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WASHINGTON — The phrase “the truth will out” has always been at home in American newsrooms where journalists dedicate their days to making it so.

Sometimes Truth needs a little nudge, as was the case recently when an anti-media organization, absurdly named “Project Veritas,” apparently invented a story intended to impugn The Washington Post (and the media more broadly), while also helping Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Briefly, the more aptly named “Pretext Veritas” and its creator, the self-regarding (bad) actor James O’Keefe, seems to have hired a woman to say that Moore impregnated her in 1992 and that she got an abortion at 15. As if you could forget, Moore has been accused by several women of molesting them when they were teens and he was in his 30s.

Jaime T. Phillips presented herself to Post reporters with her scandalous tale, apparently expecting them to concede the paper’s bias against Moore, and, voila, a scoop! O’Keefe surely would have raced to present his findings, all filmed on hidden camera, his usual modus operandi, and launched a fresh fundraising drive.

You see? O’Keefe’s mission has been to prove that the media are biased. While this may be true to the degree that all human beings carry biases, the Post’s editorial board isn’t coy about its positions. That said, the editorial and opinion pages shouldn’t be confused with the reportorial staff, which adheres to basic journalism tenets, including, “park your bias at the door.”

Essentially, Phillips baited the Post and the Post declined to play. Or, rather, the paper did what it’s supposed to do and checked out the story. This isn’t cause for trumpets and heraldry, mind you. It’s what journalists do. As opposed to what pseudo-journalists — also known as typists — claim they do. With a little footwork, Post reporters were able to trace Phillips to Project Veritas and demonstrated that her story was a fraud.

It was — you may now cue the horn section — FAKE NEWS.

Thanks to O’Keefe, the Post also showed a skeptical public just how different real journalism is from the effluvia produced by Project Veritas. Perhaps there’s a place for him at Pravda.

Moore, meanwhile, might have hoped to discredit all his accusers, though O’Keefe refused to respond to questions Monday regarding his relationship to Moore. If one woman would lie, however, wouldn’t it be possible to suggest the others were lying as well? In a lesser-case scenario, if the Post had run with the story without confirming it, O’Keefe could prove that the Post was biased against Moore for publishing a fake story.

Again, none of this happened.

The lie was outed by the truth, while O’Keefe’s own obvious agenda was revealed. Hating the media these days is good business and good politics among a certain constituency. If anyone should feel betrayed by O’Keefe, however, it would be all those people who have been duped into believing that the mainstream media are the bad guys. Let’s be very clear. The bad guys are the ones who knowingly lie.

Recall that it was Trump who popularized the phrase “fake-news” whenever he didn’t like some story written about him. Not that covering Trump requires embellishment or fakery. Originally the term was used in real news stories about fake stories being promulgated through social media. But Trump’s marketing savvy — and his appreciation for the fact that people tend to believe what they want to believe — prompted him to make “fake news” the battle cry of the conservative right.

Excuse the echo, but this bears repeating: Those who would purposely mislead or seek to confuse others are bad people. Worse, they are evil.

Conspiracy theorists will always be among us, and the credulous are in no danger of extinction. However, that a million people — or 60 million — believe something doesn’t make it true. Nor does crying “fake news” alter what is. The proof is anyone’s for the asking.

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Kathleen Parker’s email address is kathleenparker@washpost.com.

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(36) comments

Buggs Raplin

The MSM is a sophisticated propaganda system with extremely narrow parameters of acceptable thought. The truth, however, on the most crucial issues lies outside those parameters. Go outside of them to report a fact, and your mentality is questioned, you are ridiculed, and assigned a tin foil hat. All the syndicated columnists featured in the Tribune know the parameters, and stay within them. If they didn't, they would be dropped like the ball on New Year's Eve. Think of it this way. The ruling elite-the men in the shadows controlling the politicians want the herd (the people) quiet and obedient. They don't want any stampedes, like in the movie "Red River." The MSM, then, are like sheperds controlling the herd by presenting necessary illusions instead of the truth.

Cassandra

Take your meds, Buggs.

