Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is opening a unicorn reserve where he will breed baby unicorns with rainbow coloured fur to spread peace and love around the world.
Oh no, wait. My bad. He’s launching a new website called Wikitribune whose main purpose is to combat “fake news”.
So, just like unicorn farming, then, only a bit more fantastical, naive, and ludicrous.
If “fake news” were a thing – that is, if it were the major threat to the quality of public discourse that progressives claim it is – then clearly Wales’s project might be a worthwhile venture.
But “fake news” is fake news.
Sure there might be one or two young entrepreneurs in Macedonia who somehow make a living out of selling fake news stories. Which is huge if true because it’s difficult enough to make a living these days selling true news stories – so if they’re really swinging it, these guys deserve all the money they get.
Easily the main reason, though, why we hear about “fake news” so much these days is that it’s the liberal-left’s favourite excuse as to why they lost Brexit and why they lost the U.S. presidential election. Apparently, if it hadn’t been for all the completely “fake news” claiming that Hillary Clinton was a lying, scheming, cheating, email-hiding crook with blood on her hands, not a single person would have been stupid enough to vote Trump.
Ditto Brexit: it was all to do with “fake news” stories like the £350 million figure on the side of the bus which literally everyone who voted Brexit thought was going straight to the NHS – otherwise, of course, they would all have done the sensible thing and voted to remain shackled to a failing, democratically unaccountable, incompetent, corrupt, socialist superstate currently run by a rude drunkard and a bunch of fascistic technocrats. Fake news made all the difference. Not.
When I explained all this in a panel discussion on the media at Chatham House in London a few weeks ago, the senior editor from The New York Times and the senior editor from CNN were aghast.
They were too polite to say what I’m sure they wanted to say which is that – as most liberals do – they mentally include Breitbart in the fake news category.
But they both very much believed that “fake news” was a thing and that it posed a significant threat to the kind of fair and balanced and scrupulously accurate news that their own organisations produced.
At this moment I realised something extraordinary: liberals actually believe this shit.
Read the rest at Breitbart.