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Fake news

The Western liberal establishment seem to be in a state of shock as to how Donald Trump managed to get himself elected as US President. One of the features of Trump's campaign which will baffle them was that he made no real attempt to pursue the idea of 'good PR', which the modern Western professional politician seems to regard as essential. PR notionally stands for 'public relations', but nowadays PR seems to have little to do with the public. In practice it tends to mean seeking good relations with the news media, particularly the left-liberal news media, and various other strangely influential organisations like NGOs. From a PR standpoint, Trump's campaign ought to have been a disaster. In trying to explain what happened, the liberal establishment seem to have now latched on to the idea that Trump must have benefited somehow from something that they call 'fake news'.

An example of the Western liberal establishment's increasing paranoia over fake news is this news story about an interview that the Apple CEO Tim Cook recently gave to the Daily Telegraph:

Cook interview

Cook seems to think that fake news 'is killing people's minds' and advocates that governments should launch public information campaigns to warn the public about it. He also advocates that children should be educated in schools about the issue, like he says they already have been with environmentalist ideas:

"And he said schools had to do more to educate children on how to tell the difference between reliable and unreliable news sources.

“It’s almost as if a new course is required for the modern kid, for the digital kid.”

But he said in some ways, children should be “the easiest to educate” and they could then share their increased awareness with their parents.

“We saw this with environmental issues: kids learning at school and coming home and saying, 'Why do you have this plastic bottle? Why are you throwing it away?' ”"


To me, environmental journalism is to a large extent a long-running example of this fake news that Cook is talking about, but of course he would fail to see that.

We can get some idea of the likely direction that Silicon Valley tech companies would try to move things in regarding fake news from the activities of Wikipedia in this area. Cook is talking about 'unreliable news sources', and for Wikipedia that tends to mean politically right-leaning news sources. This link provides a list of news sources that are currently regarded as 'unreliable' by Wikipedia, and editors are asked to avoid using the sources as references in Wikipedia articles:

Wikipedia unreliable new sources


State-associated news organisations: Xinhua, KCNA, The Straits Times, Press TV, Russia Today, Sputnik News

‘A reputation for gossip’: TMZ

Tabloids: The National Enquirer, The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday

‘Corporate press releases’: PR Newswire, VerticalNews

‘Conspiracist websites’: Infowars

‘Sites that may appear to be reliable sources for Wikipedia, but aren’t’: Examiner.com, Articlesnatch.com, The Onion, The Daily Currant, The Lapine, Newslo.com, Politicalo.com

Scholarly journals ‘to be used with extreme caution’: Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Rivista di Biologia, Medical Hypotheses, Energy & Environment, Medical Veritas, Mankind Quarterly, Creation Research Society Quarterly


I've added the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday to the list of unreliable tabloid news sources in the above list. The Daily Mail (and probably the Mail on Sunday as well, as it operates from the dailymail.co.uk website) got banned by Wikipedia last week, probably in retaliation for the recent David Rose articles on climate change which suggest that NOAA is a rather corrupt organisation. Ironically the most famous British 'fake news' newspapers, the Sunday Sport and the Daily Sport, are not in the list, along with the Daily Star. The Daily Mirror is also in the list, despite it being a left-leaning newspaper (it was the only national newspaper that used to support the old version of the UK's Labour party, 'Old Labour'), but I suspect its inclusion might be related to British graduate lefties never really liking it for being 'sexist' (it used to feature photos of topless models for quite a few years, as part of an effort to compete with the Sun newspaper).

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Re: Fake news - by brad.tittle - Feb 22, 2017 2:53am
Re: Fake news - by Dave Gardner - Feb 22, 2017 2:57pm
Re: Fake news - by Edward Welsh - Feb 25, 2017 12:16pm
800g of fruit & veg - by Dave Gardner - Feb 28, 2017 1:50pm
Re: 800g of fruit & veg - by Brad Tittle - Feb 28, 2017 5:50pm
Re: 800g of fruit & veg - by Ben - Feb 28, 2017 7:59pm
Re: Fake news / Fasting Days - by Clive Foster - Feb 28, 2017 11:16pm