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FAKE
FAKE
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FAKE 

It simply isn’t accurate, its premise a mistake
In fact it’s quite apparent that the story is a fake.
Yet on Facebook and on Twitter it’s so constantly in view
That what started as a lie is now indubitably true. 

       Lately “fake news” is in the news. Since this is a website about satire it is bound to include fake news, for several on-line satirical sites make it clear that they are proud purveyors of deliberate spoofs. They are especially proud when their spoofs are taken seriously by authoritative media.
       The Onion has enjoyed several successes of this kind. The site’s crowning of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un as “the sexiest man alive” was triumphantly repeated by China’s People’s Daily Online. And Iran’s state-run news solemnly repeated a fake Gallup Poll invented by Onion reporting that most rural Caucasian voters would rather spend time with Ahmadinejad than with Obama. 
        Of course, it’s easy to fool those who are not familiar with American humor. But this does not excuse the Fox News website for indignantly repeating excerpts from an Onion invention “Frustrated Obama Sends Nation Rambling 75,000 word e-mail.” And even the New York Times was fooled into taking seriously a fake cover showing Obama alongside teen-age idols and revealing “I sing in the shower.”
       Unhappily fake news is not limited to satirical venues. It has long been a feature of sensational publications – Orson Welles’ ” Citizen Kane” is art drawn from gross reality – and the tradition is very much alive in the “newspapers” that shoppers read in check-out lines at the grocery store. But with the advent of the social media anyone with a little imagination and a factoid that can be fitted in Twitter’s 140 words has the potential for convincing huge audiences of non-existent facts.
              Indeed, none other than the president-elect of the United States has
roved to be a master of this fictional art, a medium far exceeding The Onion in its potential to make vast audiences believe in palpable inventions.
                 When Trump resorts to Twitter to communicate his views
                 What he says is pure invention but it qualifies as “news.”
                 As he boasts of his magnificence and recounts his latest deal
                 
Say goodbye to all that separates the phony from the real.


Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 (Archive on Tuesday, August 27, 2019)

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