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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

View Royal fire chief calls for realistic solutions to ‘mess’ at Thetis Lake

Emergency crews harassed while extinguishing brush fire, rescuing drunk 15-year-old during long weekend calls

Greater Victoria woman goes on gratitude mission to thank first responders

Jen Klein fainted while driving and crashed on Pat Bay Highway in 2019

Non-venomous ball python missing in Vic West

Snake was reported missing to Victoria police Tuesday morning

Crews respond to medical incident on West Saanich Road

Incident appears to be cleared, witnesses say

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Most Read