From the moment, President Donald Trump declared, “You’re fake news,” to CNN’s Jim Acosta, the term has had a resurgence unlike any it has ever known. In spite of the fact that the concept has been present ever since ancient Egyptian times when Rameses the Great falsified accounts of the Battle of Kadesh, the idea of fake news in the Trump-era is something a bit more volatile.
Omar Rivero and his twin brother Rafael started their website Occupy Democrats to offer a flip side to the high conservatism of Fox News. The site is at the forefront of what is being referred to as “hyper-partisan” websites that have become more common in the year since Trump came to power.
After reporting on Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from joining the military (a decision that coincided with Hurricane Harvey’s hit) Occupy Democrats saw a standard surge in comments noting the utter lack of coincidence that Trump chose to pass this piece of legislation right when the nation’s eyes were focused on a natural disaster. And though news watchdog PolitiFact has constantly called out Occupy Democrats for their distortion of events, it’s as the brothers who run it themselves say, “the ‘wild west of journalism’ right now.”
Omar and Rafael, who are both Mexican immigrants, knew that Occupy Democrats would flourish during the Trump presidency. In a highly divided United States, where Democrats and Republicans are left feeling equally betrayed by aspects of American government, the L.A.-based brothers knew they would be able to find an audience, especially when it comes to Trump’s more radical plans for policies concerning the immigrant and LGBTQ+ communities.
Rivero defended the sensationalistic methods of Occupy Democrats by remarking, “At some point in American politics, the Rubicon was crossed, and I think that was probably when Roger Ailes launched Fox News… And to put that genie back in the bottle so we all go back to Walter Cronkite – style objective journalism where everyone watches the same news program, that era is over, and for the left to pretend that it’s not would be ceding ground.”