"Fake News"

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Concept.png "Fake News" Glossary.png 
(propaganda,  polarising perspective,  plastic phrase)Rdf-icon.png 3
Fake News.jpg
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"Fake news website" is a meme started after the 2016 US election, to disparage websites that dissent from the opinions expressed by commercially-controlled media.

The term "Fake news", like the term "conspiracy theory", is a modern label of disdain, more or less equivalent to what used to be called "propaganda". It was introduced in November 2016, in the phrase "fake news website", and subsequently linked to discussion of internet censorship. However, the shorter phrase "fake news" caught on, becoming Macquarie Dictionary's "word[sic.] of the year" for 2016.[1]

Official narrative

On 15 November 2016, a week after the 2016 US presidential election, Wikipedia user jfhutson started a page entitled "Fake news website".[2] Many commercially-controlled media outlets also started to echo the idea that the internet was full or Russian propaganda, and that this had influenced the outcome of the election. They have lead to calls that information on the internet should be checked for validity by expert "fact checkers", to avoid misleading people. The shorter phrase "fake news" caught on as a popular insult. A Wikipedia page for "fake news" was created on 15 January 2017.[3] In an article which applied the phrase in the context of KGB cold war propaganda, the BBC admitted (on the 1st April, 2017) that "the term fake news has taken on many meanings."[4]


Who will fact check the fact checkers?... Apparently, dissent from the establishment's self-styled "fact checkers" will not be tolerated. The "fake news" meme appears to be being used by corporate media to try to discredit any sources who express dissenting opinions. Global Research, targeted as a "fake news" outlet, made the counterclaim that the New York Times was the "world leader in proliferating fake news".[5]

James Corbett, who was accused by the Washington Post of being a Russian Propagandist
“In the article, the [Washington] Post blurred the lines between “fake news” – stories that are simply made up – and what was deemed “propaganda,” in effect, information that didn’t jibe with what the U.S. State Department was saying.”
Robert Parry (February 28, 2017)  [6]

On December 29, 2016, Glen Greenwald accused The Guardian of "recklessly attribut[ing] to Assange comments that he did not make" that "those who most flamboyantly denounce Fake News, and want Facebook and other tech giants to suppress content in the name of combating it, are often the most aggressive and self-serving perpetrators of it."[7]

Usage by corporate media

A famous piece of "Fake News" from the UK, thought up by publicist Max Clifford in 1986 to boost the career of Freddie Starr

While the BBC admits that "fake news" includes war propaganda created by MI7 a century ago[8], it continues to report as if the problem is a recent one, or at least, one that recently became acute. In January 2017, for example, an article asserted that "deliberate lies [have] been energised by the viral power of social media".[9] Facebook and Google announced in November 2016 that they would take steps to address the issue.[10]

Usage about corporate media

“CNN is the ultimate "fake news" network. There isn't a day that goes by where CNN doesn't deliberately fake a news story, distort a significant event for political purposes, or censor an important piece of news they don't want their viewers to discover.”
Mike Adams (November 19, 2016)  [11]
Natural News on "Fake News", announcing an "economic boycott of CNN corporate sponsors"

When the Venezuelan government banned CNN from their country in 2017, they charged CNN with "fake news" production.[12]

Deep political significance

Wikispooks was included on Propornot's list of 200 Russian propaganda outlets cited by a Washington Post article published under the name of journalist Craig Timberg. The article uncritically echoed the claims of this anonymous group, which stated on its website that it was "an independent team of concerned American citizens". It was widely criticised online,[13] prompting not a retraction, but the addition of a disclaimer by the Washington Post.[14]

Legal Significance

On 8 December 2016, Barack Obama signed the NDAA 2017 into law, which purported to legalize broad internet censorship. 21st Century Wire summarized the act by stating that “long before “fake news” became a major media topic, the US government was already planning its legally-backed crackdown on anything it would eventually label “fake news".” [15]

Fake news invasion.jpg

In California in March 2017 law which the EFF wryly observed was "a censorship bill so obviously unconstitutional, we had to double check that it was real" was proposed to make it a crime to distribute fake news over the world wide web.[16]


