The Florida Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) is turning President Trump’s language around on him. The journalist advocacy organization has applied to trademark the term “fake news” to discourage the White House—and politicians and celebrities—from using it inappropriately.
The ability for Trump to use the term “fake news” to characterize reporting that is critical of him has proven to be “an effective weapon,” said Emily Bloch, president, SPJ Florida Pro Chapter, in a statement. The SPJ chapter spearheaded the stunt with Calgary-based agency, Wax.
“We’re now seeing people using the term to dismiss truthful stories that don’t align with their politics or views. And that’s a major problem for healthy discourse in a democracy,” she said.
Trump began frequently using the term on the campaign trail during the 2016 presidential election to characterize dispatches from publications like CNN and The New York Times in an attempt to discredit what those outlets were reporting.
Since occupying the White House, Trump’s relentless use of the term hasn’t let up.
The SPJ chapter isn’t just hoping to trademark the term. It also plans to send cease and desist letters to frequent offenders, such as Trump.
To commemorate the stunt, SPJ created a launch video and website to walk users through the mission. SPJ isn’t the only entity looking to claim this term as their own. There are already more than 10 applications with the government to coin the phrase.
“We’re hoping the idea is provocative enough to get people to stop and think about how they use the term or what it means when others use it,” Bloch said. “After all, the vast majority of news you hear called ‘fake’ isn’t actually fake.”
Creative Director: Nick Asik
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