How to Tell Fake News From Real News in ‘Post-Truth’ Era
In this piece Steve Inskeep once again nails it, in any era truth shouldn’t be what you look for, bur rather trust is what you look for. On any given day any outlet and any reporter can lie, but who’s got the best records for reliability over time. Further more, in this time of deceit, how can you and the search engines that we rely on for news get better at determining trust and authority?
Are we really in a post-truth era? Somebody on the Internet said so. Many people, actually.
The presidential campaign was filled with falsehoods. Our president-elect no longer poses as a truth-teller: Aides and supporters say we should not take him literally. That’s good for him, since he endorsed a conspiracy theory that cast doubt on his own election. (Remember? He claimed without evidence that there were “millions” of illegal voters, who, if they did exist, might have swung the election to him?) Fake news stories about a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant prompted a real person to “investigate” with a rifle last week.
But let’s properly define the problem. History and experience tell me it’s not a post-truth era: Facts have always been hard to separate from falsehoods, and political partisans have always made it harder. It’s better to call this a post-trust era.
Either we get this right or we cease to be free citizens.Business, government, churches and the media have fallen in public esteem. These institutions paid a price for an entire generation of wars, scandals, economic convulsions, and cynical politics. We’re left with fewer traditional guideposts for whom to believe. The spread of fake news from fraudulent sources is only a symptom: The larger problem is that many Americans doubt what governments or authorities tell them, and also dismiss real news from traditional sources.