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A Tale of Vladimir Putin's Revenge, or Space Aliens Abduct Donald Trump

It happened on a blustery evening at his sprawling Mar-a-Lago retreat. The occasion was a weekend getaway. Having won the USA presidency, Donald Trump was elated. He could not believe that he had pulled off the political upset of the century. He kept pinching himself as if his victory were not real. Suddenly, he felt like celebrating. He decided to take a joyous victory stroll on the grounds of his Mar-a-Lago retreat.

Mar-a-Lago

During the stroll, he clenched his arm into the air. He gave it a ferocious vertical pump and exclaimed, "Yes, I did it!" He took a celebratory leap of joy into the air. He was elated.

It hit him like a ton of bricks. After spending years sitting on the sidelines critiquing, assailing, belittling, praising, applauding, and judging others, suddenly, he was in the hot seat. The spotlight was now on him. He was the center of attention. It was his turn to step into the ring and perform. He had talked the talk, and now it was his time to walk the walk. He, Donald Trump, was the man. He was the President of the United States of America. He was the most popular human on Earth, and simultaneously he was the most powerful human on Earth. He was Number One as Patrice Rushen's tune jingled in his head.

sport references

While walking and celebrating, he noticed a dazzling blaze of light in the sky. He observed a whirling cloud of wind. He could not believe his eyes. Was it what he thought he saw? Was it an alien spacecraft? Was it a close encounter of the fourth kind. To his horror and amazement, the spacecraft quietly descended and landed close to where he was standing.

Lenticular cloud over the Fort Stanton Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area (New Mexico, USA)

Several space aliens emerged from the spacecraft. The space aliens telepathically assured Donald Trump that they were not there to harm him. The space aliens informed him that they had traveled from a planet far, far away. They had been monitoring USA television signals from afar in deep space. The space aliens told Donald Trump that, on their alien planet, everybody thought that the 2016 USA presidential election would be a cinch for Hillary Clinton to win. On their alien planet, everyone was in a state of shock. Everyone was dumfounded, stupefied, and catatonic. Feelings of delirium permeated the air on their planet. A malaise had overtaken their planet. Everyone's head was spinning. The space aliens intimated to Donald Trump that, on their alien planet, they, too, could not believe it when he pulled off the most improbable upset political victory.

The space aliens telepathically explained to Donald Trump that it was not their style to interfere into the affairs of other planets. Due to the crisis on their planet, the space aliens made an exception and decided to pay Donald Trump a personal visit. Inquiring minds on their home planet wanted answers. They unanimously voted to dispatch a team of investigators to Earth. They came to Earth to find out firsthand how did Donald Trump manage to emerge victorious. They decided to make an interstellar journey to Earth so that they could examine Donald Trump's brain. The space aliens journeyed all the way across interstellar space to Earth to discover what was Donald Trump's secret recipe for success. They needed to restore a state of normalcy to the discombobulated souls of everyone on their home planet.

Venus Atmospheric Maneuverable Platform (VAMP)

After carefully examining Donald Trump's brain, the space aliens discovered the answer. They discovered that, contrary to their initial premise, the secret of Donald Trump's success was not the art of the deal. The space aliens discovered that Vladimir Putin was Donald Trump's secret recipe for success. Donald Trump's election victory was nothing more than a simple case of Vladimir Putin's revenge. The space aliens discovered that despite most polling data pointing to an inevitable Hillary Clinton victory, it was Vladimir Putin's revenge that led to the ascension of Donald Trump to the USA Presidency.

