Image

12:22 AM / Sunday November 27, 2022

21 Jan 2017

Why some people will always believe ‘fake news’

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
January 21, 2017 Category: Commentary Posted by:

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.

NNPA

I have been thinking about the controversy surrounding so-called “fake news”, much of which has been discussed in connection with the November 2016 elections. It is important to understand that “fake news” is a form of propaganda called “black propaganda.” Black propaganda refers to information that is manufactured to appear as if it is coming from one source when it is, in reality, coming from somewhere else.

In the early 1970s, during the height of the Black Panther Party, a children’s coloring book surfaced that was inspired by the Black Panther Party. It was targeted at children and was available in offices of the Black Panther Party. I remember looking at it once and noticing that one of the “stories” in it had children shooting police. I thought that was a bit intense, but it was only years later that I discovered that the coloring book had not been created by the Panthers at all. It was a creature of the COINTELPRO operation of the FBI, which utilized such techniques in order to discredit and destroy the Panthers. This was an example of “black propaganda.”

In 2016, it became clear that there have been Internet sites that have circulated an immense amount of false information. These are not from official news agencies. A dramatic example of this was the false allegation that the Clinton campaign had a pedophile ring in Washington, D.C. Someone who believed this story went so far as to show up with a rifle to “investigate” the allegation.

“Fake news” is not new. What we should have learned over the years is that the best defense against so-called fake news is to question what you read. The fact that something appears on the Internet, even from what appear to be reliable sources, does not mean that it is true or accurate. Further, even very sincere people can fall prey to a hoax, as I am sure most of us will admit.

I was doing a training recently and the matter of accurate information came up. The basic question facing the class was how can one know what is true? That is not a new question but the answer remains the same. In the face of any information you must identify and validate the source; one should check to see whether there is independent corroboration; and then determine whether you believe that it is consistent with other information that you know to be accurate.

In all cases, there will be debates around how to interpret any information or data. But interpretation is completely different from agreeing on the facts themselves. The suggestion, for example, that there were masses of Muslims in New Jersey cheering the 9/11 terrorist attacks was backed up by NO facts. Nevertheless, it was spread around the Internet, because of the person who claimed to have seen it. “Fake news,” indeed.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a talk show host, writer and activist. Follow him on Twitter @BillFletcherJr, Facebook and at www.billfletcherjr.com.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Local

Lots of love and laughter as friends, family and loved ones gather at Positano Coast to celebrate Leah Fletcher

November 24, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email Looking in retrospect. Celebrating Leah Fletcher By Monica Peters Sixty persons from near...

Stateside

Mexico prosecutors issue arrest warrant, want U.S. suspect extradited to Mexico in death of Shanquella Robinson

November 25, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico (AP/SUN) — Mexican prosecutors have filed charges against a...

Week In Review

Biden admin to ask high court to take up student debt plan

November 24, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Light illuminates part of the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill...

Politics

Georgia runoff: Why one Senate seat is crucial for Democrats

November 24, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: This combination of photos shows, Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., speaking to...

Health

How to shop for the right Medicare plan and avoid costly mistakes

November 24, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT Inflation is putting the squeeze on all Americans, but no one is...

Color Of Money

Top financial to-dos to end the year strong and prepare for 2023

November 24, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT  The holidays are a time full of good cheer, but not necessarily...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff