Vanessa Trump Both ‘Ill’ And ‘Safe’ In White Powder Fake News Fiasco

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Donald Trump is a foaming, racist idiot. But he’s right about at least one thing – ‘fake news’. It’s a thing, and mainstream media, including in Australia, very much engage in it.

Of course, they always have, but for the proof look no further than the news out of America this morning that Trump’s daughter-in-law, Vanessa was “hospitalized” after opening an envelope addressed to her husband, Donald Trump Jnr, which contained a “mysterious white powder”.

All of those statements are true… and so here’s how the Sydney Morning Herald reported it.

Notably, the Herald yarn is a ‘subscribers only’ story… hence, a quick pro tip to Fairfax: 1. You’re not supposed to troll your own subscribers; 2. You’re supposed to make clickbait free. That’s the point of clickbait. Fake news isn’t going to viral if you put it behind a paywall.

News.com.au got it right in some of its reporting: “She was taken to a local hospital as a precaution. It was not immediately clear what the substance was.”

But like the Herald, in one iteration of the story, it also couldn’t resist the ‘ill’ word in the headline.

Granted, Fairfax and News are based in Australia, so popping down the road to Trump Tower to check for yourself takes organisation. But a simple check of Donald Trump Jnr’s Twitter account would have solved the mystery.

But where’s the fun and fake news in that?

American media responses to the story were mixed, although notably NBC – which Trump consistently claims is a ‘fake news’ outlet got it right.

Most interesting of all, Fox News – which ordinarily speaking genuinely is a purveyor of ‘fake news’, but which also happens to be Trump’s favourite news service (irony overload) – did not stoop to the levels of News and Fairfax.

It’s a brave new fake news world.

Oh, and the ‘mysterious white powder’?… Cornflour.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. Chris has won a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards for his reporting. He lives in Brisbane and splits his time between Stradbroke Island, where New Matilda is based, and the mainland.

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