Editor’s Note: This is another in our new series of guest columns on current events. Once again, here’s the infamous Rudyard “Duke” Milhaus, of the Sports Desk .
Huddle up, gather round, people!
There’s a new playbook being used. It’s not the prettiest set of plays ever to hit the field, but the Opposition started it and now everyone’s picking up on it, so we’re gonna have to learn it too. It’s called the “Fake News Play”.
Pretend you’re a coach, one with no chance at a touchdown. What you do is, you throw an option play on the field in hopes of getting a first down. Now, this is exactly what the “Fake News Play” does right to a tee.
Look here: All of the news you get has been skewed. That’s all news from anywhere. It’s reported with authority and pretends to be perfectly true, but there’s always a personal opinion, a bias, or just plain malicious intent. Whatever. Point is, the only unbiased news you ever see is the box scores, and that only just. But all of it, every scrap, still remains the facts — at least in part. It’s up to us to separate those facts from all the opinion. With me so far?
Now, the “Fake News Play” is simple. It was invented by CNN back a few years ago in their big match-up against Fox. You don’t like the facts behind what the other guy is saying, you point at the opinion and the bias and the slant and you call it all fake. That way, folks get fooled into throwing the opinion and the facts all out together. Then you’ve stopped the play with no gain, and if your defense is quick enough, you might even pull off an interception. And that’s a turnover, and maybe a big gain for your team, right?
Trouble is, it worked so well, all sides are using it almost exclusively. The running backs are playing it against the line, the cheerleaders are messing with the quarterback, and now even the refs are getting sucked in. We’ve got us a wild chaotic situation going on right now, and the political spectrum has been shaken up like a sacked quarterback. Everyone is against everyone else and all of them are the Opposition, and that means you almost never get to see any of what we think of as actual news.
So what we’re gonna do is mix it up a bit. We know they’re gonna run the “Fake News Play”, so we run the opposite. And the first thing we do is, we ignore everything from the sidelines; those cheerleaders are only there to distract you, with those skimpy outfits and funny memes. They may promise a lot but they never deliver, so just ignore ’em. Keep your eye on the ball and watch out for yourself.
This is the tough part: What you’re gonna have to do is start coming up with your own playbook. It’s harder than ever to find trustworthy sources these days, but don’t let that stop you. Research, scout out the other teams, and refine your plays from what you see and know for sure to be true. Somebody tries to fake you out? Remember them, and watch ’em real careful in the future. You gotta bear in mind, there’s nobody you can trust absolutely; every one of ’em has a bias of their own, even me. Hell, this started with CNN and now even the government’s got in on it! Don’t let anyone else — and I mean this, anyone — write all your plays for you.
Bottom line: What is the real news, and what are the facts? Well, hell, son; I can coach you and even call some of the plays, but I’m not here to think for you. You’ve got to figure some things out for yourself, and if sometimes that means you go right exactly opposite of the way I tell you, well… so be it. You’ll be wrong, but wrong on your own terms, and that beats being led around on a string.
Thing is, the truth is still out there, and I’ve got faith in you. You’ve been playing this game a while now; trust your instincts, and stay suspicious. You see something that’s too good to be true, or too bad to be possible, and it probably is. Keep thinking for yourself all the time.
It can be daunting, that’s no lie, but in the end, remember: Even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won a Super Bowl once, and you’re better’n them any day.
We’re all counting on you now, so get out there and show us what you can do!
Before “Duke” Milhaus began writing columns for us, we had no clue about sportsball, neither its rules nor its use as a handy metaphor for politics. Today, we still don’t understand sportsball, but now we can be ignorant in style.
Image is from the Doonesbury strip dated December 28, 1999 and has nothing whatsoever to do with this article or its creators. Just like the last time, it must have gotten in by mistake or something. In any case, it’s the property of its creator, G.B. Trudeau, and can be accessed via GoComics. We’re told “Uncle Duke” is nothing like Hunter S. Thompson either.