EDITORIAL: The truth about fake news

The challenges of spotting fake news.

There’s a certain irony in the fact that as information technology has created a more connected world, we have all become a little less certain of the truth.

Of course, it’s always been the intrinsic genius of skilled liars that they begin with making their lie appear to be true and end with making the truth appear to be false.

That’s the insidious nature of fake news, as well.

RELATED: New campaign aims to help Canadians ‘SPOT’ fake news online

Take a recently issued press release from the NDP. It claimed that the Green Party leader had stated that the party was open to putting the Conservatives in power. The truth was, of course, far more nuanced. Elizabeth May had stated she would work with any party with a climate change plan; arguably not the Conservative party’s strong suit. The claim was, at a minimum, misleading.

For their part, the Conservatives recently got into the game when a B.C. riding association posted a meme that showed comedian Rick Mercer rooting for the Conservative party. It was discovered to be a doctored meme. The original had Mercer simply urging folks to vote. The Conservatives were called on the doctored message and removed it, but the damage was done.

In a far more subtle approach, it’s been reported that the governing Liberals paid more than a half-million dollars to a national broker who, in turn, distributed “news stories” that had, in fact, been written by communications staff in government departments and agencies. These ghostwritten missives, it’s alleged, were more promotion than information but nonetheless presented themselves as news.

And then we have the fake postings that are just silly.

The Green Party doctored a photo of their leader so that the beverage container she was holding became a reusable cup with a metal straw. It was foolish and unnecessary, but still dishonest, and put every other picture the party has released in doubt.

All of this has made the media’s job much harder and recently led News Media Canada, of which Black Press is a member, to launch a media literacy tool to help us all spot the lies that infest the information world.

It’s a good start, but the truth is that everyone’s responsibility to become better at spotting lies and liars.

False reports have the capacity to lead us astray and leave us doubting everything we see and hear. Inevitably that results in a less informed society.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Downtown Victoria tea shop switches to plastic tea bags

Murchie’s Tea and Coffee says the transition is temporary

Dog memorial at Esquimalt Lagoon encourages living in the moment

Owner of Jazz the black lab sets up tennis ball memorial one year after dog’s death

Second puppy killed by poisonous mushrooms in Victoria

Springer spaniel puppy died after consuming mushrooms in Fairfield neighbourhood

Western Speedway racing legend ‘The Flying Plumber’ turns 98

Dave Cooper recalls car crashes, his first win, and more

Esquimalt arson trial hears of feud with tenant before the fire

Wei Li charged with intentionally setting fire to a duplex he owned on Oct. 3, 2017

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

Two RCMP vehicles vandalized in Duncan over long weekend

Local Mounties asking for help in finding culprits

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Most Read