#FakeNews Is Not New

There’s a tremendous amount of conversation lately, since the election, about “Fake News”. Even Hillary Clinton went out of her way at Sen. Harry Reid’s retirement to talk about it extensively. I think she was looking for someone other than herself to point the finger at for her loss.

Is fake news a real problem? Well, yes it is considering the explosion of Internet in the last decade. There are thousands of sites that provide some sort of content. Many are biased politically to either liberal or conservative points of view. Other sites are rank with fake science. But this is not new, or shouldn’t be news to skeptics. We’ve been discussing these sites for years now.

Fake news is as old as human writing. Think about it. Governments were carving it in stone or clay tablets thousands of years ago. When the printing press was invented, it gave them a more efficient way to disseminate what they wanted the public to believe. The advent of radio and television added millions more that could be influenced. The Internet, however, became a gold mine.

Instead of blaming these sites though, maybe each of us should take some personal responsibility to verify what we read or hear before we rush to judgement one way or the other.

Even those news sites or news stations deemed reliable are not immune to this. There is so much competition in the news business that there has been a tendency to rush to publish or air a story that is completely unverified. When a dtory is proven to be wrong, sometimes the reader or viewer does not see the correction. The only remedy for this is for reporters to verify before reporting or if they cannot, explicitly mention that the story is unverified.

But in the end, it’s up to us, no matter how much we might trust the news source, to do our own analysis.

2 thoughts on “#FakeNews Is Not New

  1. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I recognize that freedom of expression includes the freedom to write completely false clickbait in order to make money. On the other hand, it does concern me that so many people seem unable or unwilling to evaluate the sources of the content they share on social media. I come down in favor of the fake news sites being able to produce what they want. I just wish people would stop treating it as if it was accurate information. Unfortunately, I am not sure the average person is motivated to critically evaluate information that confirms his or her preferred narrative.


  2. Guess I’m just hoping people will attempt to use critical thinking. Quick example. A couple of days ago the Pentagon announced that some 50k ISIS fighters have been killed in combat actions. But wait! wasn’t it just a year ago (maybe a little longer) that we were told the TOTAL number of ISIS fighters was around 30-35K? Either their recruiting is way up or we were given bogus information then or now.


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