The "Fake News" campaign appears to be aimed at dissident websites and has, together with other memes such as "hate speech" as a justification for increasing internet censorship. On 24 November 2016, Michel Chossudovsky opined that “The mainstream corporate media is desperate. They want to suppress independent and alternative online media, which it categorizes as “fake news”. Readers on social media are warned not to go onto certain sites. The intent of this initiative is to smear honest reporting and Truth in Media. Our analysis confirms that the mainstream media are routinely involved in distorting the facts and turning realities upside down. They are the unspoken architects of “Fake News”.” [17]


Research is ongoing into strategies to "vaccinate" people against "Fake News".[18]

Limited individual attention and online virality of low-quality information

The June 2017 first issue of Journal of Human Behavior contained a study of "Fake News" which was widely cited to explain its tendency to "go viral" on social media.[19] After being covered by dozens of news outlets the paper was retracted on 7 January 2019 after an error was discovered which invalidated their conclusion.[20]

Artificial Intelligence

Sites such as Facebook have been introducing software to "fact check" information posted in 2017. Their mechanisms are unknown, but they may be presumed to involve keyword matching and data mining rather than a proper semantic analysis. Some computer scientists reportedly hoped that AI would be able to detect and automatically flag up "Fake News", although the problem is proving harder than initially suspected.[21]



Alternative media have welcomed the focus on "fake news" and have been energetic in documenting their reporting. Some have launched "fake news awards" to highlight the lies of corporate media. Project Censored commented in 2017 that "in a year when pundits and politicians of all stripes as well as members of the public and the establishment press crowed over “fake news,” the US corporate media completely ignored the story of how one of the most powerful US government institutions, the Department of Defense, secretly used taxpayer money to create fake news of its own."[22]

21st Century Wire

On February 14, 2017, 21st Century Wire, a website targeted as a "fake news website", launched "Fake News Week" to try to highlight the deliberate lies told by commercially-controlled media.[23] In March 2017, the site launched the 2017 Horace Greeley Award for Best Fake News Journalist, nominating Jon Snow ahead of Brian Williams, Chris Cuomo, Craig Timberg, Michael Weiss, Rachel Maddow, Brian Stelter, Nicholas Kristof, Ian Pannell and Jake Tapper who were also on the short list.

Corbett Report

In February 2018, the Corbett Report announced "The First Annual REAL Fake News Awards".[24]

Suspending April Fools Day

Swedish and Norwegian newspapers announced that they would refrain from the tradition of publishing April Fools' Day jokes in 2017 out of fear that it might spread "fake news".[25]


Related Quotations

Bilderberg/2017“Bilderberg is concerned about fake news? The world’s most secretive conference, which is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars keeping the press away from its sacred discussions, which has spent decades lying and obfuscating about itself, wants to ensure the spread of truth?”Charlie Skelton2 June 2017
William Casey“We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false”William CaseyFebruary 1981
Riam Dalati“Sick and tired of activists and [Syrian] rebels using corpses of dead children to stage emotive scenes for Western consumption. Then they wonder why some serious journos are questioning part of the narrative,”Riam DalatiFebruary 2019
Der Spiegel“This week, Der Spiegel, the German news weekly, was forced to admit that one of its former star reporters, the award-winning Claas Relotius, “falsified his articles on a grand scale.””Robert Bridge22 December 2018
Facebook“it seems every day we uncover information about how platforms like Facebook have used our personal data to target us with highly-tailored messaging that merges advertising for goods and services with political messages that reflect our interests and values through our online viewing reinforced by viewpoints we like and follow. This is exacerbated by a financial model that gives financial reward to content that is clicked and shared most widely.”6 August 2018
Freedom of speech“Being right doesn’t entitle you to censor everyone who is wrong. That’s the central safeguard against tyranny, because even truth would be a tyranny if it didn’t allow opposition. Free speech – real free speech – has to include the right to be wrong, rude, stupid, offensive and a lying jerk. Because once you outlaw any of that – you’ve effectively ended free speech for all of us forever.”'Catte'26 February 2017
Charlie Skelton“Bilderberg is concerned about fake news? The world’s most secretive conference, which is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars keeping the press away from its sacred discussions, which has spent decades lying and obfuscating about itself, wants to ensure the spread of truth.”Charlie Skelton2017

Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Rothschild TNK-BP Intriguers Drafted The Trump-Russia Reportarticle14 January 2017Yoichi ShimatsuAn in-depth analysis of a 35 page UK-sourced intelligence document purporting to discredit Donald Trump and prove Russian involvement in the so-called 'hacking' of the 2016 presidential election.
Document:Staged ISIS Videos are the Plot of Iron Man 3article14 September 2014Jay DyerPredictive programming and fake news - an analysis of the ISIS 'beheading' videos and 'Iron Man 3'
== Rating ==
3star.png 4 December 2017 Robin  An overview of this phrase
This article tells how "Fake News website", a concept intended to increase trust in corporate media, became "fake news", which increased circumspection about corporate media.


  1. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jan/25/fake-news-named-word-of-the-year-by-macquarie-dictionary
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Fake_news_website&oldid=749709748
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Fake_news&dir=prev&action=history
  4. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39419560
  5. http://www.globalresearch.ca/fake-news-on-aleppo-liberation-western-media-lies-and-fabrications-the-words-terrorists-or-al-qaeda-are-not-mentioned/5562356
  6. https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/28/mainstream-medias-victimhood/ ConsortiumNews.com
  7. https://theintercept.com/2016/12/29/the-guardians-summary-of-julian-assanges-interview-went-viral-and-was-completely-false/
  8. http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-38995205
  9. http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-38636042
  10. http://wideshut.co.uk/facebook-google-fake-news/
  11. http://www.naturalnews.com/056077_CNN_boycott_corporate_sponsors_fake_news.html Natural news
  12. http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/768284/donald-trump-venezuela-cnn-spanish-fake-passports-report
  13. https://theintercept.com/2017/01/04/washpost-is-richly-rewarded-for-false-news-about-russia-threat-while-public-is-deceived/
  14. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-07/washington-post-apends-russian-propaganda-story-admits-it-may-be-fake
  15. http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/12/25/2017-ndaa-obama-signs-countering-disinformation-and-propaganda-act/ 21st Century Wire , 25 December 2016
  16. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/03/california-bill-ban-fake-news-would-be-disastrous-political-speech
  17. https://www.globalresearch.ca/who-is-behind-fake-news-mainstream-media-use-fake-videos-and-images/5557580 Global Research , 24 November 2016
  18. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/01/23/research_psychological_vaccine_could_prevent_fake_news/
  19. https://nypost.com/2019/01/11/widely-cited-study-of-fake-news-retracted-by-researchers/
  20. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-017-0132
  21. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/02/14/ai_solving_fake_news_is_fake_news/
  22. http://projectcensored.org/3-pentagon-paid-uk-pr-firm-fake-al-qaeda-videos/
  23. http://21stcenturywire.com/2017/02/14/fake-news-week-a-guide-to-mainstream-media-fake-news-war-propaganda/
  24. https://www.corbettreport.com/episode-329-the-first-annual-real-fake-news-awards/
  25. https://www.thelocal.no/20170331/swedish-and-norwegian-newspapers-ditch-april-fools-due-to-fake-news
Facts about ""Fake News""
ConstitutesPropaganda +, Polarising perspective + and Plastic word +
Description"Fake news website" is a meme started after the 2016 US election, to disparage websites that dissent from the opinions expressed by commercially-controlled media. +
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GlossaryDescription"Fake news" is a modern word for "[[propag
"Fake news" is a modern word for "propaganda", a term which was itself more or less replaced by "public relations". It was launched by the commercially-controlled media in late 2016, in an effort to try to tackle the decreasing confidence in the US public in corporate media. Originally, the phrase was "fake news website", an attempt to tarnish websites with an air of unreliability. As of 2018, the campaign seems have have backfired, with fewer people than ever trusting corporate media, and more US citizens than ever aware that the deep state manipulates the news headlines to suit its deeper purposes.
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