I’m not sympathetic with those who complain about the proliferation of fake news. It wouldn’t be a problem if people weren’t so gullible.
USA Today published an article attempting to explain why. But others have known the reason for years.
P.T. Barnum purportedly claimed, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” The statement is accurate, but a careful search reveals that he probably isn’t the first to proclaim this. Various forms of the aphorism have been around for centuries.
Mark Twain wrote many truths. Others have been ascribed to him. One that he probably didn’t pen first speaks to the weakness of humans to be seduced by duplicity. “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
People should be skeptical of what they read, see and hear. The Latin expression summarizes the caution perfectly.
Caveat emptor, quia ignorare non debuit quod jus alienum emit. (Let a purchaser beware, for he ought not to be ignorant of the nature of the property which he is buying from another party.)
Perhaps it’s the professional skepticism that journalist are taught. But I always seek at least two sources to confirm any information I come across.
The old journalism admonition still is good advice. “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”
This Poynter article illustrates the value of such advice.
Now if today’s journalists and the rest of us would just take a few moments to do the same, fake news would not be a problem.