While You Were Offline: And the Real Fake News Award Goes To…


Maybe it's just us, but it seems as though everyone was on pins and needles last week. Between the looming shutdown of the US government, fretting over President Trump praising anti-abortion efforts, and everyone wondering just why Ja Rule was a trending topic on Twitter (no, really, why?), there was a lot of cause for unease—and that feeling spread. Still, it’s not all worrying; at least Superman found his red trunks again. There is good in the world. And then there’s also all of this, too.

The Real Fake News Awards

What Happened: It took some time, but the president finally got around to releasing his Fake News Awards last week. It was not a smooth rollout.

What Really Happened: Remember earlier this month when Trump said he was going to hand out awards for the media he found to be the most dishonest in their reporting? No? That's OK. A lot has happened since then. Here's a refresher.

Though you shouldn't have forgotten about the awards, they were a big deal.

You see? Even President Trump says that the “importance” of the awards is “far greater than anyone could have anticipated.” Well, last Wednesday he made good on his promise. Kind of.

The problem—well, one of the problems, let’s be honest—was that the link didn’t work, which Twitter was very happy to note.

And when the link eventually did work, it wasn’t as if the reaction improved much. For one thing, people were upset that the awards were hosted by the official Republican Party site, and not the White House’s.

And then there’s the actual “awards” themselves, which turned out to be … not exactly awards?

Sure, the stunt got a lot of media coverage, but when the president fails at fact-checking his own declarations of Fake News, everything really starts to look like it's happening in the Upside Down—or Irony Land.

The Takeaway: An event with a big build-up that was undone by a site that wouldn’t load when everyone wanted to see it, and then disappointed others when it eventually did show up. What was that about history repeating itself?

Trump's Checkup

What Happened: Is Donald Trump fit to hold the Oval Office? Medically speaking, yes—unless you listen to some medical experts who don’t work for the President of the United States.

What Really Happened: Every year, the President of the United States undergoes a physical to make sure that he’s, you know, up to the job of being the leader of the free world. Given what has become known of his diet, many wondered if the White House was going to quietly skip the annual tradition of publicly announcing the results. And yet…

…The results of the physical, as announced during a lengthy press conference, were surprising to many.

Oh, don’t worry; there were definitely conspiracy theories abounding about some of the results.

Still, as it turned out, it wasn’t just conspiracy theorists who were calling shenanigans. Many medical professionals read the results and suggested he has heart disease and is overweight. But that’s not what the White House says, and a couple of days after the official release of the results, the president happily shared the exercise regime that allowed him to be so healthy.

We sense a workout video in the making!

The Takeaway: Can anyone make an argument that those height and weight statistics are accurate?

Turns Out, Sex and Politics Is Still an Amazingly Potent Combination

What Happened: Last week another political scandal grabbed everyone's attention—and this one had a porn star.

What Really Happened: Given the metabolism of the news cycle, you would've been forgiven for thinking that the revelation that Donald Trump’s lawyer paid adult actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about an alleged affair would be a one-day story at best. Turns out, not so much.

While people wondered who had the story early—a surprising number were apparently chasing this down before the 2016 election—it turned out that one outlet definitely had the dirt all along: In Touch magazine, which had an on-the-record interview with Daniels—one that provided plenty more details to keep this story alive.

As it turns out, other people had noticed a similarity, as the In Touch piece revealed.

What else?

That’s not the only new detail that came out last week, either.

And then there’s the question of where the money came from. But don't worry, that also got answered in an appropriately forehead-slapping moment.

The Takeaway: Maybe there’s a way this can be spun into a win by the president?

The Opinion Pages

What Happened: It’s hard for the Forgotten Men and Women of America to earn that title when the New York Times can’t help but promote them at every given opportunity.

What Really Happened: It's about to be the one-year anniversary of the Trump presidency, which means it’s time to look around and take stock of what's happened, what changes have been brought by the current administration, and reflect.

Or, you know, there’s that option. The Times replaced it’s editorial page on Thursday with letters from those who voted for Trump and didn’t regret it, arguing that it did so "in the spirit of open debate." It’s fair to say that a lot of people didn’t agree.

There’s something to be said for exposing people to opinions and outlooks that they wouldn’t normally see. However, the common consensus was this didn’t do that. Was there anything to learn from these letters, though?

OK, maybe not.

For those wondering, the Times did try for balance, following up the letters from Trump voters who love Trump with letters from Trump voters who aren’t so sure anymore. It’s a start, right?

The Takeaway: If nothing else, always remember… it could be worse.

I Don’t Know What’s Happened to the Kids Today

What Happened: You’re only as young as you feel, although science would like you to know that you might be younger than you think.

What Really Happened: Good news for those criticized for never growing up: Scientists are now saying that adolescence lasts until your mid-20s. Hey, collective grown children that constitute the internet, how do you feel about this news?

…That seems about right.

The Takeaway: If only there was some way to blame millennials for all of this, what with their avocado toast and their not buying houses…

Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/real-fake-news-award/