The space aliens telepathically discovered that Vladimir Putin had surreptitiously inserted a nanobot into Donald Trump's brain. Insertion of the nanobot occurred while Donald Trump was sleeping in his hotel room. The insertion happened when Donald Trump traveled to Moscow to attend the Miss Universe beauty pageant. The nanobot was inserted as a type of long-term insurance policy of leverage. It was Vladimir Putin who, years later, sublimely and remotely activated the nanobot and suggested to Donald Trump that he should toss his hat into the ring for the USA presidency. Vladimir Putin had launched his secret plan of revenge; he would do everything within his power to propel Donald Trump to victory.

alien spacecraft

What was Vladimir Putin's motivation? The space aliens discovered that Vladimir Putin was still seething mad over the Russian women losing to the USA women during the 4X400m track relay race at the 2008 Summer Olympic games held at Beijing, China. The Russian women had come ever so close to victory. And, with the USA women's runaway victory in the 4X400m track relay race at the 2012 London Summer Olympic games and also with USA victories at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympic games and the 2004 Athens Summer Olympic games, Vladimir Putin was beside himself. He could not take it anymore. He was yanking out the hair on his head in anguish.

The 4X400m women's track relay race was Vladimir Putin's favorite track event. Vladimir Putin was not accustomed to his team losing. Since 1988, the Russian women have reigned as the world and Olympic record holders in the 4X400m women's track relay event. Vladimir Putin had vowed that, come hell or high water, the Russian women would get their revenge against those USA women. Vladimir Putin had declared that the Russian women would bring home the Olympic gold medal by winning the 4X400m women's track relay race at the 2016 Summer Olympic games held at Rio, Brazil.

Watch (Sydney Olympics women's 4x400m)

Watch (Women's 4x400m final Athens Summer Olympics 2004)

Watch (2008 Beijing Olympics 2008 Women 4X400m Final)

Watch (USA Wins 4x400m Relay Gold - London 2012 Olympics)

To Vladimir Putin's surprise, chagrin, dismay, and disappointment, the Russian women were banned from competing in the 2016 Summer Olympic games. Vladimir Putin's revenge would have to wait another 4 years for the next Summer Olympic games to arrive. Impatient to wait another 4 years, Vladimir Putin decided to take out his wrath on Hillary Clinton. So, Vladimir Putin sublimely and remotely persuaded Donald Trump to run for the USA Presidency. Vladimir Putin's plan for revenge was set in motion.

Given the pro-Russian sentiments of Donald Trump and given Donald Trump's repeated public expressions of affinity for Vladimir Putin, this reality inspired Vladimir Putin to wage an all-out, well-coordinated, and comprehensive campaign of cyberspace warfare on the USA electoral system. Vladimir Putin decided to secretly insert himself into the USA electoral process big time. Vladimir Putin proceeded to unleash upon the USA electorate a torrid campaign of fake news, leaked news, computer hacks, and a bevy of other political tricks. Vladimir Putin proceeded to push a barrage of unfavorable, anti-Hillary Clinton information to the USA electorate to the detriment of Hillary Clinton's presidential bid.

His target, Donald Trump, won the USA presidential election in what has to be characterized as one of the most stunning upset political victories in USA history. Vladimir Putin popped the bubbly, raised his glass high into the air, and gave a boisterous toast to his success. He could not help but to take a bow as he gave himself a standing ovation for a job well done. His cyberspace election warfare operation had worked. The Americans, by and large, never knew what hit them. With Vladimir Putin's blessing, the computer experts in Russia had treated the USA democracy like a gigantic software application to be hacked. They sought vulnerabilities in the USA democracy, and like the unleashing of a computer virus to attack a vulnerable software application, when vulnerabilities were found in the USA political process, the computer experts proceeded to clandestinely hack, attack, manipulate, and influence voter opinions about the Presidential candidates. It was all a big game; the computer experts were manipulating political passions in the USA as if the voters were puppets on a string. The hackers delighted in sitting back and watching the Americans react to the upheaval they were causing. In the end, Vladimir Putin's campaign of cyberspace election engineering was a resounding success. Vladimir Putin, finally, had gotten his revenge for those Olympic 4x400 meters relay race defeats. He was so happy.

alien

The space aliens released Donald Trump without incident. Donald Trump vowed never to utter a word about his abduction by space aliens or about the time he spent aboard the alien spacecraft. He knew that nobody would believe him. He did not want to be deemed a delusional lunatic who was not fit to serve his Presidential term in office.

