By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka the PRDude)
Let’s start with this assertion: The concept of erroneous or inaccurate information shared for public consumption — most recently given the title “fake news” — has been around for a long, long time.
Possibly as long as human beings began communicating. That’s because so-called “fake news” also can be construed as “telling a lie,” and there’s no question men and women have told lies for a long, long time.
Only, in this era of instantaneous digital communications that can originate from virtually anyone or any organization with a broadband connection, fabricated messages void of truth can prove very harmful for society. At least society as we know it today.
This was made especially clear in the months leading to the 2016 national elections, when seemingly bizarre stories — Pope Francis throwing support to Donald Trump — surfaced, were propagated and believed by many. One can ascertain that more “news” of this type will surface in the future.
So, in the debut post of 2017, the PRDude offers this manifesto of sorts to members of the media, fellow public relations professionals and anyone who will listen:
Stop referring to lies, misinformation, fabricated facts and erroneous online content and messages as “fake news.”
As I, and assuredly millions of others maintain, what makes “news” and defines newsworthiness is based on factual occurrences, trends or developments that meet certain criteria, including: What took place, where it took place, who or what was involved and what was compelling or interesting.
If a report is based upon “fake” information, it is not “news.”
There. I feel better. And, that’s the truth.