Fake News for the Week Ending August 16, 2019

There’s a lot of fake news to talk about this week, so let’s get right to it.

  • One large subset (and historical predecessor) of fake news is conspiracy theories, and this week was rife with them, all triggered by the apparent suicide of accused sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein. Check all of these out:
    • FactCheck.org does a good job of presenting – and debunking – the most prevalent of these theories.
    • The Atlantic explains how the details in Epstein’s case inspired the rise of all these conspiracy theories.
    • Vox examines how social media helps spread conspiracy theories like this.
    • Time explores how conspiracy theories can have dangerous consequences.
    • Fox News details how President Trump helped things spread by retweeting a Clinton-connected conspiracy theory.
    • And Late Night comedian Seth Meyers takes a humorous “closer look” at Trump’s long history with conspiracy theories, here:


  • Speaking of conspiracy theories, Anne Applebaum examines how Italian doctors are fighting back against the dangerous anti-vax movement. Here’s her column in the Washington Post.
  • New York magazine asks the question, “How much of the Internet is Fake?” A lot of it, it turns out; apparently less than 60% of web traffic is human. (This explains a lot of my online interactions of late…) Read about it in-depth here.
  • Salon goes back in time to WWII to examine how the Allies fought Nazi propaganda with fake news of their own. Here’s the article.

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