A Freedom of Information Act request from the Columbia Journalism Review revealed that the FCC has received 40 complaints about fake news on television since the term entered the mainstream back in October.
“Please shut this fake news outlet down bent on terrorizing America with their false narratives promoted by left wing fascist psychopaths,” read one complaint about CNN from someone in Texas.
“All news stations must be censored or fined when they continuously lie, obfuscate and misdirect intentionally,” added a complaint filed in December from Nebraska. “The most egregious of these is CNN, but ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC et al are equally guilty, particularly on the ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ debacle perpetuated across the board.”
“Then there is the abject collusion between so- called ‘independent’ news stations and the DNC [Democratic National Committee] during the recent election coverage. Certainly Brian Williams should be banned completely from EVER appearing on a so-called ‘news’ station.”
The term fake news was initially used to describe hoax news stories that spread on social media during the election. Sites like Facebook and Twitter faced criticism from some who accused the platforms of allowing misinformation to spread.
President Trump later began using the term to denounce critical and negative stories about his administration.
“Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election,” Trump tweeted in February. “Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting.”
The journalism review said that about half of the comments about fake news were about the mainstream media or left-leaning outlets, and five were about Fox News.