Donald Trump and his minions will never admit that the nation's most dominant producer of "fake news" is not CNN, and it's certainly not The New York Times or The Washington Post.
The traditional press makes its fair share of mistakes, as any sector of every industry does every damn day -- literally every corporation, every non-profit, every institution makes mistakes. The reputable members of the press, for its part, issue routine corrections of its errors.
The distinguishing feature of actual fake news is the cynically deliberate nature of it. And in that regard, the entity most responsible for fake news is Trump and everyone close to Trump. Donald Trump and his political machine do it all the time. Trump himself is responsible for literally hundreds of obvious lies and fakery. Most recently, the Trump White House lied when it issued a statement suggesting Trump missed a series of armistice and Veterans Day ceremonies because of motorcade traffic and drizzle. None of that is true. Everything from "no collusion" to "protecting pre-existing conditions" are all lies.
Likewise, Trump's tweets represent an ongoing conveyor belt of lies. However, the second place contender for lying on Twitter, proving the mendacious orange doesn't fall far from the mendacious tree, is Donald Trump Jr., naturally.
A tweet posted by Junior on Monday is busily circulating the globe several times, polluting the minds of every Red Hat who receives it.
Note the 3,900 retweets as of Monday at dusk.
Alarming, isn't it? An NBC affiliate in Miami is reporting that 200,000 non-citizens cast ballots in the 2018 midterms, and they did so in a hotly contested election in which the Trumps are seeing all kinds of invisible enemies. The article also manages to reinforce Trump's ridiculous conspiracy theory that three million non-citizens voted illegally in California during the previous election, erasing Hillary Clinton's considerable victory in the popular vote.
Could it be true? Could all of those Trump tweets about California and the shenanigans in Florida be true?
As you might expect, there are several problems with Junior's tweet. And anyone who clicked on Junior's link will spot it right away. Junior, on the other hand, didn't. We'll circle back to Junior in a second.
1) The article was originally published in 2012 -- six years ago. Whoops. How do I know this? The dateline for one. Also, the bold text at the top of the article noting the article was originally published in 2012.
2) The "editor's note" also revises down the 200,000 non-citizen figure. The actual number of possible non-citizen votes (in the 2012 election) was actually 85.
3) One more thing. Those 85 people? They didn't vote. Florida election officials merely noted that 85 non-citizens were on voter rolls in August, 2012 and were subsequently removed. This means the actual number of non-citizen voters in Florida during the 2012 election were zero. None.
But none of the actual facts matter. Junior and his Dad don't care about the details because scaring and enraging their racist base is more important than facts. Facts are unfortunately obstacles in the path of Trump's populist movement. He needs people to be afraid and angry for his movement to flourish. For this to happen, he needs to invent fake news as fuel for the rage-tanks of the Red Hats. And clearly the Red Hats are devouring it bones and all.
By the way, in the course of writing this, the retweets have jumped from 3,900 to 4,334 and growing. Furthermore, Junior tweeted this at 4:01 p.m. eastern, and it hasn't been deleted as of 5:45. Even if Junior finds his last remaining integrity synapse as deletes the tweet, it doesn't matter. The lie will have spread virally to every Trump fanboy on Twitter and beyond. I doubt he'll ever delete it.
The article wasn't fake news, but the way Junior handled it was absolutely fake and a lie. Even some of the people responding to the tweet by noting the 2012 dateline are failing to realize that the 85 non-citizens didn't vote. This suggests that even Trump-haters are absorbing the wrong information.
The GRU and Vladimir Putin would be so proud of Junior. I suppose if Senior can't accomplish Putin's goals, Junior's waiting in the on-deck circle. Too bad he won't be allowed to run for office from federal prison.
Photo: Donald Trump Jr's Twitter Feed