Fight­ing Fake News

Alive - - Misuse -

Fake news, a term heav­ily pop­u­larised by the US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, was named the word of the year by Collins Dic­tionary in 2017 due to its wide­spread use around the world. In Novem­ber 2017, the UK-based lex­i­cog­ra­pher found that the use of fake news reg­is­tered a 365 per cent rise in the last 12 months, re­flect­ing Trump’s con­sis­tent use of the 2016 US pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in re­tal­i­a­tion to un­flat­ter­ing me­dia cov­er­age.

De­fined as “false, of­ten sen­sa­tional, in­for­ma­tion dis­sem­i­na­tion un­der the guise of news re­port­ing”, fake news took over from ‘Brexit’ — which was named the de­fin­i­tive word in 2016 af­ter the June 2016 ref­er­en­dum in favour of the UK’s exit from the Euro­pean Union. “Fake news, ei­ther as a state­ment of fact or as an ac­cu­sa­tion, has been in­escapable, con­tribut­ing to the un­der­min­ing of so­ci­ety’s trust in news re­port­ing,” said He­len New­stead, Collin’s head of lan­guage con­tent.

North­ern Michi­gan’s Lake Su­pe­rior State Univer­sity, US, on 31 De­cem­ber 2017 re­leased its 43rd An­nual List of Words Ban­ished from the Queen’s English for mis­use, overuse and gen­eral use­less­ness. The tongue-in-cheek non-bind­ing list of 14 words or phrases comes from thou­sands of sug­ges­tions. The list in­cludes “let me ask you this”, “un­pack”, “im­pact­ful”, “dish”, “let that sink in”, and the top vote-getter “fake news”.

The shoul­der-shrug­ging re­ply “what­ever” con­tin­ues to an­noy Amer­i­cans more than other words or phrases, but “fake news” is com­ing on strong. The An­nual Marit Col­lege poll of most an­noy­ing words and phrases found “what­ever” top­ping the list for ninth straight year. “Fake news” was ahead of “no of­fence, but”.

2017 was a year when Congress pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi was re­ported to have signed his name in the “non-Hindu” vis­i­tors’ reg­is­ter at Som­nath Tem­ple in Gu­jarat, new Rs 2,000 notes had nano-chips, Mus­lims fed a bomb to a cow and lynched ‘gau­rak­shaks’ to death. Fake news ap­peared cred­i­ble, landed on your phone through What­sApp and was in­ces­santly re­peated on so­cial me­dia.

The US Pres­i­dent has reg­u­larly used the phrase to crit­i­cize cer­tain me­dia re­ports. Trump also claimed that the “fake news is work­ing over­time” in con­nec­tion to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 elec­tions. On 8 Jan­uary 2018, Trump post­poned the an­nounce­ment of his “fake news awards” to the “most cor­rupt and bi­ased” Amer­i­can main­stream me­dia for its “dis­hon­esty and bad re­port­ing.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.