"Fake News"

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"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.

Concept.png "Fake News" Glossary.png 
(propaganda technique,  polarising perspective,  plastic phrase)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png 3
Fake News.jpg
An anti-"Fake News" graphic inspired by the Reefer Madness, the 1936 propaganda film produced to try to demonize marijuana use and smooth the path of anti-cannabis legislation.
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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.

"Fake news", like the phrase "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]

What is it?

"Fake News" is something the speaker either knows is untrue, believes is untrue or wishes were untrue and hopes to encourage other people to ignore. Toby Young, reporting in May 2020 on Facebook's COVID-19 censorship of the Swedish chief epidemiologist Johan Giesecke defending Sweden's response to the pandemic "what counts as “fake news”? Any newsy content that’s gone viral, apparently."[2] Commercially-controlled media have been using increasingly as a cover for internet censorship of unwelcome ideas, most clearly during the COVID-19/Panic. Their official narrative is that people must not be allowed exposed to "radicalising" material, so nominally unbiased "fact checkers" should vet material and leave only the safe information.

"Fact checking"

Full article: “Fact checking”

Who will fact check the fact checkers?... The establishment's self-styled "fact checkers" have sought to portray corporate media as more reliable than 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".[3]

James Corbett, who was accused by the Washington Post of being a Russian Propagandist. / "A Brief History of Fake News" (archived)

“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)  [4]

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."[5]

Usage by corporate media

"Fake news" is "a poorly-defined, amorphous concept that the public has been trained to fear without really understanding."[6]

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[7], 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".[8] Facebook and Google announced in November 2016 that they would take steps to address the issue.[9]

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)  [10]
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.[11]


Research is ongoing into strategies to "vaccinate" people against "Fake News".[12]

Limited individual attention and online virality of low-quality information

The June 2017 first issue of the Journal of Human Behavior contained a study of "Fake News" which was widely cited to explain its tendency to "go viral" on social media.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15]

Legal citation

Many laws have been proposed to tackle "fake news", but often hit trouble because of freedom of speech traditions and/or the difficulty of agreeing what is and is not "fake". In 2020, Viktor Orbán‎‎ passed a "coronavirus law" to allow sentences of up to 5 years in prison for spreading of "fake news".

Li Wenliang, a Chinese doctor in Wuhan was disciplined by the Chinese authorities for 'spreading fake news' because he drew attention to COVID-19.[16]

Eric Schmidt

Sharyl Attkisson ties the first usage of the the words "fake news", in the way they are used in the modern context (ie since 2016), back to Google's funding of the non-profit First Draft. By that she also ties it to Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and later Executive Chairman of Alphabet Inc, since he was a supporter of Hillary Clinton in her 2016 presidential bid with his personal involvement as campaign adviser.[17][18][19]



Alternative media have welcomed the focus on "fake news". 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."[20]

21st Century Wire

Fake news invasion.jpg
Title: "Media Fakery and the Distortion of History" (archived)

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 pushed by commercially-controlled media.[21] 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".[22]

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".[23]


Related Quotations

"Fake news website"“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”.”Michel Chossudovsky24 November 2016
"Fake news website"“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".”25 December 2016
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
Josep Borrell“Disinformation in times of the coronavirus can kill. We have a duty to protect our citizens by making them aware of false information, and expose the actors responsible for engaging in such practices. In today's technology-driven world, where warriors wield keyboards rather than swords and targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns are a recognised weapon of state and non-state actors, the European Union is increasing its activities and capacities in this fight.”Josep Borrell10 June 2020
Marie-Eve Carignan“Early findings show that there really is a rapid uptake of different conspiracy theories, particularly in the United States and France. Similar theories about other diseases that took years to establish themselves only took a few weeks to take hold, super quickly, because people are absorbing so much information! That’s what’s alarming.”Marie-Eve Carignan5 April 2020
William Casey“We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false”William CaseyFebruary 1981
Consensus trance“Nine tenths of the news, as printed in the newspapers, is pseudo-news. Some days ten tenths. The ritual morning trance in which one scans columns of newsprint creates a peculiar form of generalised pseudo-attention to pseudo-reality... My own experience has been that renunciation of this self-hypnosis, of this particiption in this trance is not a sacrifice of reality.”Thomas Merton1968
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
Event 201“Some governments have taken control of national access to the internet. Others are censoring websites and social media content, and a small number have shut down internet access completely to prevent the spread of misinformation. Penalties have been put in place for spreading harmful falsehoods, including arrests. Other countries have taken a more moderate approach and have focused on promoting fact checking efforts and working with traditional media outlets. Yet these approaches are limited in scope. Social media companies report that they're doing all they can to limit the use of their platforms for nefarious or misleading purposes. But this is a technically difficult problem and false misleading or half true information is difficult to sort without limiting potentially true messages. The bottom line is that members of the public no longer know who to trust. Both the misinformation and the measures to control it have led to a crisis of confidence”18 October 2019
Event 201“I also think we are at a moment where the social media platforms have to step forward and recognize the moment to assert that they're a technology platform and not a broadcaster is over. They in fact have to be a participant broadcasting accurate information and partnering with the scientific and health communities to counterweight, if not flood the zone, of accurate information. Because to try to put the genie back in the bottle of the misinformation and disinformation is not possible.”Matthew Harrington18 October 2019
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
GCHQ“Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics:

