CANBERRA -- Are we doing this?
It seems we are.
Australian politicians and news media seem to be trumpeting the Trumpian label of "fake news."
Not the fake news stories which circulated, with devastating effect, on social media during the U.S. Presidential election (the WA Liberals are already trying to find those stories during the state election), but the co-opting of the phrase by new U.S .President when he did not like the content of the story.
Thank you to Prime Minister of Australia for telling the truth about our very civil conversation that FAKE NEWS media lied about. Very nice!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2017
Like a political virus, the cry of fake news is reverberating at a news conference and radio interview near you.
"Fake news" is even being used in an attempt to sell newspapers.
The Treasurer Scott Morrison is the latest and most senior pollie to rail against fake news. He did so Monday in dismissing reports of a renewed push inside the Coalition for a free vote on same sex marriage.
Despite various moderate Liberal MPs confirming the push to multiple media outlets, Scomo told reporters: "I will leave the fake news to others".
Fairfax also stands by its original reportage on the push to get the Coalition to abandon its policy for a same-sex marriage plebiscite.
And Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed it himself on Sunday night, telling veteran journalist Laurie Oakes he had, "no doubt that all of these matters will be discussed in the party room".
It's not the first "fake news" utterance by the Treasure. Morrison last week cried "fake news" while being interviewed about the controversial Centrelink debt compliance system on Sydney radio 2GB.
"We had the situation over summer where we were being criticised for actually trying to claw back debts from over paid welfare. And the even more laughable situation where the Labor party were putting up its own fake news in terms of people affected who turned out to be not what was being claimed," Morrison said.
Scomo riles at "fake news" while chatting to Ray— Karen Barlow (@KJBar) January 29, 2017
Labor's Human Services spokeswoman Linda Burney denied being a purveyor of "fake news" and has vowed to be keep the Turnbull Government to account.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson copies Trump's social media operation and words. She has just begun praising, like Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin as a "strong leader".
But Hanson knows "fake news" when she wants to see it.
Pauline Hanson was asked at Perth Airport about Malcolm Roberts and the Trump tickets."That probably is fake news," she says— Frank Keany (@FJKeany) January 18, 2017
But you have to go back to 2016, before Trump was sworn in, to find one of the first political uses in Australia.
Resources Minister Matt Canavan accused the ABC of running "nothing but fake news" in its coverage of the Adani coal mine as he delayed addressing concerns about the company behind the controversial project.
There is genuine concern about the spread of fake news on social media, particularly during Australian elections, and the blurring of the line between opinion and reportage does not help matters, but a lazy label of "fake news" is terribly see-through.
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