During the course of their examination of Donald Trump's brain, the space aliens also discovered another starling fact about what makes Donald Trump tick. They discovered that, deeply buried in his psyche, Donald Trump was obsessed with notions of acceptance and being successful. They discovered that Donald Trump relishes attention and craves for acceptance. What could he do to receive favorable media coverage? What could he do to assure a successful presidency? Will he be able to go the 12-round distance?

The world had taken a ringside seat as it bit on its collective fingernails with intrigue, apprehension, anxiety, and suspense. The space aliens discovered that Donald Trump simply wants to use the USA's military might to take the Iraqi oil so that he can pay for the border wall, infrastructure modernization, military upgrading and upsizing, tax cuts, defeating ISIS, and comprehensive health care reform without exploding the USA's national debt, which stood at $20 trillion dollars as of January 20, 2017.

The space aliens discovered one other thing about Donald Trump while examining his brain. They discovered that, deeply buried in his psyche, Donald Trump harbored a suspicious and an envious type of antipathy for Barack Obama. They discovered that Donald Trump harbored an unhealthy fixation on Barack Obama—his birthplace, his college grades, his patriotism, his policies, and so on. They discovered that, if Barack Obama favored something, then Donald Trump felt compelled to oppose the same thing automatically, unreservedly, expeditiously, vigorously, and regardless of merit. They discovered that Donald Trump felt compelled to do everything within his Presidential powers to reverse, disassemble, destroy, obliterate, or otherwise vaporize all traces of Barack Obama's Presidential legacy.

As they prepared to depart for their home planet, the space aliens made a final conclusion. The space aliens concluded that by virtue of the skill he exhibited in manipulating the USA electoral process and by virtue of his savvy and shrewdness, Vladimir Putin should be awarded one-half of the USA presidency. Does this revelation mean that Mike Pence has a reason to be worried? Will Vladimir Putin push aside Mike Pence, claim his seat at the table, and take his turn running things in the USA?

Spitzer Valentine's Day

The space aliens obtained the answers they sought. Like an epiphany, everything made sense to them. They were delighted and overjoyed to be taking their findings back to their home planet.


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DISCLAIMER: The above story is a complete fabrication. It is pure fiction (with a tiny dose of food for thought tossed into the mixture for good measure). The above story of President Putin's revenge was concocted as satire or as a joke. It should not be taken seriously. It was invented to poke fun at the allegedly budding "bromance" between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. The point of this bit of fake news is to illustrate how some humans sit around in real life and spread all kinds of fake news stories and pranks on the World Wide Web—and yet make them seem like real news stories. Ironically, President Vladimir Putin, too, appears to know a thing or two about this particular discussion topic. (NOTE: View page source for photo credits.)
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USA News Media

Moving from satire to reality, the USA news media is prolific, intricate, varied, resolute, and rich in its depth and scope of coverage. The following web links and graphics impart a small sampling of the depth, resoluteness, and richness of the USA news media.

  1. Newspapers and news magazines
  2. Network and cable television news
  3. Talk radio and podcast news
  4. Social media news
  5. News aggregators
  6. Web portal news
  7. News blogs
  8. Local news
Apollo 40th Anniversary Morning Television

Of the above varied news sources, television news currently reigns as the most popularly used news source in the USA as of 2017. USA news sources can be further categorized by their philosophical leanings. Say, for instance, on a scale of -3 to +3, news sources that tend to espouse extremely liberal views would be given a rating of -3 on the scale. News sources that tend to espouse neutral views would be given a rating of 0 on the scale. News sources that tend to espouse extremely conservative views would be given a rating of +3 on the scale. In reality, much like the properties of a normal distribution curve as depicted below, most new sources will tend to fall somewhere on the scale between the extremes of -3 and +3 on philosophical spectrum.

normal distribution

categorization of news (by Vanessa Otero)

These varied news sources also can be categorized based on their trustworthiness in reporting the news. Say, for instance, on a scale of -3 to +3, extremely subjective news reporting would receive a -3 rating on the scale. Extremely objective news reporting would receive a +3 rating on the scale. Again, much like the normal distribution curve, most news reporting will tend to fall somewhere in the middle of these -3 and +3 extremes. Hopefully, most news reporting will skew to the right of 0 on the scale to indicate greater objectivity.

