#Pizzagate and the Front-Paging /Effect of Fake News
Fake news did not start last year or last year but one. The first traces of fake news goes back into the 1600s in Ancient Rome, during this time, Augustus Octavian went around campaigning using fake information about Mark Anthony. During those years, the effect of fake news was only limited to a certain location and population. Fake news was through forging original documents, reading them, editing and then later sealing them back.
Faking governmental information was risky due the system of ruling time that did not recognize democracy. Perpetrators did not have a chance to defend themselves, therefore there only a few individuals dared faking news. The twenty first century way of fake news is different from the ancient system of fake news (Andrew Higgins). This is due to revolution and civilization. Civilization creates new ways of doing things that are better than the existing.In the 1800s, print outs such as newspaper and magazines were the only way of airing fake news and propaganda.
However, things changed with the innovation of computers, telephones, radios and TVs over the years. Now, with all technology we have those in the twenty first century such as the internet, communication is faster than ever. With the internet, social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube and so many others have become the main source of information on what is happening around the world. People receive all kinds of news from these sites, all one needs is internet access and connection (Smith).
Some of the examples of fake news from history include:
The story on how the British troops slaughtered citizens by the American independence leaders (Armstrong, 2017).“Great Astronomical Discoveries Lately Made” this is a title that run on ‘The New York Sun’ newspaper in 1835 detaining the existence of life on the moon. The story stating how an astronomer came into face with life on the moon. The newspaper attracted many new customers and its sales went high thus making profits within the time it was running. The story also attracted new customers.
The above is a front page of the newspaper with the first part of the story
In 1874, another fake story on the breakage of animals from Central Park Zoo run on New York Herald. The story further explained how the animals were roaming in the streets and that there were reports of attacks form the animals with deaths reported (Armstrong).
The above is an illustration describing the fake escape.
Fake news is the process of twisting and creating a false information about certain specific individuals, organizations or governments. Fake news are rumors with no credible source. People who pass fake news do it on purpose to keep the truth from the intended individuals or population. People make fake news for different reasons. Some of the reasons include seeking popularity among the intended people, for profit making and undermining others.
Fake news is bad because it misleads people, causes bad blood among the intended parties and leads to misguided judgment. Fake news matters a lot because wrong information that is not true may lead to injuries to the victim and panic around the people. In some cases, people have committed suicide due to fake news going on around them. This especially happens among teenagers and people with low self-esteem (Uberti).
The idea of publishing a fake news about someone begins with a personal issue that one is trying to solve. Personal issues might be issues of money, cultural beliefs and political alignment. For example, during the US elections, young people in a certain town in Macedonia seized a chance on trending online by coming up with fake news about Trump after realizing news about him attracted more traffic to their Facebook, twitter and other sites than what they were initial trending. By gaining traffic in the internet, they made money through advertising and marketing.
The ideas of creating fake news requires a keen attention on news trending on the social sites (NPR). After finding a trending story with considerable likes and comments, the writer edits it, spices it with fake information, and then posts it back to the same social sites or to websites that they own. When the readers get the stories, there is little truth about them. They will be reading something very different from what they expected without their knowledge. Therefore, untruthful news influence the decisions the audience make and creates wealth for the person behind story. This kind of untruthful information has consequences because people base their judgment on the available it.
.Andrew Higgins, Mike McIntire & Gabriel J.X. Dance. “Hit a ‘Gold Mine’ in Fake News.” The New York 26 November 2016: A1.
.Armstrong, Stephen. Pizza, politics and pure fiction: the rise of fake news . 6 January 2017. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/pizza-politics-pure-fiction-rise-fake-news/>.
.NPR. Fake News Expert On How False Stories Spread And Why People Believe Them. 14 December 2016. <http://www.npr.org/2016/12/14/505547295/fake-news-expert-on-how-false-stories-spread-and-why-people-believe-them>.
.Smith, Chris. The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History: as told by Jon Stewart, the correspondents, staff and guests. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2016.
.Uberti, David. “The real history of fake news.” 16 December 2016. Colombia Journalism Review. <http://www.cjr.org/special_report/fake_news_history.php>.