Florida’s branch of the Society of Professional Journalists said it’s starting to send cease-and-desist letters to President Donald Trump over the use of the term “fake news.”
The society’s Florida Pro Chapter, which intends to issue the letters to Trump and other “frequent abusers” of the term, is basing its action on their pending trademark application for the term to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Of course, it’s not an application they believe will be approved.
“For what it’s worth, we don’t expect the trademark to get approved. No one can really trademark a generic term like ‘fake news,’ which started being used long before Trump even took office,” wrote Emily Bloch, the chapter president, in Teen Vogue. “What we do hope is that this idea is outrageous enough to get people to stop and think about what fake news is, and what it means to them.”
Bloch, also an education reporter for the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, wrote the action is based upon a study by the Knight Foundation and Gallup that found 40 percent of Republicans say accurate news stories that cast a politician or political group in a negative light should “always” be considered fake news.
“So yes, this is satire. It’s a joke. But it’s a joke with a point, and as any student of public discourse will tell you, a joke sometimes hits harder than the truth,” she wrote, truthfully.
Here’s the top of Bloch’s piece:
Being a journalist right now is scary. It’s frightening when sketchy videos about shooting news agencies are presented at a political conference held at a resort owned by the president. It’s terrifying when, a year after bombs were sent to CNN, a shirt suggesting reporters should be hanged is casually worn on an airplane.But it’s also infuriating, like when our country’s own president is constantly devaluing our work and has made a habit out of brushing off dogged reporting as “fake news.”