From Tabloid News to Paparazzi News to Fake News

During the 2016 USA Presidential election, the subject of fake news rose to the forefront of public discussion and debate. Let me begin by stating that, despite the above satirical concoction about President Putin's revenge, in my opinion the impact of fake news in shaping public opinion is grossly overstated. Often what passes as fake news, in reality, sometimes is nothing more than satire and juvenile-like pranks being propagated on the World Wide Web by comedians and pranksters. At the same time, it is true that fake news stories have gained in profile and prominence in terms of their public dissemination.

In the good, old days before advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web, instead of fake news, there existed (and still exists) a phenomenon known as tabloid news. In the case of tabloid news, it represented a mixture of fiction, truth, and gross exaggerations of the truth. Published news accounts by media outlets such as the National Enquirer were characteristic of tabloid news reporting.

In the good, old days, there was a clear distinction between real news and tabloid news. Readers knew that news outlets such as the National Enquirer specialized in gossip news. Readers knew that such tabloid news was meant to serve as a form of harmless escapism. Readers knew that the place to find gossip news would be on supermarket shelves nearby the checkout lane. Readers knew that anything reported by the tabloid press should be taken with a grain of salt and with a heavy dose of skepticism. Readers knew that tabloid news stories were not to be accepted as the gospel truth. Nowadays, as of 2017, tabloid news is being supplanted in supermarket checkout lanes by celebrity news.

Tabloid news reporting appears to have witnessed its heyday as paparazzi-style news reporting has emerged and rose to the forefront of consumer attention. After the advent of the World Wide Web and concomitantly with the rise of social media, and much like the case of cable news beginning to encroach upon the turf of broadcast news, paparazzi-style news coverage has begun supplanting tabloid news. Paparazzi-style news coverage earned its badge of distinction by its sensationalism, pruriency, viral capacity, and its focus on celebrity, glamour, fame, wealth, and infamy. News outlets such as TMZ have come to epitomize the paparazzi-style news phenomenon.

By 2016, the new buzz word in news media circles had become "fake news." Fake news connotes misinformation and deception. The aim of "fake news" is to confuse and trick readers into thinking that a given fabricated news story is the gospel truth. abcnews.com.co, for instance, exemplifies the type of websites that have been identified as likely purveyors of fake news.

In the USA, the phenomenon of "fake news" has been transformed into something of a political football. That is to say, every piece of news has begun to be dismissed or kicked around as "fake news." For instance, if a politician views a given news story unfavorably, then he or she immediately and automatically would hail and dismiss the news story as another instance of "fake news" even if the news story is accurate. The term "fake news" has begun to be used as something of a smear tactic against the news media in USA political circles. One possible long-term, harmful effect of categorizing all news as "fake news" would be an erosion of public trust in news reporting and the news media.

In the final analysis, politicians come and go with each election cycle, but the USA news media is an age-old institution whose independence of government control is enshrined in and protected by the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights. The public citizenry has entrusted the USA news media to use its freedom to report and its independence of operation to serve as a beacon of light for truth and accuracy. When covering and reporting the news, the public citizenry does not expect the USA news media to capitulate to compromising external forces such as those promoting threats, bribery, coercion, prejudice, slurs, and so forth, to delegitimize certain news stories or to obtain a particular spin on certain news stories.

