Fake news made its rounds through cycles after the 2016 election, where identified websites, writers, and platforms such as Facebook took the blame for the spread of fake news that could have contributed to President-elect Donald Trump‘s victory. However, the term is now being appropriated by conservative politicians and media personalities to target news that they find to be “hostile to their agenda.”
Theoretically, crying “fake news” at mainstream outlets like CNN and the Washington Post is an effective approach to discrediting media that conservative audiences already distrust, and it reinforces the message that conservative outlets like Fox News are “fair and balanced.”
“Fake news was a term specifically about people who purposely fabricated stories for clicks and revenue,” David Mikkelson, the founder of Snopes, told the New York Times. “Now it includes bad reporting, slanted journalism, and outright propaganda. And I think we’re doing a disservice to lump all those things together.”
Read the full New York Times report here.