Over the course of his presidency, Donald Trump has made many claims, including his claim that he coined the term fake news. Reporting for the Washingtonian, Andrew Beaujon (2019) writes, "During a press conference alongside Finnish President Sauli Niinisto Wednesday, President Trump took credit for inventing the term "fake news": "I don't even use fake anymore," he said, "I call the fake news now corrupt news because fake isn't tough enough. And I'm the one that came up with the term - I'm very proud of it, but I think I'm gonna switch it to corrupt news." (para. 1)
However, as you might expect, the term "fake news" has been around much longer! (See way below.)
That's a good question! Sticking to the parameters of this guide, here we go! These pages seek to show a progression into the murky territory, moving away from an implicit ethical way of moving in the world, into one of obfuscating the nature of (political) opinion, and practicing a familiarity with bold deception.
More than ever, a clear pathway is needed.
This guide will point to the ways and means of tapping into the library's robust (current) news sources along with an easily applied method of evaluating the news of today, and yesterday.
Restated as objectives, this guide will:
1. Show a progression into the murky territory of today's fake news landscape
2. Tap into the library's robust collection of (current) news sources
3. Discuss a straightforward method of evaluating the news of today.
Speaking of trusted and authoritative sources, the Oxford English Dictionary defines fake news as follows:
fake news n. originally U.S. news that conveys or incorporates false, fabricated, or deliberately misleading information, or that is characterized as or accused of doing so.
Would it surprise you to learn that the library has access to this tried & true dictionary. Chick and see! Find your favorite word! Incidentally, one of my personal favorites is: obfuscate.
In an evening radio drama, on October 30, 1938, Orson Welles announced to a terrified audience that Martians were invading New Jersey. Frightened listeners believed that Earth was under attack. In fact, Welles' performance was a dramatic rendering of the H.G. Wells science-fiction classic, "The War of the Worlds," connected to a weekly series of like-minded broadcasts produced in collaboration with the Mercury Theatre on the Air, for CBS.
The drama reportedly caused panic among listeners. Their "anxious phone calls to police, newspaper offices, and radio stations convinced many journalists that the show had caused nationwide hysteria... [with reports of] mass stampedes, of suicides, and of angered listeners threatening to shoot him [Welles] on sight." (Schwartz, 2015, para. 1-2)
In comparison with the fake news of today, this episode of fakeness was short-lived, ending soon after the disturbance began.