You would have thought it would end with the election, but The Federalist writer Daniel Payne says the plague of “fake news” has grown. “The worst of these stories have taken off since he was elected,” Payne says of President Trump’s ascendancy. “On the day of the inauguration, there was a story in the New York Times claiming that Trump had purged all references of Climate Change from the White House website.” Payne says the move was actually just a routine matter of setting up the site for a new president, but some people thought there were reading between the lines. “This was shared a great deal on social media, it went viral, and people were freaking out.” Retractions and corrections, Payne says, never draw the attention an original article attracts.
Facebook, Google, Twitter and other high-tech companies are putting their own operations in place to try to halt the spread of inaccuracies and downright frauds while some lawyers in the U.S. are examining the finer points of statutes governing issues of defamation and liability.
Payne, who also blogs for “Trial of the Century,” says fake news is a cultural problem that no one person will be able to fix. He says many of these fallacies come from a mainstream media, “who are willing to believe the worst about Donald Trump, and are willing to go press with stories they haven’t verified, they haven’t fact-checked, they haven’t done any research at all. And then when the inevitable retraction or correction is printed, no one is paying attention.”
Payne cites 16 fake news stories that have criticized Trump since he took office, including erroneous claims of hacking during the election and a “non-existent” page about Climate Change on the White House website.