(1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and

(2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable.”
Glenn Greenwald24 February 2014
IntimidationThis is where we come in: deploying a multi-pronged strategy to
  • investigate sources of disinformation, perform threat assessment, and identify opportunities to combat false narratives
  • debunk fake news and black PR operations
  • discredit and intimidate the platforms broadcasting fake news
  • promote democratic principles and criticize the Russian illiberal”
Věra JourováDisinformation waves have hit Europe during the Coronavirus pandemic. They originated from within as well as outside the EU. To fight disinformation, we need to mobilise all relevant players from online platforms to public authorities, and support independent fact checkers and media. While online platforms have taken positive steps during the pandemic, they need to step up their efforts. Our actions are strongly embedded in fundamental rights, in particular freedom of expression and information.”Věra Jourová10 June 2020
NewsGuard“A new app claiming to serve as a bulwark against "disinformation" by adding "trust rankings" to news websites has links to a PR firm that received nearly $15 million to push pro-Saudi spin in US media, Breitbart reports. NewsGuard and its shady advisory board – consisting of truth-lovers such as Tom Ridge, the first-ever homeland security chief, and former CIA director Michael Hayden – came under scrutiny after Microsoft announced that the app would be built into its mobile browsers. A closer examination of the company's publicly listed investors, however, has revealed new reasons to be suspicious of this self-declared crusader against propaganda. As Breitbart discovered, NewsGuard's third-largest investor, Publicis Groupe, owns a PR firm that has repeatedly airbrushed Saudi Arabia.”Anonymous29 January 2019
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


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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'


An official example



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.
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  1. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jan/25/fake-news-named-word-of-the-year-by-macquarie-dictionary
  2. https://lockdownsceptics.org/2020/05/13/latest-news-29/
  3. http://www.globalresearch.ca/fake-news-on-aleppo-liberation-western-media-lies-and-fabrications-the-words-terrorists-or-al-qaeda-are-not-mentioned/5562356
  4. https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/28/mainstream-medias-victimhood/ ConsortiumNews.com
  5. https://theintercept.com/2016/12/29/the-guardians-summary-of-julian-assanges-interview-went-viral-and-was-completely-false/
  6. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/darpa-fake-news-internet-censorship-879671/
  7. http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-38995205
  8. http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-38636042
  9. http://wideshut.co.uk/facebook-google-fake-news/
  10. http://www.naturalnews.com/056077_CNN_boycott_corporate_sponsors_fake_news.html Natural news
  11. http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/768284/donald-trump-venezuela-cnn-spanish-fake-passports-report
  12. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/01/23/research_psychological_vaccine_could_prevent_fake_news/
  13. https://nypost.com/2019/01/11/widely-cited-study-of-fake-news-retracted-by-researchers/
  14. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-017-0132
  15. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/02/14/ai_solving_fake_news_is_fake_news/
  16. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7961431/Chinese-doctor-detained-warning-social-media-SARS-like-flu-Wuhan-market.html
  17. https://www.ted.com/talks/sharyl_attkisson_how_real_is_fake_news
  18. https://pjmedia.com/video/debra-heine/2018/02/14/sharyl-attkisson-explains-tedx-talk-origins-2016-fake-news-narrative-n90879 saved at Archive.org and Archive.is
  19. https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-02-27-google-head-eric-schmidt-mastermind-behind-fake-news-censorship-agenda.html# saved at Archive.org and Archive.is
  20. http://projectcensored.org/3-pentagon-paid-uk-pr-firm-fake-al-qaeda-videos/
  21. http://21stcenturywire.com/2017/02/14/fake-news-week-a-guide-to-mainstream-media-fake-news-war-propaganda/
  22. https://www.corbettreport.com/episode-329-the-first-annual-real-fake-news-awards/
  23. https://www.thelocal.no/20170331/swedish-and-norwegian-newspapers-ditch-april-fools-due-to-fake-news