Fake News Is Old News

Seamus Coughlin

Fake News: it's our new favorite buzzword. A politician you like got criticized? Fake news! Outlets are printing statistical information that doesn’t uphold your narrative? Fake news! Anyone publishes anything you don’t like? Fake news!

There's a lot of buzz around this concept lately, but it isn’t a new one. Not long ago, words like “media bias” or “agenda-driven programming” would replace “fake news” in almost every one of those previous sentences. And before that, words like “heresy,” “blasphemy,” “balderdash,” and “poppycock” were equivalents. They’re just quick phrases constructed to delegitimize another perspective without examining it.

So, if people have been trying to discredit information they disagree with since the dawn of time, why is this concept of fake news so much more pressing at the present moment?

It’s been said that we now live in the post-truth era. This leads me to ask: when was the era of truth? Did I miss it? At what point did we devolve from a population of highly tuned skeptics and into uncritical consumers of faulty information?

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