There’s nothing new about fake news

There’s a lot of noise from the chattering classes regarding fake news, and reference to alternative facts, that have become part and parcel of reportage from the White House. Fake news reports came thick and fast during the 2016 presidential campaign, many generated on various social media and alternative media sites about leading candidates in both political parties.

When these reports went viral they were reported on mainstream media, and since President Trump has been in power he has labelled anything as fake news when it’s unfavourable.

In the war of words between the White House and the mainstream media, we armchair critics need not necessarily accept very much of the hyperbole being expressed on all sides. We should remember that there has been many incidents where John Q. Public has been taken for a ride by both the administration in power, and the media alike.

There are enough instances of fake news and alternative facts surrounding George W. Bush’s Iraq Attack, and search for Weapons Of Mass Destruction, to fill many libraries; yet he was given a second term as Commander-In-Chief, indicating that the electorate believed what they were being told.

Before him we had years of fake news and alternative facts around the salacious saga of President Bill Clinton’s many illicit liaisons in Washington and beyond, and tawdry business dealings in Arkansas. Nobody forgets about President Ronald Reagan’s fake news and alternative facts concerning the Iran-Contra debacle; and the doozy of them all was President Richard Nixon’s Watergate Scandal.

Surely it should be up to consumers to absorb what available news they wish, to take note of the source, and use god-given logic to decide what is fake and what isn’t. Author Lillian Hellman once observed: “Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth.” When dealing with some politicians, cynicism is sometimes a virtue.

Bernie Smith