The phrase “real talk” has been used as slang for years. Being slang, there’s no Websters definition for real talk, but, the Urban Dictionary defines it as, “the philosophy of talking candidly and openly and honestly without fear of what others might think.” They go on to give the following example:
Person A: DUDE I’M GOING TO SEND HER A CARNATION WITH A POEM. It’ll make her love me.
Person B: REAL TALK BRAH that will back fire, you are an idiot.
Identifying real talk as an idea is important when discussing Donald Trump’s use of the phrase, “fake news.” Here’s how fake news would fit into the previous example:
Person A: DUDE WHAT’S UP WITH TRUMP’S MUSLIM BAN? Can you provide your thoughts on it?
Person B: NAH BRAH THAT’S FAKE NEWS – there’s no Muslim ban, you are an idiot.
Fake news in today’s language is a combination of media bias, tabloid journalism, sensationalism, and Trump hatred. The phenomenon of fake news has been around long before Trump, and will be around long after he’s gone. But in the Age of Twitter, #FakeNews has become a phrase coined by The Donald and used as a weapon against a progressive media hell-bent on making him, and keeping him, de-legitimized.
Yes, there exists in the media a level of actual falsehoods that are “reported” (I use that term loosely) but are created completely out of thin air. There are also satirical pieces that offer humor or ridicule based on contemporary politics. There was even a business model created during this last election cycle that produced completely inaccurate material and sold it as fake news. That’s not what Trump’s talking about.
He’s talking about news that is NOT fit to print. In the late 1800s, the failing New York Times (no, really, they were failing then too) tried to set itself apart from other, more “sensationalized” news sources when they came up with the slogan, “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” While surely there are news articles within the NY Times still fit to print, many are not. They’ve reverted to their old ways of sensationalized journalism, like the Washington Post, CNN, ABC/NBC/CBS. There’s a reason why Fox News continues to dominate the ratings. Although they obviously have their own biases, they present information that the public wants to know from sources the public believes are less bias than their competitors. Chris Wallace is a more trustworthy journalist than Chuck Todd, for example.
Journalists offended by the term fake news should check their bias and sensationalism. Anti-Trump’ers offended that Trump successfully coined the phrase should just get over it – it’s what Trump does, and will continue to do. Take him seriously, not so literally.
Real talk – fake news helped him win the election, and it’s helping solidify his chances for a second term.