What exactly is 'Fake News'? Sat in a media event on Wednesday I heard a young journalist frame his question to a seasoned television reporter on the panel something like this.
"...with the appointment of Breitbart founder Steve Bannon to the Trump administration..."
He went on to ask his question which left an open goal for the panel journalist, to kick his ball home. The ball was struck with ad-hominems against Trump, and a rant which conflated the Breitbart organization with all the 'fake news' stories he was sure had swung the election against the legitimate candidate.
Firstly, as anyone with even a passing level of knowledge about Breitbart knows, the organization was founded by Andrew Breitbart, not Steve Bannon. The clue is perhaps in the name!
Now, this is troublesome for two reasons.
First - surely a basic fact check might have been in order for the young reporter asking the question?
Second - the fact the panelist not only didn't correct him but instead jumped on the question, deftly converting it into an opportunity to trash Breitbart news.
Incidentally, Breitbart are ranked number one in the world for political social media - why is this you may wonder? Is it because the peasant workers are both stupid and desperate for 'fake-news'? Or, might it be because their mix of truth and humor (albeit sometimes brutal and never politically correct humor) has generated solid engagement and trust with the populace?
Here's a question for those journalists and editors who agree with this panelist and his view of Breitbart in as fake news? Who broke the Cologne mass sexual assault story in January 2015 when all the real news media were, let's be charitable, too hungover to publish...
That's right, Breitbart London.
What is 'Fake News'? Fake news is apparently whatever and whoever you say it is, as long as you happen to work for a major media corporation.