Fake news

false or misleading information presented as news

Fake news is a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media.

In principle the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population.... chronic shortage of half the necessities... is deliberate policy to keep even the favored groups somewhere near the brink of hardship, because a general state of scarcity increases the importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the distinction between one group and another. ~George Orwell in 1984
A general state of scarcity increases the importance of small privileges... War... not only accomplishes the necessary destruction, but accomplishes it in a psychologically acceptable way. In principle it would be quite simple to waste the surplus labour of the world... by digging holes and filling them up again, or even by producing vast quantities of goods and then setting fire to them. But this would provide only the economic and not the emotional basis for a hierarchical society... In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance. ~George Orwell in 1984
Three running men carrying papers with the labels "Humbug News", "Fake News", and "Cheap Sensation".
Reporters with various forms of "fake news" from an 1894 illustration by Frederick Burr Opper


  • Back in the 1800s, back in before the 20th century, especially in the 1800s, American journalism was a very, very factionalized partisan thing. Political parties had their own newspapers and their own magazines, and every one gave its version of political spin and interpretation. 20th century, for a variety of reasons, not just because we got smarter or more rational, maybe somewhat [of] that, there began being more of a shared set of facts in our media. People disagree violently left, right, center, whatever, but the facts were agreed upon.
  • In late April and early May the World Socialist Web Site, which identifies itself as a Trotskyite group that focuses on the crimes of capitalism, the plight of the working class and imperialism, began to see a steep decline in readership. The decline persisted into June. Search traffic to the World Socialist Web Site has been reduced by 75 percent overall. And the site is not alone. ... The reductions coincided with the introduction of algorithms imposed by Google to fight “fake news.” Google said the algorithms are designed to elevate “more authoritative content” and marginalize “blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information.” It soon became apparent, however, that in the name of combating “fake news,” Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are censoring left-wing, progressive and anti-war sites. The 150 most popular search terms that brought readers to the World Socialist Web Site, including “socialism,” “Russian Revolution” and “inequality,” today elicit little or no traffic.
  • We live in a time of fake news - things that are made up and manufactured.
  • My definition of fake news is a content-like object that is a story, an article, a video, a tweet that has been fabricated, completely invented out of thin air, intentionally for the purpose of misleading.
  • When terrorists attack, they’re terrorizing. When we attack, we’re retaliating. When they respond to our retaliation with further attacks, they’re terrorizing again. When we respond with further attacks, we’re retaliating again. When people decry civilian deaths caused by the U.S government, they're aiding propaganda efforts. In sharp contrast, when civilian deaths are caused by bombers who hate America, the perpetrators are evil and those deaths are tragedies. When they put bombs in cars and kill people, they're uncivilized killers. When we put bombs on missiles and kill people, we're upholding civilized values. When they kill, they're terrorists. When we kill, we're striking against terror.
  • Orwell's 1984 explained that "the special function of certain Newspeak words … was not so much to express meanings as to destroy them." During the week after U.S. missiles hit sites in Sudan and Afghanistan, some Americans seemed uncomfortable. A vocal minority even voiced opposition. But approval was routine among those who had learned a few easy Orwellian lessons... At all times, Americans must be kept fully informed about who to hate and fear... No matter how many times they’ve lied in the past, U.S. officials are credible in the present. When they... [say] the bombed pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum was making ingredients for nerve gas, that should be good enough for us.... Might doesn’t make right — except in the real world, when it’s American might. Only someone of dubious political orientation would split hairs about international law.
  • ...a lot of people say they've lost trust in the media, and they think everything is propaganda. And then it becomes very hard to come to any kind of a consensus in society where we say, well, look; you and I disagree on a certain policy, but here are some facts underlying it, and we can at least agree on those facts, whereas now I feel like a lot of people are just adrift. They don't know what to believe.
  • The “legacy media” we work for have lost their role as information gatekeepers as technology erased entry barriers. Now, the verified and proven ability to get real information and strict rules against faking it are suddenly relevant again. A leaked audio posted on the web is worthless when it cannot be authenticated — but a recording made by a specific journalist with a job to protect and a news organization with a reputation to safeguard is a different matter.

See also

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