When I launched Thousandlashes.ca, one of my core principles was that a worthwhile discussion must be based on an agreed-on set of facts. The Brexit debate and Trump’s election have shown us what can happen when people are allowed to post false or misleading news.
As this site’s moderator, I will continue to delay posting anything I feel contains false or misleading facts until I have had the opportunity to verify them. Only then will I approve the post along with a moderator’s note relating to the questionable information.
Opinion will always be welcome.
It has been suggested that anyone posting on this site should use his or her own name. I’m open to both points of view.– Jim Duff
One thought on “Moderator’s note:”
Dec. 28, 2016 column
Write where I belong
By Bernard Mendelman
Fake news or real news
My teen age years recall a time that when I received news, via newspapers, radio or television I never questioned the accuracy of any of it. There was seldom any fake news, except perhaps on April Fools Day, when we would get a headline that read a UFO landed on top of Mount Royal or a broadcaster informed us that Elvis was still alive and was seen eating ribs in Chinatown. News was always edited before it went to print or read by a newscaster. The news we got was reliable, either from our daily newspapers, radio reports or from the dinner time T.V. newscasts. In my younger days our city had three daily English newspapers. The Montreal Gazette, Montreal Star and Montreal Herald. The Star had an early afternoon edition and an updated final edition that came out about 5:30 pm. My father would send me out just before supper to the corner store to pick up the newspaper. If the owner hadn’t sold out all of the early editions before the final editions arrived he would put the unsold ones on top of the pile. My father would send me back if I returned with the early edition that did not contain the closing stock market prices.
There were three English radio stations CFCF, CBM, and CJAD, that had hourly news reports and there were two local T.V. stations CBC and CTV along with three U.S. channels CBS, NBC, and ABC with news anchors bringing us the daily news during the supper hour. I would watch Walter Cronkite daily. No one ever doubted any news item that Cronkite reported.
Now there are numerous sites providing us with news and I can’t always tell the real news from the fake news. When I first heard that $39.5 million will be spent to light up Jacques Cartier Bridge I thought it was fake news and when I first learned that the Canadiens had traded P. K. Subban, I was also sure it was fake news.
Here are some questionable news headlines that appeared on sites last year; Bill Clinton to play sax at Trump inauguration; New Testament passage foretold American presidential election winner; Vatican invites Madonna to lead mass; Aliens take control of CBC; Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau and Vladimir Putin meet for secret lunch; P.K. Péladeau plans to run for Mayor of Montreal.
Andy Borowitz is a New York Times best-selling author who has written for The New Yorker Magazine since 1998. In 2001, he created the Borowitz Report, a satirical fake news column that has millions of readers around the world. Here are two of his recent headlines and comments:
Trump to split time between Trump Tower and Kremlin. His decision reportedly stemmed from his wife’s desire not to uproot the Trump family by relocating full-time to Moscow.
Queen offers to restore British Rule over United States. “This two-hundred-and-forty-year experiment in self-rule began with the best of intentions, but I think we can all agree that it didn’t end well,” she said.
Canada has its own fake news outlet in The Beaverton whose layout mirrors those of conventional newspapers but whose content is contorted to make humorous commentary on Canadian and world issues. The publication was founded in 2010. During November, The Beaverton began a weekly television show on the Comedy Network. Several of The Beaverton’s articles have been reported as real news. In May, 2013, a story on Chris Hadfield’s return to Earth and being greeted with a $1.3 million bill for cell phone roaming fees was reported as real news by Hong Kong-based newspaper Ming Pao.
There’s no journalistic integrity in fake news. They use sensational headlines or exaggerate the news and build a false story around it. Some items are meant to be satirical while others are just plain hoaxes. The majority of the population does not rely on professionally reported news sources anymore since so much news is filtered via social media, and by governments. Sadly, as real news recedes, fake news will grow.
A happy and healthy New Year to you Jim and all your family