Skip to main content

News makers/news fakers: What fake news isn't

Discover how fake news is spread, why people create it, and what we can do to avoid it.

Unfake news

As we've become more aware of fake news, labelling sources "fake" has unfortunately become an easy way to dismiss or trivialise actual news. From YouTube commenters to politicians, calling a story "fake news" - regardless of its accuracy - is now a lazy, shorthand way of saying "I don't like this", "I don't believe it", or "I disagree with that".

The problem is that calling something "fake news" - when it isn't - creates further confusion around an issue. It makes it harder for us to distinguish the facts, as well as undermining the real work that real journalists do.

 

ABC AM

Note: The audio tag is not supported in Internet Explorer 8 and earlier versions.

Listen to the interview above, as Minister for Resources Matt Canavan calls the ABC's reporting on the proposed Adani coal mine "fake news". What are the Minister's problems with the ABC reporting on the topic? Does he have a point? Does he have his own agenda?

 

News satire

Despite often being labelled as such, satire and parody are not technically fake news. In the other examples, we’ve seen that there’s always been some deliberate attempt to confuse, mislead, or have readers believe things that aren’t true. News satire and parody aim to mock current events and critique news media itself for entertainment. Satire and parody sites are generally open about being untrue with disclaimers being readily available and visible, yet many people still fall for them, including actual journalists who should know better.

When you have time, explore these two well-known news satire sites:

  • What do they have in common?
  • How do we tell that they're satire?
  • What other news satire sources can you think of (TV shows, YouTube channels, Podcasts, radio shows websites, printed material)?

We acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where our staff and students, live, learn and work.Acknowledgement of Country