The actual word for “fake news” is propaganda. I have no doubt that Trump used the “fake news” term because:
a) he probably can’t pronounce “propaganda”
b) he couldn’t spell the word
c) he has no idea what it means
The problem is real and it isn’t the domain of the right, it isn’t the domain of the left; it is a tool used, to great effect, on the intellectually lazy. The people who want their information fed to them, without having to research to any degree.
It is also dangerous. There is, also, no excuse for perpetuating propaganda.
In this world of instant connect, sourcing truth isn’t neurosurgery. When a story is posted, citations should always be available. Hearsay, rumour and tall tales are, easily, debunked. Most citizens of the West are, now, almost surgically attached to their mobile devices. When a situation or an event occurs that is worthy of being shared; it is nothing to take a photo. To record the event as it occurs. If you have no hard evidence that something untoward, something out of the ordinary has occurred, don’t repeat it and claim it as truth. Truth requires evidence or rather should always require evidence, otherwise? It is simply rumour. It is only hearsay and not worthy to be repeated, particularly online.
This is of the upmost importance right now. Accusations of all sorts are flying fast and furious on Facebook, on Snapchat and Twitter. It is time to demand proof. There is no excuse for accusations without proof in this day in age. Were you treated unfairly? Record it, take a pic, take names. Were you the victim of some sort of ill-treatment? Take notes. Don’t just post “Well, this happened to me…yada, yada and another yada.” This kind of claim isn’t worth the time it takes to type or worse, to read.
When a group, political, religious, social or workplace condones the use of rumour, gossip or uncited events; the group loses credibility, particularly if the media gets hold of it and can show the claim as unsubstantiated rumour.
In a perfect world, nothing should be reported without proof, without solid evidence and that applies to Facebook, Twitter and the online world, in general. If you can’t back your shit up, with evidence? Keep it to yourself. I know it is a very high and treacherous mountain to climb, particularly when a pseudo-world leader seems to feel the need to post any and all bullshit that crosses his feed or flickers on his television screen, but we have that responsibility. If we really believe in freedom of speech, then we must take that responsibility seriously. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom to lie, to distort. You can, but it sends a subliminal message; the message is that you are not worthy of the honour of being heard.
If a cause is just, if a cause is truthful, then it doesn’t require lying or exaggeration. It doesn’t require propaganda. Beware the savage jaw…of 1984.