Buggs Raplin

Ms. Parker is a propagandist, whose job is to obliterate truth whenever it is a threat to the ruling elite. That description fits all the columnists..I repeat ALL the columnists featured in the Tribune. They are all out to bullsh*t you on the issues. Lowry pushes the envelope, but in the end, he retreats into the shadows unwilling to deal with essential truths. Oh my God. Any one thinking the mainstream media is concerned with the truth is a brainwashed fool. A brainwashed fool. They're a nest of vipers, many now being exposed as sexual perverts. Kathleen Parker sold her soul long ago. She knows how to please the elite under the cover, of 'journalism.' That's why she'll be around a long time on the editorial pages of American newspapers.

oldhomey

Another powerful "evidence based" commentary by Buggs Raplin. How can you criticize him when he has so fully laid out the facts to buttress his profound conclusions? What a guy.

johnnybragatti

You a liar

Buggs Raplin

You an idiot.

oldhomey

A great column that simply but perfectly re-states the obvious, something we need to underscore every once in awhile. One observation of hers bears special relevance on some of the rightwing posters here like Buggs, new2, crank and Hey(sob!)19:

"Excuse the echo, but this bears repeating: Those who would purposely mislead or seek to confuse others are bad people. Worse, they are evil."

Hey19

Ah, I see oldhomey (dodger) has finally done some soul searching; he's finally coming around to admitting that he lies on these boards when replying to comments made by the rightwingers...

oldhomey

Gosh, what a clever riposte from the master, Hey(Sob!)19. I rue the day that I ever locked horns with him. He ranks right up there with Churchill and George Bernard Shaw for memorable put-downs. At least he might, if he ever had one.

Hey19

re: oldhomey: Nov 30, 2017 11:19pm
Why would anyone expect you to remember my truthful "put-downs" when you can't even remember all of your own lies?

oldhomey

Au contraire, my tragic friend. I remember every one of your 'truthful putdowns'. How could I forget them? There never has been one. Not. One. Single. One.

Hey19

So, pray tell, how can you remember something that never existed, old dude? You must be senile. LOL LOL

oldhomey

It would figure, Hey(boohoo)19 that you often don't recognize that you have been put down.

Hey19

re: oldhomey - Dec 2, 2017 12:50am

It would figure, oldhomey (dodger), that you often don't recognize that you have been lying...

oldhomey

Well, my young tragedian, I guess you always recognize when you are lying. It must be a haunting awareness when it jars your conscience practically every time you move your lips.

Hey19

re: oldhomey Dec 2, 2017 10:14pm
Oh, if only I had as much time to waste on these forums as oldhomey (weedhopper) does...

Well, folks, I rarely voice* my opinion, but for in the company of people I know. When I do, I state it, and don't lie about it. {My lips probably don't flap as much as oldhomey's (liar) do, either.}

Unlike oldhomey (bloviator), when I post in these forums, I don't need to move my lips when composing and typing my thoughts. I do admit I probably would recognize if I was lying in these forums, for it would be new experience. I'm' not familiar with the type of sensation or pangs of guilt oldhomey must experience when he does so...

Speaking of tragedians - when is the old dude going to share the whole story behind the derivation of my nickname? Liar. Oldhomey (dodger) continues to prove he can't man up, put up or shut up. lol

* To be clear, as oldhomey will distort my words here, like he usually does.
VOICE - "sound produced by vertebrates by means of lungs, larynx, or syrinx; especially : sound so produced by human beings." Merriam-Webster.
"Composing and typing" is a WRITTEN form of communication. I have yet to knowing lie in these forums, unlike the old dude.

Glad I was able to make the distinction for him, and further him along with his limited education....


oldhomey

I am so glad that you didn't take my 10:14pm post personally, my tragedy-ridden friend, and that I didn't get under your skin again.

Hey19

re: oldhomey (dodger) Dec 4, 2017 12:51am
Oh, it's worth repeating that if only I had as much time to waste on these forums as oldhomey (weedhopper) does...

I always take it personally when you lie about me, oldhomey (liar).

Hey, old dude? When are you going to share the whole story about the derivation of my nickname, liar?

oldhomey 2020*
* The bloviator can't man up, put up, or shut up, folks!

oldhomey

Gosh, for such an anguished person such as yourself, I should think you would not want to constantly be reminded of the origin story behind your screen name. It is one that I hope Masterpiece Theater sees and adapts for a three part series. As I have told you repeatedly, I only have as much of the story as you once revealed on a post here. I know you made it up on the fly and probably have trouble remembering the details of it, so as a service to you, I reproduce it in full below. To anyone who has not read this before, let me caution you to get a box of tissues next to your computer screen before reading this touching, tender tale:

Hey19 Oct 21, 2017 9:35pm
re: caped - Oct 21, 2017 6:52pm
Since caped is a petulant, adamant assH*le, I'll tell him the story behind the nickname. Maybe then the little LYING brat will finally shut the h*ll up.
"Hey, 19" is a tribute to a fiancee, the last words spoken to her. She opened her eyes one final time to look up at her true love, who was squeezing her hand as she passed away. She wore uniform #19.
Get it, a**hole?
(You're a REAL man, caped, calling into question my integrity regarding something which you knew nothing about, and constantly demanding an answer to something that is none of your dam* business.... Be proud of yourself.)
Hey, Buggs? Thanks for having my back on this one.

