09 March 2017

Peter Bale

A personal view: Fight “fake news” with ethical news

When the source lies facts are the best counter argument

Each time I have tried to find the right moment to write a commentary on the phenomenon of “fake news,” some fresh outrage erupts and makes my thoughts at that moment instantly out of date.
As I write, the latest outrage is a burst of “fake news” direct from the source: the president of the United States asserting that his predecessor tapped his communications during last year’s election campaign.

Not content with making the claim on his Twitter feed, the president and his spokesman called for a Congressional inquiry, thus escalating a false claim — apparently based on a misreading of a clearly slanted story on the Breitbart “news” site — into a political and potentially judicial action.
President Trump has effectively abused his office with an unprecedented and provably wrong claim about his predecessor. [Even the much-maligned former head of the National Security Agency, James Clapper, has dismissed it.] Yet it is just the latest in an almost daily series of head-spinning challenges to the principles of judgment, facts and experience that typically underlie politics and journalism.