Fake news has become an unfortunate part of the media landscape, spreading wildly across computer screens and mobile phones and being shared on every social media platform in existence. And readers are being suckered by these sites every day, convinced that they are reading something real.
Of course, fake news isn’t a new problem for the media.
“In the past, people fabricated content. There were ‘midnight flyers,’ which were pieces of propaganda usually sent out by candidates and put on the windshield of your car or under your door at home. And there were forms of content that contained serious misinformation in them. Sometimes they looked news-like and sometimes they didn’t,” explains Dr. Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. “But there wasn’t a mass distribution system for it, so it had real trouble taking hold. Now with the web, anyone can sit at the computer, create content and try to move it virally through like-minded channels. It doesn’t take any time to do it, and it isn’t expensive.” [Full story: News Media Alliance/Jennifer Peters]