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Opinion: How the 'Fake News Media' reached the UK

The 'fake news media', a phrase coined by Donald Trump and arguably started by writer (and sometime journalist) George Orwell, has called down upon the heads of journalists a plague to rival even that of Covid19.

President Donald Trump. Picture: Chris Szagola/PA (43438592)
President Donald Trump. Picture: Chris Szagola/PA (43438592)

As these key-board warriors sharpen their Wotsit covered weapon of choice, they claim that every news outlet is being thrown gold doubloons by rich, faceless barons to control the public. Or staging photos to beat the passively-consuming masses into submission, all with an evil editor at the helm, no doubt wiping himself from a thick wad of 50s.

This is the rather worrying rhetoric that is rampant today, born of despotic rage at neo-liberalism, social media addiction and click-bait articles from the real fake news, which for all we know is housed in a shed snuggled somewhere in the depths of Taiwan- pioneered by a group of hoodlums with nothing more than a few cans of Monster and access to the Dark Web.

‘What about freedom of speech?’ you ask, as you attempt to apply duct tape to the mouths of your informational outlets and your newspapers.

‘What about my right to an opinion?’ you ask, as you accuse your newspaper, yet again of being nothing more than a government mouthpiece.

It is par for the course, that every story covered will be hounded by a legion of trolls brandishing mis-spelt verbal clubs.

This is the inevitable fate of the journalist, who often has no opinion on the matter (and if they did you wouldn’t know about it) and has been trained to report the facts, and only the facts.

This we have accepted.

Yet the cries of ‘fake news’ or ‘staged by the press’ reveal a writhing undercurrent of distrust among the public, one that lends itself to extremist groups like QAnon, disturbing anti-vax theories and 5G conspiracies.

Social media has created a mentality where everyone is a reporter, everyone gets to choose what is published and if they don’t like or agree with it, then of course they must fight it with all the eloquence of a three year old at bedtime.

In psychological circles that is often called narcissism, but online it seems perfectly acceptable.

As presented by the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma, the use of social media can actually veer one’s opinion or steer an individual politically through sophisticated targeted advertising and incite social rage.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have come a long way from being a cute little dear diary, and are now highly-evolved data mining industries that can track your location, know what you had for lunch and what you last typed into Google.

If journalists had that kind of financial fire power, well, they wouldn’t be journalists.

So the next time you log on to Facebook to tell your local paper how fake they are, just ask yourself who’s actually controlling you.

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