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Combating Fake News

After the 2016 USA presidential election had concluded, fake news came to be viewed as a problem in need of an urgent solution. Several approaches have emerged to combat fake news. These anti-fake news approaches remain in their infancy stages of development, are not foolproof, and have their own unique weaknesses. The main weakness is that each approach requires some form of user intervention to work, which is not always forthcoming. Some of these anti-fake news approaches include the ones outlined immediately below.

  1. Web browser add-ins or extensions
  2. Reputation checkers designed specifically to be used in conjunction with news-related websites
  3. Listings of fake news websites
  4. Public service announcements

When it comes to combating the spread of fake news, by way of analogy, if you do not wish for your computing device to become infected with a virus or malware, then the best course of action would be not to visit disreputable websites. Similarly, if you do not wish to fall prey to fake news reports, then you probably should try not to patronize disreputable news outlets. Try to stick to the better known mainstream news outlets. Websites such as lead-story.com identify some of the safer, legitimate, and mainstream sources of news reporting in the USA.

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Closing Thoughts

News gathering is not a science. News gathering lacks the exaction of science where the subjects can be placed in a controlled laboratory. News gathering is not infallible or perfect, and it is not foolproof. Sometimes new outlets do engage in overkill when covering a story (such as the occurrence of a major natural disaster or a terrorist attack). Sometimes new outlets do engage in biased reporting (especially, for instance, when the perspective on a given story is guided by an unfettered allegiance to patriotism). Members of the news media do sometimes tend to get swept away by popular fads such as paparazzi-style news coverage. Sometimes errors, misstatements, and mistakes become a part of news stories. When errors are detected, reputable news outlets immediately issue corrections and apologies.

Whether you love news organizations or hate them, one thing is certain about members of the news media, and it is this: They serve as gatekeepers to hold government officials, corporations, and even private citizens accountable for adhering to acceptable, moral, and lawful norms of conduct. Members of the news media play a vital role in investigating, dissecting, filtering, and conveying information to the general public in an easy-to-understand manner. Some events and some topics in the news are complicated, shrouded in secrecy, and fraught with nuances. The members of the news media have an uncanny knack for using their investigative skills to get to the bottom of these sometimes esoteric topics that otherwise might get swept under the rug, so to speak. In this respect, the news media provides an invaluable and unique public service—the service of nourishing and fostering an informed citizenry. Those who gather and report the news, in effect, are torchbearers who have been entrusted by the general public to continuously shed light on the pressing issues of the day.

Again, perhaps one of the most effective tools for combating fake news is to stick to reading, listening to, and viewing well-vetted news sources. Mainstream news outlets typically go to great lengths to provide their readers, viewers, and listeners with accurate and reliable information, which is not to say that members of the news media do not sometimes warrant criticism. For instance, one of my biggest criticisms of mainstream news has been their tendency to adhere to similar business models whereby the same kinds of stories repeatedly get covered in similar fashions. Do certain segments of the USA news media have an agenda to push? The answer is, yes, sometimes news stories do cross the border from critique to demagoguery. But, all in all, mainstream news outlets do a good job in covering the news of the day. Despite any observed flaws in news reporting, in my opinion, the world is better place due to the existence of a free and independent [of the government] news media even if numerous news media outlets are controlled by a handful of corporate conglomerates.

It has to be noted that some members of society are outright delusional (such as those who proclaim, say, that the Sandy Hook mass shooting never happened or that the Holocaust never happened). Other members of society seem inclined to pursue conspiracy theories (such as those who proclaim that humans never went to the Moon and that the Moon landing was nothing more than a staged back lot movie studio stunt). Still other members of society tend to seek out only those kinds of news stories that support, reinforce, and reaffirm their pre-conceived notions, agendas, and worldviews. For instance, if you are inclined to believe that former President Obama was not born in the United States, then you most likely would be inclined to seek, consume, and believe news stories that purport to prove that former President Obama was not naturally born in the USA. In conspiratorial scenarios such as these, all that one can hope for is most societal members are level-headed enough to discern and distinguish the real from the fake.

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