What is Fake News?

It’s easy to understand what fake news means when you understand what real news should be. Real news is created by professional journalists that have been trained to research and write up news stories. Their news stories present all the relevant facts in an unbiased way and allow their readers to reach their own conclusions. Professional journalists are accountable for what they write: they will be discliplined (or fired) if a story they write is found to have been falsified.

Everything else is fake news:

  • A comedy writer who invents a funny story to ridicule a public figure
  • A foreign agent who invents a false story to lead people to question the truth
  • A blogger who exaggerates the conclusions of a real story
  • A columnist who selectively reports facts to support their opinion
  • A plagiarist who paraphrases, summarizes, or quotes extensively from someone else’s news article
  • A news person who mixes the facts with their own opinion to lead the reader to a particular conclusion

Fake news organizations have no accountability for what they post. They just want people to look at their posts so they can get money from advertisers. If their posts are called out as fake, they will say it was a joke, that their original source is to blame, or that their users are responsible for checking the facts themselves. If a fake news posted is tracked down and sued for posting fake news, they will simply shut down their site and restart somewhere else.

Reputable news organizations don’t want to compromise their reputation by posting fake news, so they spend a lot of money to support professional news gathering and fact checking. They label an article as news or opinion so their users don’t have to check for themselves. If they post fake news, they can be held accountable.

Real news organizations lose money when people are drawn to fake news sites.

Don’t support fake news. Don’t like it. Don’t share it. Don’t even click on it. It’s not worth it.