Alternative history has long been a staple of the Sci-Fi genre, from Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle” based on a book that imagines a hypothetical Nazi victory in World War II, to the “Planet of the Apes” movie franchise.
While reimagining history is nothing new, what is new is the approach Newsweek took this July when its writers indulged in some over the top fan-fiction that explores what the world would be like if Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in 2016.
While science fiction is entertaining, it really isn’t news. Newsweek’s’ foray into fan fiction is both odd and alarming – and raises questions about both the publication and what actually constitutes journalism.
Coping with a Crushing Loss
Taking some time off from berating Donald Trump and Republicans in general, Newsweek published an article called, “Hillary Clinton Is President in an Alternate Universe, Where America is Great Again.”
The piece covers Twitter accounts and other fictional snippets that pretend Hilary Clinton won the November election, but Newsweek also created their own bit of fiction for the opening paragraphs as well. In this alternate reality, not only does Clinton don her pantsuit and save the world, she does so with the full support of both Republicans and Democrats.
A bit of Newsweek’s venture into fiction appears below:
“Hillary Clinton sits behind the resolute desk in the Oval Office, pulling out a large blue binder and a jar of hot peppers—her typical snack as the leader of the free world. It’s 9:30 p.m., and madam president spent the day successfully rallying House Republicans and Democrats behind a health care bill that will improve upon her predecessor’s landmark initiative, the Affordable Care Act. The bill passed an hour ago, but she isn’t anywhere near done fulfilling her duties to the American people.
“I won’t be taking any more calls,” Clinton tells senior adviser Huma Abedin, who is walking toward the door near the grandfather clock. “I want to look through these Russian sanctions one more time. Tell Bill not to wait up for me.”
Abedin, leaning on the half-open door to one of the most powerful rooms in the world, gives one last look at the president before leaving the White House. “You did a good job today, Madam President.”
In addition to the television drama style opening above, Newsweek imagines a world where Bill serves up homemade pizza to friends and visitors and a POTUS who avoids Twitter, calling out journalists and other Trump-like behavior. Madame President never calls the media out on “Fake News” or refuses to play along – and, why would she? The media obviously loves her, as do all of the American populace, the citizens of the world and even the most difficult world leaders.
Aside from taking a few obvious shots at Donald Trump, the remainder of the “news” piece focuses on sharing Tweets from a variety of satire and alternate history fiction accounts. Twitter is the perfect place to share fiction, but a news magazine like Newsweek may not be.
Not the First Time Newsweek has Indulged in Fake News
Just after the 2016 election, collectors and resellers were scrambling to get their hands-on copies of what Newsweek later claimed were “commemorative collectibles”, not actual magazines. The freshly minted covers featured a victorious Hilary Clinton and were emblazoned with the title “Madame President”.
While the competing Washington Post covered the Hilary Clinton victory edition of Newsweek as a story, Newsweek later modified their version of the tale. According to the Washington Post, about 125,000 copies of the Madame President version of Newsweek sold before the publisher recalled them. Copies were selling for as much as $500 each on eBay in December 2016.
Newsweek refuted this story, claiming that only 17 copies were ever offered for sale and that the issue was a special edition for collectors. NBC News covered this version, but also stated that hundreds of copies of the “special addition” were still for sale, priced up to $9,995 online.
There’s no way to tell if Newsweek’s version, with 17 editions in total, is correct or if the many sellers on eBay are taking advantage of the novelty and trying to defraud unsuspecting buyers, but the fact that this news magazine engaged in alternative history not once, but twice is unsettling for those who follow and trust journalists.
Newsweek’s foray into fan-fiction is entertaining for a number of reasons. It presents gag-worthy worship of one of the most corrupt political figures in American history, it assumes conservatives will simply forget the Democratic Party’s vicious attack on their beliefs and way of life, and ultimately underscores the left’s problem with accepting reality.
If the media keeps this up, we might be able to look forward to Democratic victories becoming fan fiction for years to come.
~ Conservative Zone