Sunday, December 11, 2016

On "Fake News"

I have devoted my life to language and understanding how it works and doesn't work. And really, I say the following with utmost seriousness: ALL news is fake news.

We should not fall into the trap of pretending we can draw a line between real news and "fake" news. Even those who seek utter objectivity in reporting cannot achieve it, because they are already choosing to underline certain facts and ignore others, which is one of the most determinant levers of bias. The existence of intentionally misleading news stories is nothing new. It should sharpen our critical abilities and prod us to check sources, rather than push us to declare which news providers are "fake".

Making blanket declarations--"That site is all fake news"--will only lead people to give more credence to news providers that are already FAKE ENOUGH to warrant suspicion and deeper checking. Cf. CNN, or any of our other mainstream news sources.

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