PALM OIL IN­DUS­TRY

New Straits Times - - Opinion -

ANEW topic has re­cently made head­lines. This con­cerns the spread of fake news. News which can­not be sub­stan­ti­ated by facts. And, there is al­ways a hid­den agenda be­hind such news. It be­came a big is­sue dur­ing the United States pres­i­den­tial election. There were claims that the coun­try was bom­barded with so much in­vented news de­signed to in­flu­ence the election. That led to a blame game. The Democrats blamed ex­ter­nal forces out to dis­credit their can­di­date. The Repub­li­cans ve­he­mently de­nied they were in­volved. Can­di­date Don­ald Trump voiced his dis­ap­point­ment with the main­stream me­dia for spread­ing fake news. Trump, as pres­i­dent, still dis­trusts the me­dia.

This is ap­par­ently not a new phe­nom­e­non. In fact, the spread­ing of un­true news has al­ways been a strat­egy to shape public opin­ion. Take the claim of Iraq hav­ing weapons of mass de­struc­tion fu­elled by Western me­dia. It be­came truly con­vinc­ing for a global au­di­ence. The hid­den agenda was to create a case to re­move Sad­dam Hus­sein from power. Many would not be sur­prised that there may have been more of such in­vented news in the past.

Things are dif­fer­ent now and get­ting worse. With the ad­vent of

THURS­DAY, MAY 4, 2017

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