deny it is real when told, insist fake news is why they have lost credibility, and persist in foisting phony news with no awareness of what they do.

This Uninvited Ombudsman Report, “Page Nine,” the page most newspapers refuse to carry (ombudsmen have been fired nationally), has been illuminating phony news since May, 2006, long before Mr. Trump introduced the term fake news, co-opting my hard work. He’s not wrong, it just sidesteps the larger problem. Go read some of the phony news exposes at that link, and don’t plan on getting much sleep that night.

About the author: Alan Korwin is an American writer, author and civil- and political-rights activist whose work serves the business, legal, news and firearms industries. In 1988, Korwin founded Bloomfield Press, which has grown into the largest publisher and distributor of gun-law books in the nation

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • g February 3, 2018, 3:55 pm

    You’ve got the definitions reversed. NPR and Fox are both fake news, in that they, without realizing it, front-load their agenda. They are blind to it. Phony news a something that is completely fabricated, not connected to reality. To be clear the first one is the more dangerous.

  • Nick M February 3, 2018, 8:35 am

    “The relatively new phenomenon of fake news, identified loudly by the present administration, has been a tool of both the radical left and radical right to influence political affairs.”
    Can the radical right phony news be demonstrated in some way? That is kind of a weird term a liberal would use. The opposite of right is both left and wrong. God is right, we are wrong. The more evil you say is good, the more wrong and left you are. It is a one way sliding scale.

  • Johnny Raygun February 2, 2018, 11:53 am

    Concerning Joe Arpaio,… But first let me say I am an avid firearm shooter and owner, a resident of Arizona and a carpenter who watched my industry destroyed by cheep labor from across the border……. Joe was simply a crooked sheriff and took the law in his own hands. He abused the law and his power and was convicted of a felony and sentenced to 6 months in jail. To say “it may be true he overstepped his legal authority” is tantamount to saying a drunk driver may of had too much to drink, both of which are crimes. For a fact he DID overstep his authority and he did break the law. . Concerning his run for the Senate, who is to say he will not abuse his power in that position. That is like saying a guy who robs a convince store will not try it again. …. I can not and will not vote for a criminal to a position where he has control over my life, period. There are enough crooked people in Congress, the last thing America needs is a known felon in the Senate.. Everything else is irrelevant and bad cops are an issue we need to address in Arizona.

  • MK February 2, 2018, 11:28 am

    Is there really a difference between the two – all it does is muddy the water and confuse the mind, until nobody knows what the real truth is except the power elite who create it. Disinformation is the most powerful tool that the real puppet masters have at their disposal – it keeps the people separated, divided and worse impotent in our own governance. George Orwell seriously must have been a time traveler because when he wrote 1984 in 1949 he truly saw the America that we live in now.

  • Zupglick February 2, 2018, 11:04 am

    It’s not that the media cannot see phony news. They don’t want to see it. If they publicly recognized it, most of them would be out of work. Admitting that phony news exists would go against their agenda of controlling Americans. If you look at the historical slant on news, you would see that it is strongly influenced by the political agenda of the CEO’s of the news organizations. Kind of like what the Russians have been trying to pull for decades.

  • Pat Bryan February 2, 2018, 9:25 am

    Then Benghazi and the emails were phony news, not fake news.

  • joefoam February 2, 2018, 8:30 am

    Always confirm anything you hear or read with multiple sources before accepting it as the truth. Media sources want to sell ad space or time period. The more lurid and salacious the better. Fact… well that’s a secondary consideration.

  • Al Friend February 2, 2018, 8:01 am

    Who decided you get to defines the two terms. Webster defines them to be identical. Since you are not a definitive authority, I’ll take it your story is fake.

    • John February 2, 2018, 11:15 am

      Yep. It’s all BS. No point wasting a bunch of time on any of it. Trying to determine if it’s outright fiction, or just slanted reporting, is a great way to make your head hurt. Ignore it all.

    • Johnny Raygun February 2, 2018, 11:58 am


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