Perhaps we will be told an even fuller version of the "story" at some future date. I am not sure I could stand to read it, however.

Hey19

re: oldhomey (dodger) Dec 4, 2017 9:32pm

When repeatedly called to relate the FULL story behind the derivation of my nickname, now oldhomey (liar) is denying that he ever said he "suspects" he does.

I realize oldhomey (dodger) can't man up and put his money where his mouth is - what with his foot jammed so far into it - so why does he keep bringing up the fact that he's lying about me and my nickname?

oldhomey 2020*
*still dazed and confused, and only one who's lying about my nickname.

oldhomey

I think I told you at one point, Hey(Sob!)19 that of course I didn't know the full story of how you came upon your screen name, but that I suspected that I did. For your edification, I suspect that the full story is the one you hurriedly made up and unwisely sent in your posted comment at 6:52pm on Oct 21. THAT is what I suspect. I can't imagine you wanting to in any way embarrass yourself further by going expanding this shoddy piece of work. But you continually outdo your self with silly comments, so who knows?

Hey19

re oldhomey (dodger) Dec 5, 2017 10:58pm

I'm sure I told the old dude several times that he doesn't know the full story behind my nickname. For his edification, I've also told him repeatedly that what he "suspects" is wrong. The cop-out dodge/excuse of using a CliffsNotes version he merely cut and pasted here is not the full story.

It's oldhomey (liar), so obsessed with this matter, who keeps bringing it up. He continues to embarrass himself in these forums, constantly lying about me and my nickname, which I have been truthful about all along.

oldhomey (liar) 2020
* he can't man up, put up or shut up about something he knows virtually nothing about. lol

carry on, troll

oldhomey

I am waiting, Hey(Sob!)19 for your heartfelt, righteous eruption in which you shame me with further details of this dramatic story of the genesis of the screen name Hey19. The Hallmark channel has a battery of writers anxiously awaiting it, too. Don't be fooled if you see your heart-wrenching story on their channel in the next year or two with a disclaimer that it is entirely fiction and not based on any true-life event. And be aware, they may try disguise your story with some slight changes, like using the Sheesh66, or something, instead of Hey19. Sue them, anyway. It's YOUR fiction, buddy, not theirs.

Hey19

re: oldhomey ("suspects" he knows everything) Dec 6, 2017 11:13pm

the old dude (dodger) proves yet again he can't man up, put up, or shut up, regarding something he knows nothing about.

oldhomey (liar) 2020*
*still dazed and confused

oldhomey

Hey(Sob!)19 keeps painting himself into a tighter and tighter corner. Poor boy. Guess he will have to track through his own mess if he wants to get out of it.

johnnybragatti

You are a 10/96

Buggs Raplin

You purposely mislead people with your lies and obfuscations, POO.

johnnybragatti

No,actually but he did not.
But sho" : Manure....

oldhomey

Your 6:48am post has an easycut and paste response: Another powerful "evidence based" commentary by Buggs Raplin. How can you criticize him when he has so fully laid out the facts to buttress his profound conclusions? What a guy.

Cassandra

Says the guy who STILL claims that Vegas Strip hotels were "raked by gunfire" and yet refuses to provide a SINGLE photo to back up his ludicrous claims.

Buggs Raplin

Kathleen Parker talking about truth in American newsrooms is akin to Matt Lauer lecturing on sexual harassment.

kingman10

Ms. Parker knows more about journalism and reality in her little finger than Buggs does in his whole body. She lays it out perfectly how journalism is suppose to work, how to investigate stories with real journalists doing the hard time consuming work to find out the truth. Unlike alt media that just surfs the net, hardy any staff, no investigations and conjures up stories they know are false and repeats them over and over. Yes the alt media can't hold a candle to the real journalism, real news, real investigations, and real stories.

Buggs Raplin

Ms Parker is a propagandist fooling gullibles like yourself.

kingman10

oh that's brilliant buggs, there is no way I can counter that. Chalk one up for yourself! Have another drink!

oldhomey

kingman, don't EVER mess with Buggs or Hey(boohoo!)19. We are merely chaff to be bent by their windy exertions.

Comment deleted.
Buggs Raplin

You left out Low Rider.

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