The Washington Post, the proprietor of the term “fake news” has published a call to abandon it.
In an article titled “It’s time to retire the tainted term ‘fake news’” the Post’s media columnist Margaret Sullivan suggests that “fake news” has already had its “15 minutes of fame” and it’s time to put the “tainted” term “out of its misery.”
She cites numerous instances when conservative media outlets used the phrase to point out false stories in the mainstream media. “But though the term hasn’t been around long, its meaning already is lost. Faster than you could say “Pizzagate,” the label has been co-opted to mean any number of completely different things: Lib—eral claptrap. Or opinion from left-of-center. Or simply anything in the realm of news that the observer doesn’t like to hear,” Sullivan complained.
A similar call by The New York Times claimed “conservative cable and radio personalities, top Republicans and even Mr. Trump himself … have appropriated the term and turned it against any news they see as hostile to their agenda.”
The Post‘s plea to stop using the phrase might not go down so well—the paper was one of the first to jump on “fake news” hysteria bandwagon by publishing the now-infamous article containing a list of so-called fake news media outlets by an anonymous website calling itself PropOrNot.
The group decried such outlets as the Drudge Report, Truthout, Black Agenda Report, Truthdig, and others as “fake news”. The popular center-right blog Naked Capitalism, also included in the list, has threatened to sue the paper for slander.
The Post has also come under fire for publishing a story alleging that Russian had hacked into a Vermont way-station that controlled part of the Northeastern United States’ electric grid. It took three days for the paper to issue a retraction acknowledging the mistake.
“Some in press once embraced term ‘fake news.’ Then it was used against them. Now: ‘It’s time to retire tainted term’,” Byron York, chief political correspondent at the Washington Examiner, tweeted in response to the Sullivan’s article.
Sums it up pretty well.